Saturday, January 20, 2007

We're in the midst of one of the best weeks on the PGA Tour, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. A total of 360 contestants will tee it up—pro-am teams competing over three courses in the most spectacular golf setting in the United States.

It also means six-hour rounds on occasionally bumpy greens and celebrity autograph seekers around every corner. Like I said, one of the best weeks on Tour.

Golf being a mostly solitary sport, some Tour pros have a difficult time embracing the concept of playing with an amateur partner during actual competition (in contrast to pre-tournament pro-am rounds, which they've learned to deal with). I advise all my players to never enter a tournament if they truly don't want to be there. If you have a negative outlook going in, then your energy level will suffer and your performance will follow suit. One of my students, Ricky Barnes, is teamed up this week with comedian Ray Romano, which will mean plenty of television time for him and also some delays as Ray yuks it up with the crowd. Ricky and I have talked at length about it, and I think he'll handle it well.

Here's a lesson for the pros when playing a format like this—know your personality type. Golfers can generally be divided into four different personality types:

  1. Analytics, who like order and organization (Bernhard Langer, Bob Estes, Charles Howell III)
  2. Drivers, who play with blinders on and are fully into their own game (Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods)
  3. Amiables, who are quick with a smile and enjoy talking to the public (Peter Jacobsen, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson)
  4. Expressives, who generally roll with the punches and are less structured (Fuzzy Zoeller, Lee Trevino, Fred Couples)

Peter Kostis is a GOLF Magazine contributing writer and commentator for CBS Sports.

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