The Zone Interactive Golf Magazine (UK) The Zone Issue 20 - Page 28

GOLF PSYCH pressure as they would during a relaxed round with friends, as external factors such as the occasion and what others think of them do not impact upon these players. Ego orientated players on the other hand will often be the players to choke when things aren’t going to plan, this is because the worry of what they will look like and what others will think and say about them will often kick in and the fear of failure grows until it becomes unbearable. The two main components of this theory are that a player can be either dominantly task orientated or ego orientated. Traits of task orientated players are that they have a strong focus on learning, improving their game, enjoying their sport and doing their best, giving 100% effort in their performance and practice are what these players focus on in their pursuit of success, this can be considered an intrinsic approach to sport and players such as Luke Donald are a prime example of this. Players who are dominantly ego orientated see success as, winning in style, having a high social status and social recognition for their achievements, being seen to win with relative ease, and pulling of heroic shots to win tournaments. Now it is said that a task orientation in golf is a much healthier approach than an ego orientation, this is because task orientated golfers tend to perform just as well under 28 In time this can lead to dropout from the sport altogether or a radical behaviour of some sort. It is said however that a good balance of both of these traits can be the most effective, this is because the ego orientation can keep that level of competitiveness there and the will to win, whereas the task orientated part of the player can keep them focused on the task in hand under pressure and not to panic when things aren’t perfect. If we consider this theory in relation to Rory McIlroy we could say that he clearly enjoys the status and fame that comes with his golfing success, he likes to put on a show and who could blame him at 23 years of age. I think it’s fair to say that McIlroy certainly has many of the characteristics of an ego orientated player but has managed to keep these at bay with a decent level of task orientation. The problem that I see gradually unfolding and which is very much supported by recent and past performances (i.e. Masters 2011) is that his ego side THEZONE / ISSUE 20