Gary Player a true champion of golf has delivered his views on the topic in his most recent book and following is an excerpt of an interview and the link to the fuull transcript...
Gary Player talks Tiger, mental toughness and how he stays fit at age 74
The 74-year-old nine-time major champion has written a new book, Don't Choke: A Champion's Guide to Winning Under Pressure.
Most pro athletes hate to even say the word choke. You wrote a book about it. Why?
I've done about 14 or 15 books in my career, and it's mostly been on theory. And so I thought, is theory really the important thing? You look at Trevino — he takes the club outside the line, and he's shut. Palmer takes it back, and he's shut. Nicklaus takes it upright with a flying right elbow. Hogan took it back on the perfect plane. Snead took it back inside and up. You have all these different swings. So what makes a champion is certainly not the swing. The swing is not the thing. It's what's upstairs.
Look at me. I was small, I had to travel and I had great difficulties to compete on the Tour. I was far from home, and I saw a lot of demonstrations against me because I was from South Africa. There was a lot of adversity.
In the book you say that you never choked. How did you avoid it?
I really believe that when you're young, the difficulties you've encountered are to your advantage. When I was young my mother died when I was 8. My father worked in a gold mine 12,000 feet underground. My brother went off to fight alongside the Americans in World War II. So I said to myself "when I play one day — and I never said if, I said when, — one thing I'll never be is scared to win. Most of the time when I was playing in these big championships, when I had a chance to win, I won. I can honestly say I never lost a tournament because I flat choked. The thing is, after what I'd gone through,
subconsciously I said, man, this playing in a golf tournament is Mickey Mouse compared to what I'd gone through as a young person. The worst thing you can do is to start thinking about the trophy, or the check, or the fame that you'll get out of the experience.
Are young players today softer than they were in your era?
Young people today are coming along at a different time. [Many are] obese — 26 percent of the youth, 55 percent of the grownups … how do you go into life and excel? You cannot obtain success unless you're in good condition mentally, physically and have a positive attitude.
I look at the Tour now, and there are all these international players coming in and taking over. What is the reason? You know what is? I think, we live in this great country of milk and honey. You think there's a sense of entitlement. We've got to get people to get back to the grindstone
Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff