How the Tiger Woods scandal may emotionally affect his golf game

Here’s the obligatory Tiger Woods post on the blog.

Whenever Tiger gets back to the course, some are wondering how his current travails will impact his golf game. NPR’s Shots interviewed a sports psychologist about the issue.

Gregg Steinberg, author of Mental Rules for Golf, cites the so-called “triad of toughness,” – physical, mental and emotional:

For a golfer, says Steinberg, physical toughness means you have components like a great swing and the right stance. Mental toughness is having confidence and optimism about your performance. Emotional toughness is what it takes to stay calm under pressure, get excited to play, and to manage your anger, or keep the proverbial “head in the game,” if you will.

Emotional toughness is where the current scandal is likely to take a toll. Despite taking the rest of the year off from competitive golf, the scrutiny will be intense whenever he returns.

tiger woods And that, according to Stenberg, can affect his game: “He could take the negativity and believe the media is out to get him and let it drain him.”

Tiger has shown in the past to focus on the task at hand, and separate golf from personal distractions. We’ll see if he’ll continue to have the emotional fortitude to do so.