Despite playing beautifully from tee to green, Lee Westwood’s putting seemed to let him down once again when it really mattered. From his interviews it seems that it is not a shortage of effort and practice. He said he will keep going until he finds the “key” to unlock his putting. I must say that to get to the top of the world rankings and have a career like Westwood has done you must be able to putt well. He is a great player. Yet when it really matters to him, particularly the last rounds of the Majors, he is unable to let go and putt to his potential. So what is happening to Lee?
As I have discussed before, you need two things to putt well.
Awareness & Equanimity
Awareness – the ability to focus the mind on one simple thing without judgement, to allow your body to be free to make the putting stroke without instruction from your mind.
Equanimity – The ability to let go of the outcome, free from fear or craving.
Like a wagon you need two wheels to perform well.
You need both of these skills in order to putt well. One without the other and you will go around in circles.
As Westwood played his final round he missed a lot of birdie chances which indicated he was unable to really let go. It is not easy to write about how to let go over a putt, however it is possible to develop the skill through your practice and learn from your own experience. Westwood is not alone. Harrington missed in much the same way. Neither were aware enough to realise that it was their craving for the win that stopped them from winning. Their craving unbalanced their mind and resulted in loss of concentration and poor performance.
Maybe I can’t help Westy or Padraig, but what about you? Are you playing to your potential when it matters?
“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go.”
Mary Manin Morrissey