Even for a player with the physical tools of Cam Davis, the mental part of the game can still be difficult to master.
Following an impressive first round at the Players Championship on Thursday — he shot a three-under 69, good for 9th at the moment — Davis revealed how a shift in his mental approach helped contribute to his improved play.
“I kept calm and cruised my way through the round,” he said, adding, “I would say less so the swing and more so just my thinking. I think I’ve just cleaned up a few things up in my head. It’s been a bit of a rough start to the year, but I feel like I’m starting to work on things that will really benefit me.”
Although Davis didn’t go into specifics, he said that he’s been “unwell” for the first couple months of the year; he has missed five consecutive cuts dating to the American Express. That has led to less practice time and a “few things” getting to him, he said. Add it all up, and the 28-year-old admitted he started to feel frustrated.
“The frustration was getting a bit too much for me,” he said. “So, yeah, decided to turn things around. This is the first week where I’m really feeling like I’m starting to get the hang of it again.”
It isn’t easy to remain mentally strong on the golf course. That part of the game is often overlooked, but it can make all the difference between just making the cut, competing and actually winning. This isn’t lost on Davis, who said he’s just trying to control what he can, and concentrate on both his focus and calmness on the course.
“Just being nice and relaxed between shots,” he said. “Just focusing when you need to focus, switching off when you need to switch off. Just making sure each shot you hit you’re fully committed to hitting a good shot, because it’s very easy to get distracted with the water and the tight lines off the tees out here.
“The more you can stick to what you can control and think about the right things, the easier it is to put a good swing on it… I feel like good golf can be tied back to good thinking for me. So, yeah, just try and do it again tomorrow.”
Other golfers, like Jordan Spieth, have echoed the idea of focusing only what they can control during a round, and rolling with everything else — i.e., the weather or course conditions.
Now that he feels like he’s gotten his groove back mentally, we’ll see if Davis can repeat a similar approach throughout the weekend.