We’ve heard it a million times. It’s the week or two before a major and all the players are talking about, is how they’re ramping up for the big event. But what about after a major?
In an attempt to delve deeper into the mindset of a professional golfer, I asked six PGA Tour pros at this week’s Canadian Open to discuss the difference in the mindset this week, compared to the mindset last week at the British Open (or Open Championship, if you want to be that guy).
“I think a little more rest. There’s just so much energy that goes into a major. You want to be rested for every event. So I think there’s a little more rest for me leading into the event. It’s nice to know the golf course as well. I’ve played three tournaments here, so it’s more about just learning how the course will play this week. You don’t want to put too much energy into overhauling, just because you are coming off of a major. A major championship sort of seems like two weeks comprised into one. For some reason it’s just that way. The energy, the crowds, everything just seems to take longer. So for me at least, that’s how I approach it. It’s a little less practise time, and just conserve the energy for the week.”
“I don’t think there is a difference. I think that’s one reason players enjoy playing the week after majors, because your mindset is already rock solid and trained up. It’s as tough as its going to be. And then you go through the crucible of a major championship, and the next week you kind of exhale and your game should still be in good shape. You get a chance to relax a little bit. And I enjoy playing the week after majors, it’s translated to some good finishes over the years.”
“I think one, you relax a little bit. It’s obviously a high stress situation when you’re in a major. So, you kind of know what you’re getting, you know how your game is after a major, and you know what to work on. You have a lot of clarity with what’s going on. A lot of guys have great weeks after majors because you’re relaxed, relieved to be playing again, and you put less pressure on yourself, which can lead to some good golf.”
“At a major, everything is just a little bit heightened. Everyone is just a little bit more on edge. You recognize the importance of the event; that’s probably the biggest thing. Winning at Valspar last year was life-changing, but winning a major is just a little but more than life-changing, I guess. I’m not sure what’s more than life-changing, but, certainly winning a Canadian Open for a Canadian, would be right up there with winning a major. But, just, the level of importance for it.
And then coming into a Canadian Open, it’s just like prepping for a major for any Canadian. It’s right on the top of the list for an event that any Canadian would want to win.”
“It just all depends. Sometimes I play after a major, sometimes I don’t. But if I’m playing, it’s the same as if I was at a major. I’m there to play well, and for me, it’s work. I’m grinding no matter what week it is, if it’s the week before a major, after a major, during a major. It doesn’t really matter for me. It’s all the same.
I really didn’t play poorly last week, so coming in here, I’ll just work on the same things I’ve been working on. I feel like I’m swinging well, I’m hitting it well. Spent a little bit of time working on the putting, which is something that’s been kind of hot and cold this year a little bit, but I feel like I’ve got a pretty good beat on it. I feel like I’m rolling it well, so that’s something I’ve spent a little bit of time on. And then a lot of time on wedges, too, to get those a bit sharper. But I feel like the whole game as a whole is pretty good now.”
“I don’t think it’s any different. My mindset doesn’t change a whole lot from week to week. I go out and I work, try to get better, hit some pitches into the greens and learn the golf course again. We travel all over and you’ve got to get used to new stuff, so I don’t change-up too much.”
Relaxing seems to be the common theme amongst those answers, but there is definitely some variety. That’s also the longest answer I’ve ever gotten out of Dustin Johnson, so, I’ll take that as a win.
Tournament play is now underway, follow along for updates live from Glen Abbey for the remainder of the week.