TEED OFF
By Robert Bicknell
 

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November 11, 2007

Mickelson suffers literal meltdown in Singapore

Phil Mickelson says that he had a great time and wants to return to play in Asia more often in the future...despite suffering a literal "meltdown" in last weekís Barclay tournament in Singapore and for once, I will not toss barbs in his direction, because I have experienced the same kind of meltdown brought on by extreme heat and humid conditions here in Southeast Asia.

There are times that us "Fat White Guys" (FWGís) have to stick together.

Golf is all about being able to fully concentrate on the immediate task when the time comes to play the shot. Extreme heat and humidity has the ability to rob you of this ability...itís also able to kill you if youíre not careful.

The only good thing was that he didnít have to contend with swarms of black flies.

A few weeks ago, I played at Van Tri and even in the fairways those stupid flies seemed to zero in on my nose during a critical putt. Funny enough, I could hear them laughing when I missed it.

I have had reports of the same black fly problem at almost every course in Vietnam and many outdoor restaurants. Whoever invents a fool-proof anti-fly machine will make a bloody fortune.

One good thing is that Van Tri has a few Cyclone and Black Hole anti-mosquito machines running full time so you can sit outside on the patio and have a sandwich or a drink after the round without getting bitten. Those machines arenít cheap, but they work (unlike others I have seen) and having them shows the members and guests that the club cares about their comfort. I was certainly happy about it and wished more courses and resorts used them.

Being a "FWG" makes me a tempting target for mosquitoes...Iím too fat and juicy to miss! A mosquito sees me and cries for joy...then he sends an SMS to all his friends, inviting them to a free banquet. I look like a dartboard afterwards.

Between heat, humidity, flies, mosquitoes and mobile phones, itís amazing that anyone can concentrate enough to put up a great score, yet many players seem to have that ability...but certainly not me.

I get distracted by the sound of a butterfly landing on a flower two fairways away and someone talking loudly into a mobile phone when I have a birdie putt might result in a wedge helicoptering towards their head. Hey, can I help it if my grips need some "stickum"?

Ben Hogan once said that "golf was played mainly in the six inches between your ears" and that observation has been proven true ever since the game was invented. Golf is 80 per cent mental and only 20 per cent physical.

If you are mentally strong, you have a great advantage over everyone else.

I knew a kid in the US who was training to be a tour professional and he asked us to help him by trying to distract him at every opportunity. Kind of like Inspector Clouseau telling his servant, Cato, to attack him without warning where ever and whenever possible to keep him mentally sharp.

We happily obliged.

Throughout the passing months, we tried ripping the Velcro on the glove, jingling coins in the pockets, dropping a club or towel, dropping a golf bag in effort to make him yip or shank it, but nothing worked. We tried to increase the bets, hoping that the thought of losing a small fortune would rattle him...that didnít help.

Finally in desperation, on a quiet afternoon with almost nobody on the course, we lit off a pack of firecrackers behind him while he was putting, which didnít work either...

He calmly rolled in an eagle putt from 10-feet and we had to clean up all the firecracker papers.

Afterwards, the general consensus was that if he didnít make the tour it wouldnít be because of a lack of mental toughness. For the record, he didnít make it due to an injury later in life...which was a pity as he probably couldíve been great.

You can deal with heat and humidity by drinking a lot of water out there, and if you can maintain mental control over yourself and continue to think clearly during the round, youíll play much better.

It is that simple....


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