The golf media is always promoting the newest best golfer who hasn’t won a major. This keeps changing as the last four major championships have been won by players who had previously never won a major championship. The latest was 24-year-old Justin Thomas who won the PGA Championship and the coveted Wanamaker Trophy at Quail Hollow last Sunday.
Not usually mentioned on that list is Christopher James Stroud who turned pro in 2004 and played on mini-tours until he earned his PGA Tour card in 2006 in a qualifying school. Since 2007 he has played in at least 24 PGA Tour events every season. In his 290 starts, he made the cut 115 times and earned over $10 million in on-course winnings.
Stroud, 35, won his first tour victory August 6th at the Barracuda Championship, earning $594,000, the last spot in the PGA Championship, and a full PGA Tour 2-year exemption.
“All these years, I kept telling myself, ‘You’re going to win. You’re great,’ being super positive to myself,’’ Stroud said. “Then, I gave up on it. About six months ago, I said, ‘I’ve had 10 years of good run out here. I’ve played well. I don’t care if I win anymore. I’m going to play the best I can and let’s just ride this out. I don’t know if I’m good enough to win or keep my card.’
“Since I surrendered to that it’s like all of a sudden the weight was off my shoulders. All these people told me this for years, but I had to get to the bottom to figure it out. I literally said, ‘I’m done. I’m just going to do the best I can and have as much fun as I can.’ All of a sudden it falls in my lap.”
After his win in Reno, Stroud said, “there are more important things in life than golf.” He changed his attitude of putting 20 years of pressure on himself on Tour by saying he is just going to enjoy playing. He also took an opportunity to invest in a lucrative business, which took the pressure off having to make golf his “financial bread-and-butter”.
The week following his win, Stroud had a chance at winning the PGA Championship. He began his Sunday round tied for second with Matsuyama, one stroke behind the leader Kisner. Stroud shot 76 and finished tied for ninth. The difference between contending for a major title and being consigned to golf’s minor tours, Stroud said, is “one putt a day, basically.”
If you find that you are putting too much pressure on yourself to win, use these tips from the pros who deal with pressure at the highest levels:
- Remember why you play the game. Golf becomes fun when you let go trying to make things happen.
- Have another avocation so you aren’t immersed 100% in trying to be perfect. Jack Nicklaus played tennis and went deep sea fishing.
- Play one shot at a time, giving each shot/putt your full intention and attention.
- Stay in control of your emotions.
- Be patient and good things will happen, sometimes when you don’t expect them.
- There are more important things in life than golf. Be grateful for what you have.
Play “in the zone” with Joan
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“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in a competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.