GMAC resurgance no surprise to Morris

Fergus Wallace (left) and Karl Morris

Fergus Wallace (left) and Karl Morris

Graeme McDowell’s surge back into the world’s top 10 last month caught many people off guard.
The Ryder Cup hero, winner of the US Open in 2010, was playing second fiddle to Rory McIlroy before his recent victories at the RBC Heritage and the World Match-play.
Now, however, the tables have turned and it’s McDowell, not Rory who is expected to contend at the US Open. That may come as a shock to the casual observer but for those close to the golfer, like performance coach Karl Morris, McDowell’s resurgence is no surprise.
“We got together just before the US PGA last year. By his own admission, Graeme had lost some clarity on what his goals were because one of his goals had been to win a major and he was left wondering what to do next,” said Morris (www.themindfactor.com), who has been working with GMAC for 10 years.
“So one of the things we looked at was the world rankings. At that time, he was 20th something like that. So we set a goal in August to try and get into the top five in the world. The stats people at Horizon thought it might take about two years. At the moment he’s heading in the right direction – inside 12 months.”
Morris is considered one of Europe’s leading performance coaches and has worked with a host of star names, including Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood. The Englishman is a regular visitor to Ireland spending time with GUI elite squads over the last eight years.
He is not a sports psychologist in the mould of Bob Rotella, who has worked with Padraig Harrington for many years. Morris’ skill is in helping golfers – of all abilities – understand the areas that need to be worked on and then creating the right structure and programme so the golfers can improve.
“Good players, like everybody, forget the things that made them good players,” added Morris who was giving a seminar in Antrim last week as a guest of Fergus Wallace of GRIP (www.mygripzone.com).

“We find things that work and then we stop doing them. When it comes to working with Graeme, I will go to Florida, maybe four or five times a year and spend a couple of days with him. During that time, most of our discussions are simply reinforcing things that we have talked about over and over again.

“Things like, for example, better practice. By his own admission, last year Graeme got good at walking out of the house and hitting balls for two hours with no real purpose or structure. Even good players can do that.”
Morris is convinced that practicing better is a skill that all golfers can learn, one that will make a huge difference whether they are in that elite bracket or weekend players.
He advocates employing drills and games that create pressure whilst providing some statistical feedback and supports the products developed by the team at GRIP.
“The thing is with golf. Everyone keeps statistics of what happens on the golf course. The numbers of the card tell you what you’ve done. The GRIP stuff tells you what you are capable of doing,” he added.

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