If we ignore Tiger Woods and his ridiculous game for a moment, it’s safe to say that golfers who reach the PGA Tour have a similar set of sick skills. Most of them can crush it, finesse it, fade it, draw it and drain slippery, three-break 40-footers in front of packed galleries and huge television audiences. So what separates the journeymen from the masters? Staying focused is the skill that makes the difference.
“That’s something that golfers individually go through in a different way,” says PGA veteran Stewart Cink, who takes a more conservative approach to staying calm on the course than, say, Tiger Woods, who occasionally erupts in a flurry of energy.
“You see Tiger Woods out there, and he makes a putt and does these enormous fist pumps,” Cink says. “I asked him about that before. He says when he fist pumps, it focuses him. He is focusing more when he gets excited like that. It is actually zoning him in.”
Cink takes his own approach to focus: letting his body maintain control. “The pressure can get to you,” he says. “You have to be prepared. At some point it’s important to let your body swing the club. Most of the muscle memory takes over. It’s when your mind gets in the way that it starts trying to control things. That’s when you have trouble. Have a blank mind, and just let the body do everything naturally.”
This type of focus has helped Cink to five Tour wins, 10 second place finishes and 80 top-10s in his 13-year career. He has also represented the U.S. four times on Ryder Cup teams.