Confidence is a great thing - but can you have too much of a good thing?
Norway's Suzann Pettersen demonstrated her self-belief at last week's German Open by declaring on the eve of the final round that "no-one will beat me."
But she ended up with egg on her face - and had acquired a few less admirers among her fellow professionals - by the time she had lost the title by a shot to France's Karine Icher at the Sporting Club on the outskirts of Berlin.
Pettersen has already proved that she abounds with talent having won the French Open via a play-off against Welsh newcomer, Becky Morgan, in June, and the 20-year-old from Oslo is heading for the Rookie of the Year title on the Evian Ladies' European Tour.
However, she still has much to learn. Her comments after she had taken a narrow one shot lead with 18 holes to play stirred up much resentment among her colleagues - and more than a few were cheering for Icher on the last day.
Perhaps she is not worried about winning any popularity stakes; but she would, perhaps, be better to show a little more respect for her peers.
On the course, Pettersen, who won the individual title at last year's World Amateur Championship and has helped stir up great interest in the women's game in her home country, is a volatile character: and shows no fear in venting her feelings.
Her mother, Mona, is her regular caddie, but daughter is not afraid to thump the clubs back into the bag or toss a glove away in disgust, leaving Mum to retrieve it.
Still, showing a little personality does add to the colour of the Tour. Further sign of her great confidence came when she won the French Open.
Having missed the early year tournaments in Australia, Taiwan and South Africa due to an ankle injury, it was only her second event on the Evian circuit. So didn't the win come as a surprise?
"No, not at all," she insisted.
If Pettersen's ability can match her self-confidence, there is little doubt that youngster is set for a great future. But it will be interesting to hear her opinion when she next holds a narrow lead going into a final round. As for Scot Julie Forbes, her confidence gained a boost when she shot a course record 67 to lead in the first round in Germany.
Sadly, she shot 79 on day two and eventually tied for 10th. It's been a tough few years for the Aboyne 35-year-old. She has never managed to recapture the form that saw her win her only Tour title in the 1994 Var Open in France.
This season, Julie has been handicapped by a mystery knee injury, although she reckons the corner has been turned and fears of an end of season operation have all but been banished.
"I saw a great physio at the Compaq Open in Sweden two weeks ago and, at last, the puffiness and niggling pain has eased," she said.
"It has never really been sore when I am playing, but it does ache afterwards.
"But when an injury is on your mind it really does undermine your confidence. It was only last week that I really began to feel that I could swing freely again."
Forbes will be hoping to show further signs of a happier end of season fling in the Irish Open in Waterford this weekend.
As for Pettersen, she is taking a week's break. But everyone else in the field will be hoping to be swung along on a roll of confidence towards victory. But those that are over-confident might just be heading for a fall.
|| 23 - AUGUST 2001