Sports psychologist David L. Cook (Grad '84) recently released the sequel to his bestselling first book Golf’s Sacred Journey. The sequel, Johnny’s U.S. Open: Golf’s Sacred Journey 2, is full of creative golf ideas, including what Cook believes will become a new teaching method and the golf swing of the future. The following is an excerpt from the book's second chapter:
In two and a half weeks I was to play in my first U.S. Open. Much of the history of the game revolved around the venerable sites of this great tournament and the names etched upon its trophy. I grew up watching the greats of the game taken out by the brutal conditions of the U.S. Open. Hands down, the scoring average in the U.S. Open was the highest of all the tournaments each year. While the greatest names in golf won many of these events, it wasn’t always a pretty sight. It was a test of survival and toughness.
It could be argued that the U.S. Open was the truest championship of them all. Not only did it have the top players in the world, it also provided a comprehensive qualifying system that any good player could enter. A handful of professionals also received special exemptions. My tournament victory earned me one of those exemptions. At this point I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing. It wasn’t a lack of faith in my game as much as it was reality staring me in the face. I just didn’t feel my game was ready. I had more to learn before I suited up.
Every kid who grew up playing golf dreamed of making the putt to win the U.S. Open. I was no exception. Very few get the chance to play in the tournament. Fewer still show up prepared. In the end a putt to win happens for a very few, most to never have the opportunity again. I had no idea if I would ever have the chance to play in another U.S. Open after this one. I was determined to show up ready for anything. I was preparing for the conditions, the weather, the pressure, and the final putt for victory, should it come my way. Thus I came to Johnny for some answers. I was hoping to learn a few pieces of missing information and then fly out to the Memorial, Jack’s tournament, armed with the confidence I was missing.
“I’m not ready,” I said, surprised at my confession. “The U.S. Open is in two and a half weeks, and I don’t feel prepared.”
“You aren’t,” Johnny agreed without missing a beat.
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“You’re here,” he said with a smile and chuckle.
“You got a point,” I acknowledged with a grin.
“The U.S. Open is a step up from normal competition; it’s in a different league. Extreme variables, unforeseen challenges, monumental decisions in the moment of moments,” Johnny agreed. “The U.S. Open is about pinpoint accuracy and freedom in the chaos.”
“Freedom in the chaos?” I questioned.
“Mental chaos has stolen more majors than players want to admit,” Johnny answered. “Freedom has to trump chaos coming down the stretch. When destiny is on the line, defining moments are characterized by thought freedom, meltdowns by mental chaos.”
Excerpted with permission from Johnny’s U.S. Open: Golf’s Sacred Journey 2 by David L. Cook Ph.D. and Sacred Journey Stories Publishers. Available through www.linksofutopia.com and iTunes iBookstore.