"When you are in contention to win tournaments you don't need motivation from anybody. But when you're missing cuts and not playing well it's easy to lose sight of the simple things that get you into contention and that's when you need the team around you".
A few weeks ago Dr. Jay-Lee Longbottom in her article about the six elements of mental toughness spoke about the players who had most of the elements lined up some of the time, and others who have them lined up for a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
I identified Henrik Stenson as one of those 4 to 6 week period golfers who has been in contention in nearly every tournament he has played in since the US Open.
The record shows he finished 2nd in the US Open, followed by a T-2nd in the British Open, 3rd in the US PGA, 43rd in the Barclay's and this culminated in a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
A terrific run, and looking from outside it would be easy to assume that Henrik, a former US Players Champion (2009) has always been a consistent tour player.
That is not even close to the truth if you have followed Henrik's career since he turned professional in 1999.
A national player who represented his country Sweden in the World Amateur Championship in Chile in 1998, he turned professional and played the European Challenge Tour in 1999 and 2000 where he won the Order of Merit - winning three times.
All looked good until he went into a "slump" in the 2001 and 2002 season and lost all trust and confidence in his golf game. It was during this period that Henrik started to work with coach Pete Cowan who helped him through his difficult period and got him back on track.
From 2004 to 2009 he won 5 times on the European Tour and the prestigious US Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
He was a top ten player in the world and the future looked rosy.
By the end of 2011 he had earned only US $327,799.00 and ranked a lowly 180th on the money list, and only his win at the Players Championship (5 year exemption) allowed him to keep his playing privileges on the PGA Tour.
Yet another slump he had to endure which lasted until the end of 2012 when he traveled to South Africa and won the Open there.
One of the things that has helped him to bounce back has been his family and the close team he has built around him that supports him and his game.
His performance team consists of;
They have all stuck with him through the bad times and the good times, and more importantly he has stuck with his team.
These are some of the comments they have said of Henrik.
Pete Cowan: It takes balls to be a good player and Henrik has lots of that, he's not a quitter!
Gareth Lord: Attention to detail and hard worker.
Torsten Hansson: Ambitious with big dreams for the future.
Cornel Driessen: Working with Pete Cowan and mental coach to establish training goals and periodization.
Dan Salmonsson: Very demanding of himself and everyone around him and rightly so.
Looking at some of his key performance statistics when comparing 2011 to 2013 you can see where the difference of finishing 180th in the money list to currently leading the FedEx Cup lies.
It is quite plain to see as the numbers don't lie. More fairways and greens in regulation with better scrambling results equals lower golf scores.
In fact his Strokes Gained-Putting putting has gone backwards and as its a statistic that only measures putting performance against the field, he does not depend on green-side skills to make the percentages look good.
The recipe is pretty straight forward;
As Henrik said in his interview after his victory;
"When you are in contention to win in tournaments you don't need motivation from anybody. But when you're missing cuts and not playing well it's easy to lose sight of the simple things that get you into contention and that's when you need the team around you".
I think that sums it up perfectly don't you?
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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