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Myriad Paths To ‘The Zone’

HOYLAKE, ENGLAND | No two golfers speak about the so-called “zone” in the same way.
Sergio García is not convinced that such a thing exists; Sir Nick Faldo suggests that Jack Nicklaus was in one for 20 years.
“I really don’t know about zones,” began García, following his opening 68 at the Open Championship. “All I can tell you is that I play my best when I’m relaxed and at ease. That’s when I see things clearly. If I want to play a little draw, I can picture the precise shot I need. On not such a good day, I will see conflicting shots flying through the air.”
In keeping with which, Nicklaus would talk of how he never embarked on a shot until “I could see a movie of it in my mind.”
After his crack about Nicklaus’ 20 years in the zone, Faldo said that they had used different terminology in his day.
“We talked more about ‘mental strength’ and how the really good player could make things happen,” Faldo said. “Self-belief, bottle and nerve were the basic ingredients. The moment you no longer had 100 percent certainty in what you were doing you were falling down the leaderboard.
“For myself, I used to concentrate on arriving at ‘the right intensity.’ I didn’t let my emotions bounce up and down, on or off the course.” Graeme McDowell’s contribution to the debate began with a comment along the lines that the zone is not somewhere you can find like, say, the correct position at the top of the backswing.
“The zone is supposed to be a perfect place and since, to cite the name of Bob Rotella’s book, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, the average golfer is never going to get within a million miles of it.


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