Coming up next week is one of the most exciting events on the PGA Tour – at least in my opinion. The WGC Accenture
Match Play Championship – which wins an award from the Agency of Redundancy Agency – sets the world’s best golfers against each other in a fierce head-to-head match play match-up.
Over the years through my junior, amateur and collegiate days, I’ve gained a fair deal of match play experience, and now I’m here to share it with you.
1.) Go ahead and give your opponent that first 3-footer. Lull them into a calm by easing their nerves on the first hole. Then, when crunch time comes at the end, keep your lips sealed and make them putt everything out.
2.) Be chatty. Don’t be afraid to talk to your opponent; they are going to be busy grinding and concentrating. Maybe try and get them out of their comfort zone by persistently asking them questions or telling stories. It’s going to get annoying, they’ll hate it.
3.) Observe your opponent’s tendencies. I played a kid in high school who loved to hit the golf ball farther than me. I studied his tactics, he watched me pull clubs out of my bag all the time. So when he had honors on a par-3 that played about 185 yards, I quickly pulled 7-iron. He saw my club, and pulled out his 8-iron. When his ball came up 20 yards short of the green, I put back the 7-iron, grabbed my 6-iron and stuffed it five feet from the pin. Game. Set. Match.
4.) Treat each hole differently. It’s no longer about your overall score, each hole is a new start. Don’t worry about bogeys or a double, your opponent can make birdie while you make a quad, yet you only go 1-down. You can play bad for 16 holes and be 2-down, then have two great holes to square the match, and then win it on the 19th hole.
5.) Don’t be afraid to crush dreams. Jam down the accelerator on the first hole and never let your foot off the gas..