Superstition is a very common in sports. Professional athletes have their own rituals before stepping onto the course, field or court. Examine sports across the world and you’ll quickly see players and teams engaging in rituals, designed to steady nerves and boost confidence.
When all’s said and done, athletes are judged on their successes and failures. Gaining that competitive edge is paramount. This is the reason why athletes the world over place significant emphasis on superstitions.
Perhaps the most famed golfing superstition is the one that Tiger Woods observes. Anyone that knows anything about golf will be aware that come the final round of any major or tournament Tiger Woods wears a red shirt. His reasoning is that his mother taught him that red is a power colour, giving Tiger that extra element of confidence on the day.
Jack Nicklaus, the most successful golfer of all time in terms of major wins, had his own ritual. Nicklaus would never use his own tees on par 3 holes. He’d always find a broken tee to use. As testament to how superstition trumps logic, Nicklaus was adamant that teeing off of a broken tee allowed him to hit a better shot.
Another somewhat humorous superstition was observed by Arnold Palmer throughout his career. A television commentator said that prior to teeing off his wife would kiss his ball. Whereas this isn’t literally the case it’s a good example of how prominent superstitions are in the sport.
Ben Crenshaw, one of the most recognisable names in golf in years of late, is renowned for his own superstition – namely that he doesn’t ever use balls that are numbered higher than four. There is a reason for this; Crenshaw believes this small superstition gives him the confidence to not score higher than four on every hole he plays. Given the success of his career it isn’t hard to judge the success of the superstition.
In a recent study conducted in Germany it’s estimated that golf is seventy percent skill, thirty percent mental. With such a high percentage of emphasis on the mental aspect of the game, it’s no surprise that golfers have superstitions.
To conclude, golfers are superstitious. Whether they have a swing routine, luck golf balls or attire that gives them confidence and makes them feel calm on the course, each individual superstition serves a purpose.