“Mr. Quote”, Jack Fertig has once again done a wonderful job capturing the mental side of the masters. He says:
For the top golfers in the world, usually the championship (especially a major) is won by the most mentally tough golfer. It’s been the, if not unanimous, at least overwhelming, opinion of most in that world, that no one is more mentally tough than Tiger Woods. For quite a while, he proved just that.
The most supremely confident of them all, El Tigre, made some god-like shots (which many expect) but struggled off the tee. Could all the distractions of the past few months have been weighing on him? Only he knows that. Scribes, pundits and fans have been wondering how someone, with some much running through his mind, would be able to focus in such a monumental tournament. First of all, it was The Masters. Next, it was his very first tournament after an extended layoff. And finally, it wasn’t like the last time he had a layoff (his surgery) and the questions were of a physical nature. Whatever the case, we saw Tiger make some Tiger-like shots, but make one of the most un-Tiger-like, a seemingly rushed tap in from about a foot, after missing a birdie attempt, resulting in a bogey on the hole and giving away a stroke, something I’ve seen before – but never from Tiger.
What was missing from the mental toughness conversation was all that Phil Mickelson had on his mind while playing. His wife, Amy, has been battling breast cancer and yesterday was the first day she even made an appearance at the course. Their prolonged embrace after he walked off the 18th hole as the Masters’ champion, spoke volumes about what had to have been weighing heavily on his mind. Yet, somehow, he was able to block it out enough to play magnificent golf (although he fought in and out of trouble throughout the final day, too).
Phil has always been the fans’ favorite. One reason is that he acknowledges the people in attendance and, most of the time, has a smile on his face. Greta Garbo said:
“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”