Tom Patri: Keep your chin up when you hit those speed bumps

This past weekend another one of those 40-something guys, one Jeffrey Maggert, won the St. Jude Classic in Memphis. He did so after missing three straight cuts. First, there is a lesson there in itself. I always tell my young professional players: one swing, one 9, one round, or one week can turn the whole thing around.

I remember Davis Love III being interviewed one time. A reporter had noticed him playing the last several holes on a Friday round, when it was clear he was well outside the cut line. The reporter asked Davis why he seemed to be grinding so much coming down the stretch, when it was clear he was going to miss the cut.

Davis answered, "It was clearly time to start to prepare for next week, and I was working on my game." These players who have been well-coached (Davis' father was one of the best teacher/coaches ever — read the book "Every Shot I Take," by Davis Love III — well worth it) and know how with a positive outlook and a mature long-term plan, the bad shots or off weeks are nothing more than speed bumps on a long highway of golf (the PGA Tour season). If more amateur players approached their weekend games with that patience and maturity they would be better off.

How about the group of guys about to turn 50 in the next year — Mark O'Meara, Nick Price, John Cook, Fred Funk, with Greg Norman now 51, and a few more not far away. The Champions Tour is about to get another jump start of talent to go along with good guys Haas and Roberts — great talents who have kept themselves physically fit/healthy and ready to rock. This is a patient, mature group of seasoned players ready to pounce on the golden goose.

Speaking of patience, that Tiger Woods guy has been laying low since the passing of his dad. Reports are mixed, but some say he may not play until The Open at Winged Foot. That will make somewhere in the five-to-six-week range since he has competed. That seems a long time to put the competitive skills aside going into a major. But, what a story it would be to win The Open: 1) after Earl's death and, 2) after being away for so long. Tiger does have, as we know, a flair for the dramatic. Don't put it past him.

Congratulations to Kris Tamulis, one of our local talents, for her wonderful play at The Corning Classic on the LPGA Tour. She played a wonderful tournament, and picked up a sizable check. Players as they mature have what I call steppingstone events in their development that grow confidence and allow them to open the next door. I hope for Kris this showed her the next door is open and she belongs out there. Good luck to her.

Tom Patri's teaching academy has moved to Lely Resort, with an indoor studio open at The Health Club of Naples on Immokalee Road. Patri is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America. He can be reached at tpatri@mindspring.com.

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