When Tiger Woods was 13 years old, his Dad brought him to a Psychologist and Hypnotherapist, Dr. Jay Brunza, for mental training but probably didn’t tell anyone about it.
The following year, when Tiger was 14 and interviewed, he was asked, “What sets you apart from your rivals”? He said “When you have to make a putt, you make a putt. When you have to hit the shot, you hit the shot. You just sort of drop into another zone and you block out everything. That’s really helped me.”
I call this ‘zone’ a Pre-shot bubble, and I’m sure that Jay Brunza trained Tiger – as I train my golf clients – to get into that zone and block out all distractions through Self Hypnosis.
Twelve years later in Golf Digest, Tiger said “Hypnosis is inherent in what I do now.”
I think we all remember how Tiger was bigger than life in those early days. He was a hero, a star and his goal was to win every Major tournament. He even said, “Since I’m black, I might even be bigger than Jack Nicklaus.” We believed him.
Now it’s 13 years later and where is Tiger, who was once called “The best golfer in the world?” He’s at 266.
He disappeared from the PGA tour after the Farmers Insurance Open in Feb when he played so poorly.
Then he was better at Augusta in April – especially his short game – but still not great. At the time, Hank Haney said, “‘Even if Tiger has days where his short game looks like it’s improving, it doesn’t mean the Yips are gone. They might go into remission. But they’re still there.”
In June, Tiger missed the cut at the US Open. Same thing in July at the British Open.
This past weekend he looked like he was coming back in the first two rounds of his Quicken Loans National tournament with a 68 and 66. Then Saturday was a disaster but he recovered on Sunday. Shot a 68 and finished his 4 rounds at 8 under. Tied for 18 and ending the day with an incredible recovery shot salvaging a bogey, Tiger actually left feeling pretty good.
Now, in my opinion, it would be a perfect time for Tiger to remember what he said in that interview at age 14, “When you have to make a putt you make a putt. When you have to hit the shot, you hit the shot. You just sort of drop into another zone and you block out everything.”
So my wish for him would be to work with a trained Hypnotherapist so he could once again drop into “another zone and block out everything” as he prepares for the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin on August 10th. It’s an unforgiving course.
I believe that Tiger Woods’ competitive nature will keep him working hard at his game until he’s back on top on a consistent basis – no matter how long it takes. However, getting in the zone and “Owning The Zone” requires releasing tension and becoming part of the flow of life. Not working so hard. Hypnosis can get him there, but only if he learns how to surrender his ego and just let it happen – like in the old days when he was our hero and was ready to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record.