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Graeme McDowell on Creativity and Golf

Graeme McDowell, 2010 U.S Open winner, was recently on Charlie Rose and he had a wonderful little segment on creativity and golf.

Starts at 18:52 [link to YouTube clip]

Charlie:  You're guiding the ball. I mean, it's a bit like, for people who don't play golf, it really is a sense that you know the kind of pitch you're going to throw. And you know where you gotta go and you know how to take that ball and really play with it like you're a magician.

Graeme: For sure, I think you get to a certain level in anything, any sport, any kind of hobby, any kind of hand eye coordination sport, I think there's nothing better than the feeling of seeing it with the brain and just replicating exactly what you've just seen.

Charlie: And what happens when you mishit?

Graeme: What happens when you mishit?

Charlie: Yeah.

Graeme: I think we're all partial to one of those. Even the top players will mishit shots. Any number of things could happen. The brain can focus on a position or a technique and really lose that coordination of the hand eye. The strike of the ball. I think anytime you can switch the brain off from a technique point of view and really open up that creative part of your brain, I think at the top level, it's what really separates the kind of best from the also-runs is being able to get away from trying to practice your backswing all day rather than I want to make this golf ball do this.

Charlie: I want to make this golf ball do this.

Graeme: My brain and my body take over and all the practice and all the training that I went through over the years. It's like the brain sees it, the brain knows how to tell the body how to do it. It really doesn't require a huge amount of thought from the player. He's worked on it. He's practiced and trained it. He should instinctively know how to hit that shot. That's really the golden chalice of golf that we're all searching for.