Yesterday, Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 golfer in the world, fielded questions from the media at a press conference in advance of the Accenture Match Play Championship set for this week.

Among other issues, McIlroy was queried about the use of PEDs in golf particularly in light of VJ Singh’s recent admission that he used deer antler spray which he was unaware contained a substance banned by the PGA Tour.

“How confident do you feel that golf is clean?” McIlroy was asked.

He responded, “I think golf is clean. I don’t see how any real performance-enhancing drugs can actually help because if you take steroids, or if you take growth hormones, or anything like that in golf, ok, you may get strong or big, but you may lose your feel”.

This statement reminds me that golf is a sport which relies heavily on a mind/body connection, unlike many other professional sports.  In the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, much of a player’s success depends on their athleticism or strength.  PEDs can obviously help in these instances.

But, in the game of golf, the mental aspect is just as important as the physical, and perhaps even more so.  McIlroy’s own golf game provides a good example of this.

As I discussed in my February 11 post, “My 2012 Frankengolfer”, McIlroy is far from the longest and most accurate driver on tour.  His real genius is his short game and his ability to make pars, birdies, and eagles from positions on the golf course when others do not.  He depends on feel to bring his scores very low.

As an amateur, this is a very important reminder for me.

I tend to overlook the mental aspect of my golf game.  Instead, I instinctually (and perhaps obsessively) focus on my technique.  I don’t often think about how to feel my way around the golf course.

I forget that every time pro golfers step up to their balls, no matter where it is on the course, it is their awareness of their mind/body connection combined with their technique that determines the outcome.

Perhaps Rory’s statement will provide a lesson for me, which is now duly noted.


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