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What's gone is over
Ernie Els, by virtue of lifting the Cisco World Match Play Championship for a fourth time, has proven himself to be a great match player.

In the process, he has demonstrated yet again that what separates hugely talented golfers from the rest of us is not only playing ability but thinking ability.

Never is it more true than in match play that what has gone before is over and cannot be undone. So the only thing to do is put it out of your mind, look ahead and focus on the next shot or hole.

Yet amateur players consistently berate themselves for a poor stroke or hole to such an extent that they're still fuming several minutes later and, before they know it, one mistake inexorably leads to several more.

How many times have you missed a short putt, for example, and allowed it to dominate your thoughts every time you subsequently stand over a putt that you expect to hole? And yet one of the many beauties of golf is that allows you a minimum of 18 fresh starts during every round, so that every time you step onto a tee, fairway or green you have the opportunity to hit a good shot and boost your self-confidence.

So next time you address a short putt, for example, having recently missed one, concentrate absolutely on line, length and stroke. By doing that you leave no room for bitter memories or self doubt.

©    22 - OCTOBER 2002

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