Tag Archives: personality

Confident vs. Cocky

tiger-confident-and-cockyWhich camp do you fall in?  When you play your best on the golf course how do you feel, confident or cocky?  Try to align yourself with one of today’s top professionals.  Jason Day is confident.  Henrik Stenson is confident.  Dustin Johnson is surprisingly confident and a little bit humble.  Just look at Rory McIlroy’s gait when he is winning.  Tremendously cocky.  Jordan Speith has transitioned from a cocky youth to confident consummate professional.  When he was at his peak, Tiger Woods was the most cocky AND confident player on the planet.  Now he exhibits neither, which is why I’m skeptical of his comeback attempt.  Phil Mickelson, the ultimate showman, is both.  Bottom line:  To play effectively, you need one or the other.

WARNING ALARM!  I hope this isn’t you.  The last time I played my best, I was neither confident nor cocky but rather surprised.  This is not a good state to be in.  It was probably due to my lower level of preparation and infrequent play.  However, five years ago, I was in an excellent hot streak and exhibited a high level of confidence.  When I play and practice a lot, my confidence rises.  Normally, I’m a 95% confident type, but when the 5% cocky appears, I’ll try some boneheaded shot that I haven’t practiced, which leads to a triple bogey.  Have any of you confident types experienced this?

Our personality leads us to either a confident or cocky on-course persona and it’s best to play to your personality.  Unless your on-course behavior is horrible, when we deviate from our personality is when we screw up.  If you are a gregarious show-off, normally you’ll fall in the cocky camp and need to play as such to be comfortable, but if you’re a more quiet unassuming strategist, you’ll play as a confident type.  This is why it took Phil Mickelson so long to adjust his on course behavior away from taking unnecessary risks that cost him several major championships.  He’s still cocky at heart but has learned to become more of a tactician that always plays with a game plan.   I think fans still love when “Phil The Thrill” comes out, but watch him in the majors and especially at The Masters.  He’ll come out with a confident game plan and rarely deviates.

To be successful, you need one or the other.  To find yours, think back when you were in competition and playing your best (and your worst).  What did you have and what were you missing?  As mentioned earlier, at my best I was supremely confident.  At my worst I had nothing and was completely intimidated.

Confident vs. cocky; what works for you?  Shoot me a comment with your type and a story if you’ve got one.  Play well!

Do you golf like a gorilla or a surgeon?

What kind of personality do you play to on the golf course?  Are you constantly trying to muscle up, bust the driver, and hit all the par fives in two?  Do you get your greatest thrill from thrilling others?  Or are you calculating and planning, dissecting every move and possibility down to the finest detail?  However you play, your course personality should fit your everyday personality, or you are going to struggle.

Just finished reading Gia Valiante’s “Fearless Golf” and his point of identifying if you are a ego-based or mastery-based player resonated well.  Phil Mickelson is the classic ego-based player who derives his greatest pleasure from wooing people with his extraordinary short game and daring recovery skills.  Sure he loves to win and definitely comes to the course with a game plan, but you see him time and again chuck the plan and take the daredevil approach.  Sometimes it plays out, as it did with his 6-iron through the pine trees at Augusta, other times he implodes under the weight of his own ego, as was the case on the 72nd hole at the 2006 U.S. Open.  As these unspeakables unfold, we ask ourselves, “how can he be so stupid?” but Phil is the consummate gambler on and off the course and it makes sense for him to play to his personality.  Is this you?

Or do you play like Jim Furyk?  Seems like he always has a plan, sticks to the plan, and nobody’s opinion of him or his swing is going to change that plan.  This is the mastery-based approach, where you execute on your skills, only play shots that you practice, and calculate risk/reward for every aspect of the game.  I’m known as a planner off the course and play to this personality (the surgeon) on the course.  When I cross from surgeon to gorilla, I pay a dear price.  A few years ago during a mid-summer round when everything was dry and rolling out, I hit a few par-5 holes in two and managed to drain an eagle putt.  All of a sudden I had gained the capacity to overpower courses and it took some very bad scoring for the balance of the year and some serious self examination to determine root cause.  It doesn’t make sense for a surgeon to play like a gorilla and in the same regard, someone like Phil Mickelson probably is more effective taking risks and riding the roller coasters.

To help you self-identify, consider:  Would you rather shoot even par for 18 holes by making five birdies, three bogeys, and a double bogey, or making 18 pars?