• Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Five-Minute Diamond on the Links

Watching the Presidents Cup last weekend, I thought about the pressure Tour players fight every time they stand over a putt.

I could be playing a $2 Nassau on any given Saturday morning and the prospect of sinking a three-footer for all the cheese would make my palms sweat. Put a piece of coal between my ass cheeks and you’d have a five-minute diamond.

The_Presidents_Cup_golf_trophy The Presidents Cup trophy

Yet these Tour players somehow manage to sink their putts on tilted greens speedy enough to feel like they are putting on terrazzo floors. And they do so with the whole world watching.

I think the pressure in events like any of the majors, the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup is even greater because it’s golf history. That adds mental baggage to the equation for anybody who cares about golf and what their legacy will be.

While many would argue that golf doesn’t require great athleticism, and there certainly is an argument to support that, the mental demands are off the charts. I believe part of that is due to the fact that if you’re playing, say, football, once you start running and hitting somebody, you kind of get to distract yourself from the pressure through exertion. In golf, you just know you’re building to the end of the 18 holes and that’s when the pressure of coming through sits on you like a sack of bricks. You can’t run that off or hit somebody to get rid of it either, though being able to hit somebody on the golf course might have been interesting back in the day when Tiger and Phil were paired together.

Seeing putt after putt drop in pressure situations at the Presidents Cup struck me as nothing short of astonishing. Had I been standing over any one of those putts we’re talking a 30-second tiara.


©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography