Breaking the Slump
Two compelling books that take different approaches to the game of golf.
If you’ve ever struggled to reach your goals on the links (and honestly, who hasn’t?), check out both Breaking the Slump by NBC-TV sports commentator Jimmy Roberts and Golf’s Sacred Journey by David L. Cook. Each takes a completely different approach. “Breaking the Slump” is based on the real-life advice of the pros. “Golf’s Sacred Journey” is a novel but has a ring of authenticity and a quality of writing that makes it compelling, too.Skip to next paragraph
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Why do great athletes – in this case, golfers – fall into slumps? And how do they find their way back? Roberts sat down with 16 top golfers to find the answer in “Breaking the Slump.”
What’s impressive about this book is whom Roberts interviews. Probably by virtue of his day job, he has access to the Who’s Who of the professional golf world (plus a couple of celebrity golfers), including Nicklaus, Mickelson, Palmer, and Watson – to drop a few names. Most people won’t remember Palmer’s or Nicklaus’s slumps. But David Duval’s fall from No. 1 on the tour is a more recent event – as is his comeback.
Perhaps not too surprisingly, one of the take-aways is that excellence stems from more than physical prowess or athleticism. Every sport has a mental dimension. At the highest levels of golf, the mind can be the difference between first and last place. “The most difficult course is five inches long. That’s the distance between your ears,” says Ben Crenshaw (currently No. 36 on the 2009 Champions Tour money list) quoting golf legend Bobby Jones.
British golfer Justin Rose (currently 92 on the 2009 PGA tour money list) tells Roberts: “You have to invest in your mind. It’s a muscle, and it does need to be trained. You don’t just become mentally strong.”
Slumps can be caused by anything from a technical hitch to burnout to travel. In 1976, Johnny Miller was unbeatable. He won the British Open and had a pro career total of 18 tournament victories. But he also had a wife and four children under the age of 6 at home. He nose-dived from No. 2 on the golf tour’s money list to No. 112 in two years. Why? “Every chance he got to play the game he loved forced him to leave the ones he loved,” writes Roberts.