Justin Rose On How To Play Under Pressure


Want to learn some tips from the new US Open Champion? We recently spoke to Justin Rose about how he handled the pressure at Medinah at last year’s Ryder Cup, to see what the average golfer can learn from the Englishman.

1 – Getting into the right mind-set

For me it started on the 17th green. My reaction was somewhat unique; I don’t know where it came from, as a lot of guys were fist-pumping running about the greens that week. But that putt on 17 only got me all-square.

I knew I had to stay in the game, in the moment, stay calm. So I walked incredibly slowly from the 17th to the 18th tee, just really trying to calm my heart-rate down, get back in the zone. It’s very easy for all your senses to get heightened at the point and when all of your adrenaline is racing, to quicken up. So the 18th hole prep started walking off the 17th green.

Your lesson: “When nerves are jangling, mind racing and chest pounding, breathe deeply, calm down and don’t get ahead of yourself.”

2 – Sound decision-making

“I then hit 3-wood off the tee. I hit it down the left half of the fairway; it was a good shot but actually kicked hard into the semi-rough. I saw a lot of the guys had been missing right during the week and going in the bunkers, and that was an awkward place to play from. There wasn’t much rough at Medinah so I hit 3-wood down the left side.”

Your lesson: “It was a good decision because driver brought the bunkers into play, so a lot of course management and clear thinking went into the tee shot. Plan it. Don’t just reach for a driver. Too many amateurs hurry and rush their tee shots or approaches without taking time to consider the options, especially in matchplay.”

3 – Sharp reactions

“Phil hit a great second over the pin, but just half-a-club too long; that green is severely back to front. So I had to leave the ball pin high or under the cup. I was in between clubs, wedge and 9-iron, awkward yardage. Any time you hit it hard out of a semi-rough lie, it can come out soft on you, or you get a flier. I had a feeling it would come out soft if I hit wedge. The wind was coming off the right; I could just see it looping into the front left bunker. So I felt I had to hold up a 9-iron left-to-right, hit a little fadey 9-iron into the breeze. I held it up and it landed pin high.”

Your lesson: “Practise different scoring shots – don’t just reach for your favourite wedge or stock shot. Chances are going up a club is better

4 – Never assume it’s in the bag

“Phil hit a great chip and left it eight feet away. I’m 12 feet, but Phil’s on exactly the same line as me, and you can’t give a player of his class that opportunity, given the read. So I just said to myself – this moment is about me; this is a putt that can make you proud of how you come out of this Ryder Cup, whether Europe win, lose or draw, this putt is what your week has boiled down to. And kind of framing it that way in my mind gave me the freedom to make the stroke. The rest is history!”

Your lesson: “Back yourself with lots of positive self-talk and belief. No-one else will do it for you.”

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