Lexi Thompson is back in action on the LPGA Tour this week to defend her title at the Indy Women in Tech Championship. It comes after a self-imposed break from the game. Thompson made a surprise announcement on social media less than a month ago.
“I wanted to let you know that I am officially withdrawing from the 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open,” Lexi said. “It is extremely difficult for me not to play in this prestigious major, but I realized recently that I need to take some time to work on myself.”
It was unusual to hear that a player of her caliber would miss a major championship in the middle of the season, but there was a lot going on beneath the surface.
“The events of the past year and a half (on and off the golf course) have taken a tremendous toll on me both mentally and emotionally,” Lexi continued. “I have not truly felt like myself for quite some time. I am therefore taking this time to recharge my mental batteries, and to focus on myself away from the game of professional golf.”
Thompson’s transparency is a reminder that golf can take a heavy toll on players, especially big-name tour pros who are constantly in the limelight. Yet amateurs suffer, too. It’s common to hear about players sidelined due to physical injuries, but those unseen mental and emotional difficulties are also debilitating.
Most Important Facet of Your Golf Game: A Sharp Mental Game
What is the game’s most important piece of equipment? The mind, said Golf Digest in an online slideshow article titled “18 Great Mental Tips.”
“The whole secret to mastering the game of golf—and this applies to the beginner as well as the pro—is to cultivate a mental approach to the game that will enable you to shrug off the bad days, keep patient and know in your heart that sooner or later you will be back on top,” Arnold Palmer said.
Said Payne Stewart: “A bad attitude is worse than a bad swing.”
Even the great Jack Nicklaus, winner of 18 majors who may have possessed the sturdiest mind in golf, faced the abyss on a few occasions in his long career.
“Looking back, I can identify a number of periods where I came within the proverbial whisker of severe burnout,” the Golden Bear told Golfweek way back in 1982.
What are signs of mental fatigue and golf burnout?
Not feeling like yourself, as Lexi mentioned.
When golf is no longer fun.
Lack of energy.
“Going through the motions,” said one golfer.
Said another golfer at TheSandTrap.com, “Burnout, at its core, is a loss of perspective.” Then he added, “When my game is starting to get to me, I take a week off and fish.”
That’s good advice. Sometimes the best thing for you and your golf game is to step away for a while.
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