The scene: Vijay Singh faces 230 yards to a green with a lake left and rough right.
What Johnny Miller could say: “Vijay has chosen a wood. He doesn’t even see that lake on the left. He’ll pick a specific target in the center of the green, take a big, freewheeling swing, and not worry about the result.”
What Johnny Miller does say: “Vijay has chosen a wood. That’s a lot of club. If he hooks it left he’s wet, but if he over-cuts it, he’s dead. He’s got a hook lie, cut wind, humid air — and that’s a nasty hang-nail on his pinkie.”
By highlighting the danger, Miller, or any broadcaster, is just doing his job: Making golf dramatic. “The problem is, everyday golfers think the same way Johnny talks, seeing all the trouble,” Parent says. “The language we use is important and impacts how we swing. Seeing only the trouble leads to a defensive, hit-and-hope swing, instead of a confident swing.”
The fix? Create a positive picture. Instead of playing a par-4 to a “tight, slanting fairway with deep Kikuyu left and a hot-dog stand right,” play a hole “with the left-to-right shape that funnels your ball to the widest part of the fairway, leaving a short wedge to a huge green.”
“That sounds more fun, and it will show in your swing,” Parent says. “Think like the pros: Give yourself a clear, positive picture, then cut it loose.”