AUTHOR : CHARLIE EPPS
Known as "The Golf Doctor," Charlie Epps has been one of Houston's most respected PGA professionals for 30 years. He is the Director of Golf at Redstone Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open.
Epps teaches two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and second-year Tour player Bobby Gates. Listen to Epps 9-10 a.m. Saturday mornings on Yahoo! Sports Radio on 1560 AM in Houston, channel 127 pm Sirius satellite and 242 XM.
Golf is a game that is meant to be enjoyed. For the guys on the PGA Tour, the game is their business, their livelihood. So they have to approach it seriously. But it's still a game.
Many times, the players who enjoy themselves during the heat of competition are the ones who have the most success. Rory McIlroy, the recent U.S. Open winner, definitely enjoys himself on the course.
He plays like a kid, and his game and attitude reflect that of someone who is truly having fun. Of course, it helps that he actually is a kid—he's barely 22 years old. But all of us, no matter our age, can take a lesson from young Rory.
Play the game like a kid. You'll be so much happier if you do.
During the first three rounds of this year's Masters Tournament, McIlroy played like a kid. He carved up Augusta National with his beautiful, youthful swing. He delighted the patrons with his electric smile and care-free attitude.
On Masters Sunday, when he shot an 80 and fell out of contention, he also played like a kid—one who was in way over his head. This poor performance that day wasn't because his swing was not good enough. It was because he lacked experience. He was still a kid.
Late that afternoon at Augusta, the media threw some tough questions at him. He didn't run and hide or chide the media with short, emotionless answers. Instead, he stood up like a man and answered his critics.
He showed his resilience the next week, when he traveled to Asia to compete once again. He finished third.
Then 70 days later the kid was at it again. He set all kinds of the scoring records in USGA history at Congressional. He tied or set 12 scoring records and finished at 16-under. Are you kidding me?! After three rounds, he was 14-under and had an eight shot lead!
So how did he do it? Easy. He played like a kid.
While being with Angel Cabrera on tour, I have watch Rory out of the corner of my eye. A few years ago, my first impression was that 18 is too young to be out on tour. He should go to college, I thought to myself. He should go win the amateur championships of the world and come back when he's ready.
Well, I was wrong.
At Quail Hollow in Charlotte in 2010, Angel and Rory were tied for the lead going into the back nine on Sunday. Phil Mickelson was one shot back. Long story short, "The Kid" beat two-time major winner Angel Cabrera and four-time major winner Phil Mickelson.
Wow, I wished he had gone to college. Plus, he shot 62 in the final round. Are you kidding me?
His swing is so solid because of three key elements: Good balance, timing and rhythm. Ben Hogan once said, "There isn't enough daylight in any one day to practice all the shots you need to practice." That's how Rory the Kid plays the game of golf.
He hits shots. He doesn't "play swing."