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Mental strength the key to success
November 10, 2011

Over half of professional golfers on the European Tour believe they are performing below par, according to survey results released today by Genworth Financial, Official Statistics Partner of The European Tour, who commissioned a study into the psychological side of professional European golf.

The survey of over 60 golfers also highlighted self-belief and mental state as keys to success, named Tiger Woods and Seve Ballesteros as the most inspirational sporting figures and revealed that golfers rely on caddies for motivational support more than any other attribute.

While 51% of pros are disappointed with their performances, only one in ten (7%) feel they are exceeding their own expectations, despite three quarters (74%) of the golfers putting self-belief and over half (53%) putting mental frame of mind in their top three attributes for success.

Dr Karl Morris, Sports Psychologist and Mind Coach to recent major winners Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, said of the findings;

"To have over half of the golfers saying that they are below plan indicates to me that for many the approach to goal setting and performance assessment is wrong. If you measure success purely on the outcome - whether you win or not you may end up being disappointed even though you may have played well."

"It would appear that the golfers that are performing below plan are focusing on technique rather than on what they should be focusing, namely their mental game"

Ross Fisher, Genworth ambassador and Ryder Cup star, supported the findings, saying, " Success in golf has a lot to do with being able to perform consistently at the highest level. This requires great mental strength and self-belief that if you do hit a bad patch you can quickly get back on track. Alongside working on my technique, I try to spend plenty of time developing the right mental state of mind for competition."

Peter Barrett, Senior Vice President, Lifestyle Protection at Genworth commented, "Genworth believes that key moments define a person's success. This research demonstrates that strong partnerships and a focus on the right mental preparation can help achieve success and allow golfers to excel at the moments that matter."

The study also analysed the impact of caddies on the European Tour, with the results showing that motivational support is seen by both pros and caddies as the single most important attribute the caddy provides, ahead of club selection and organisation.

Ross Fisher's caddy Adam Marrow concurred, "While I have many responsibilities on Tour with Ross, from club maintenance and selection to logistics and course analysis, the most important area will always be offering the player the motivational support he needs to maintain consistent performance."

Other findings named Tiger Woods and Seve Ballesteros alongside Roger Federer as the most inspirational figures in the sports world. Woods was called out for his professionalism, drive and determination, while Ballesteros is remembered for his passion and attitude to the game.

On a more alternative note, the survey revealed several strange techniques employed by top golf professionals to help improve performance, including hypnosis, copying another player's swing and behaviour, squeezing an ear to refocus and crawling on the floor.

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