Manchester Evening News: Tom Murray on golf's mental challenge
Article posted: 23 May 2019
I wasn’t very good and when you’re doubtful about your game, it makes it harder for you to play to your potential.
It takes more than a good golf swing to be to be out on tour for any amount of time because so much of what we do is down to the mental side.
It’s one of the most draining sports you can play because you’re out there for five hours and it’s not a fair game. You get a lot of unlucky breaks and you have to get over that, rather than spend hours thinking ‘I deserve more than this’. You get what you get.
When you’re off the course you also have to deal with the travel and being away from people you want to be with at home.
During those periods of time when you’re not playing well, the motivation to keep going comes from knowing that you’re better than that. Wanting to prove that to yourself keeps you coming back for more.
Experience got me over the barrier of accepting the bad breaks and the older you get, the easier it is to have the attitude that it doesn’t matter so much and your attention and energy are better spent on the next shot or the next day.
It’s very different to when I first came out on the Challenge Tour. I wasn’t very good and when you’re doubtful about your game, it makes it harder for you to play to your potential.
I still get nervous and there was a bit of that at the Betfred British Masters, where I missed the cut a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t feeling good about my game and you end up in a vicious cycle of playing nervy golf because you don’t know what’s coming next.
I’m coached by Peter Barber but over the years we’ve probably spent more time talking about the mental side than the swing because he’s been there and done it. He knows how I work. After a bad hole, I don’t have any triggers or anything like that, it’s just a case of telling myself to get back on it.
Hillside was a great tournament but a disappointing week for me, with lots of people I know watching at a home tournament.
I played badly on the Thursday and left myself with too much to do. In some ways, if I was going to play that poorly it was probably good that Pete was there to see what was going wrong and in the long run that could be positive.
I was raging on the Thursday and went straight to the driving range but generally I’m alright to be around when it hasn’t gone well, I’m not one of those that goes quiet.
This week it’s the Made in Denmark, a tournament I last played four years ago when my fellow ISM client Dave Horsey won.
It’s famous for the 16thhole which is a short par-three with a huge bank where thousands of fans sit and watch. It’s a great atmosphere.
After Hillside I worked hard on my long game. When I’m not playing well, I make cuts with my short game and mental strength, but I need to be better than that because we’re here for more than that.