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Peak Performance Psychology

Greg Norman & The 1997 Masters: A Different Prescription.

by Nick Rosa, Ph.D

An article entitled "Operation Greg Norman: 2nd Guessing the Collapse of the Year" appears in Golf Digest (January, 1997). Asked why Greg Norman collapsed in the final round of the Masters Tournament, the consensus of ten top players and teachers is that "Greg needs better course management and improved swing mechanics.".

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And, the consensual implication is that the prescription for improving Greg Norman's chances to win the 1997 Masters is to improve his course management and swing mechanics. It would seem, however, that if his course management and swing mechanics were deficient he would have done poorly in the earlier rounds as well. Accordingly, while improvement in these areas might be beneficial, the crucial issue is being overlooked.

The answer to the following rhetorical question reflects the crucial issue. What may Greg Norman have in common with a person who has been rear ended in an automobile accident? Post-traumatic Stress (PTS), the same syndrome characteristically experienced by traumatized combat veterans.

A traumatic event is one that seriously threatens a person's physical safety or self esteem. During such events, negative thoughts are experienced and negative feelings aroused. Thereafter, certain stimuli, associated with that event, trigger the negative thoughts and feelings. This phenomenon is called PTS.

As is true of Greg Norman, persons with PTS will make deliberate attempts to shun conversations about, and reminders of, the traumatic event in order to avoid stirring up the negative thoughts and feelings. However, if placed back in Vietnam, the traumatized vet is apt to experience momentary flashbacks and feelings such as fear, anger and sadness. Getting into a car again, the person who was rear ended is likely to have flashbacks and experience anxiety, apprehension and tension. This is apt to occur in both cases, unless PTS is remedied first.

Likewise, particularly in the final round of the 1997 Masters, Greg Norman is apt to have momentary flashbacks to April 14, 1996 and experience some degree of apprehension, anxiety and tension. And, the slightest amount of negative thinking and feelings will undermine his confidence, throw off his rhythm, and negatively effect his play; that is, unless PTS is remediated.

Moreover, having held the lead, going into the last round in major tournaments, Mr. Norman has lost six times. What are the implications for a driver who is unfortunate enough to have been rear ended six times? The implications are similar for Greg Norman.

Accordingly, improving swing mechanics and course management skills will be insufficient if PTS is not addressed with extraordinary tools; powerful tools not found in traditional sport psychology. Addressed with extraordinary tools in the right hands, PTS is quickly remediated.

One such extraordinarily, powerful, tool is the P3 technique called the Slump Neutralizer (See: World Golf "P-3: The New Sport Psychology for Golfers"). In field tests done at Villanova University, the Slump Neutralizer has been highly successful in remediating the mental and physiological, PTS, symptoms that interfere with athletic performance. Typically, it takes only one or two sessions to remediate PTS, generate a positive mental and physiological state, and maximize performance.

Accordingly, this author believes that in the 1997 Masters, particularly the final round, Greg Norman would enhance his mental and physiological state, maximize his performance and his chances to win if he were to test the merits of the Slump Neutralizer. Anyone out there know Greg well enough to make the suggestion?

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