Tour tales: The Big Easy and the Belgian mind man

Despite winning for the second straight week, Ernie Els apparently had a blowout with his Belgian “mental coach” Jos Vanstiphout on the range at the Qatar Masters.
One has to wonder what a player as talented as Els needs a quack attending to his needs, especially someone who came to golf after reading one of those dreadful, new age books on th mental side of the game. Oh, and did I mention that Jos Vanstiphout, Els’ coach (he also works with Retief Goosen, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke and others), is a failed rock musician? He apparently has almost no training. We’re not talking Dr. Bob Rotella here.
I wonder why some of the best players need these kinds of coaches. Tiger doesn’t have one — and I don’t think Phil does either. I don’t remember Ben Hogan needing anyone to tell him why he needed to win following his car accident. He just did — that was all there was to it.
Why does a professional athlete, someone who competes for million dollar purses, need someone to motivate them? Gosh, if someone said I needed to win a foot race to snatch up $10 that was on the sidewalk across the street, I think I could muster the gumption to do it without needing to pay someone $7.50 to convince me to go for it.
Anyway, regardless of whether Vanstiphout can convince the Big Easy to win, win, win, Els now says he is ready to rock. He’s going to step up and take on Tiger, Vijay, and Phil — which will be great for golf, if that’s the case.
I’ve said it before, but I think this could shape up to be one of golf’s great years. It has been pretty interesting so far — and with all four guys playing at Bay Hill, this week’s tournament could be a precursor to what will come at The Players and the Masters.

Here are some links — this one is about the tiff between Els and Vanstiphout.
This one is Els’ description of what Vanstiphout does for Els, taken from the Big Easy’s website.
Lastly, here’s a piece where Els says he’s come back to the U.S. from his Arabian adventure ready to win.

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Jeff Lancaster

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1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Actually, last I heard, Retief fired Jos some time ago. And I don’t imagine it’s possible to get inside the mind of a top-tier golfer without being one. Ernie had a year full of disappointments last year – if he can more effectively deal with it with help, so be it.

    And something tells me Jos doesn’t charge 75%. 🙂

    Ben Hogan didn’t have a mental guru. Phil Mickelson does: Rick Smith (hardy har har). Tiger Woods does: Jack Nicklaus and his dad. Just because they’re not certifiable quacks doesn’t mean he doesn’t take a certain mental approach based on the thoughts and ideas of others. Ernie just pays for his.

    Please, and I say this with all due respect, please link to things instead of asking your reader to copy and paste URLs manually.

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