It's elementary, be like Watson

KEVIN HAIME

, Last Updated: 2:03 PM ET

Two weeks later I'm even more impressed and fascinated with what Tom Watson accomplished at The Open Championship at Turnberry.

Never mind the physical aspect of what Watson did. It's really hard to comprehend how someone about to turn 60 could be flexible and strong enough to play any sport with competitors a third his age.

Kudos to Watson for keeping himself so fit for so long.

Championship golf requires incredible eye-hand co-ordination, timing, flexibility, range of motion and a high degree of strength.

More importantly, it's how Watson carried himself and dealt with unimaginable pressure, anxiety and everything else that comes with trying to win a major.

Basically, Watson was the only person on the planet who thought he could win The Open Championship, even after a terrific first-round 65.

Watson is a great example for all golfers. He's confident without being cocky, and he's incredibly patient.

At Turnberry, he stayed in the moment as well as any golfer I've ever watched for 72 holes. Watson managed to ignore incredible outside distractions that would derail almost every golfer.

Most importantly, his demeanour on the course was impeccable.

I'm a great fan of Tiger Woods. As an insider in the game, I respect and appreciate just how incredible the guy is, but Watson inadvertently made Woods look childish by comparison.

Watson reminded all golfers how to act and react on the course. Next to Watson, Woods can look like a spoiled brat after a bad shot.

If you're a parent with a junior golfer, make sure your kids watch and learn from Watson. He may not be as flashy as Woods, but he's as steady and tough as they come. It's no wonder he's won five Open Championships and is considered the greatest links competitor of all time.

So, just what can you learn from Tom Watson to help you play better golf?

1. Stay in shape

...and you can play good golf for a long time. If you're getting a little older and your swing and shots are getting a little short, don't blame your age. Blame your lack of fitness. If you stay fit and flexible, you can play good golf for a very long time.

2. Focus only on what you can control

Golf, especially links golf, can be cruel. Wind gusts, bad lies and crazy bounces can test anyone's spirit. To play your best golf, you need to learn to not worry about things you can't control. You'll only be able to hit good shots if you're relaxed and willing to take what the course gives you.

3. Ignore distractions

All that really matters in golf is how many times you have to hit during 18 holes. Everything else is just white noise. Your ball doesn't know how old you are or if Tiger Woods is playing in the event. Stay in the moment.

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STAY TRUE

Learn Your Golf Personality

As great as Tom Watson is, not everyone should try to be exactly like him on the course. You can take a lot from Watson, but you also have to stay true to your own golf personality.

Last year, I found a great book -- The Seven Personalities of Golf by instructor Darren Gee.

Gee describes seven basic dominant golf personalities: The Steady Eddie (Tom Watson), The Artist (Seve Ballesteros), The Gamesman (Lee Trevino), The Intimidator (Tiger Woods), The Swashbuckler (Phil Mickelson), The Methodologist (Nick Faldo), and The Laid Back (Fred Couples).

Each personality has strengths and weaknesses. If you play to your strengths and borrow the strengths of other personalities, you can become a much better golfer.


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