- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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SI: What was the blunder?
GN: My technique was incorrect. When your swing is not right and you get under pressure, it will fail. My swing probably looked good to everybody else, but in tournament golf, a quarter of an inch movement here or there and you're talking about 30 yards' end result. It was just some little flaw in my swing. But you learn. Life is a learning experience, and maybe I needed that to make me realize I had to get back out there and work.
SI: Golf's a nasty game. One's confidence can be undermined so quickly.
GN: Sometimes focusing on the negatives creates more negatives. I've never been a negative individual. Never. Let's say I'm playing my bunker shots poorly. Instead of going out there and practicing my bunker shots hour after hour, I'll go chip or hit my five-iron instead, something I can be positive about. Then, after four or five days of not even touching my sand wedge, I'll say, "O.K., let's go to work." Instead of worrying about it and pressuring myself to fix the problem immediately, I walk away from it and analyze the situation. Boom! It comes back very, very quickly.
Another thing I pride myself on is not living in the past. Whether I've played exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly, I've always been able to proceed as if nothing has happened. What's the point in crying over spilt milk? It's just going to create more anguish between your ears.
SI: But you've had some disappointments that are hard to shrug off.
GN: I admit there've been times when I've gotten hurt. The time Larry Mize chipped in to beat me in the Masters, for instance. I went out and sat on the beach at three o'clock in the morning and cried. When that happened, right on top of Bob Tway beating me in the PGA by holing that shot from the bunker on the final hole...I was kind of, Ohhhh, what have I done wrong? I sat down in front of my house in North Palm Beach and just listened to the surf come in.
The game takes a lot out of you; it takes a lot of energy from you. But then again, it gives you a stronger sense of self-esteem if you can rise above it.
SI: Your media critics said you should have risen above your hip injury at the U.S. Open at Hazeltine in June and kept playing. When you quit after 27 holes, they surrounded the fitness trailer and wouldn't leave until you came out to explain yourself.
GN: Yeah, it was like somebody had died in the thing or something. These guys didn't realize the pain I was going through, and yet they wanted to rip me for withdrawing. I wanted to keep playing. My physiotherapist made me withdraw. I didn't want to be interviewed about it; I just wanted to quietly withdraw and go home. But God almighty, it was like something major, a catastrophe. It was ridiculous, total stupidity, for that much attention to be thrown on the situation. I mean, I get injured, and I get nailed for it.