The next time I'm hacking away on my local muni, I'm going to pretend like I'm snowboarding, because that's what Italian golfer Giulia Sergas does. Imaginary frostbite nipping at my windwhipped nose, I'll fit right in with the LPGA.
In most worlds — let alone sports leagues — such creative visualization is known simply as delusion. In the LPGA, it's "holistic," and it's the latest craze!
It shouldn't be a surprise to learn of such, um, quirkiness from the sport that, in the last year alone, tried to Americanize its playing field and strongly encouraged in-round tweeting. I wonder if their under-the-breath mutterings or across-the-fairway ballads have to be in English, too.
Suzann Pettersen has been counting obsessively out loud as she walks down the fairway. Italy's Giulia Sergas has been pretending to snowboard while waiting for her turn. Finland's Minea Blomqvist has been attempting to channel Ms. Sorenstam's spirit, mimicking her posture, tempo and facial expressions. And this April at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Brittany Lincicome sang and whistled country songs by Keith Urban and Sugarland after nearly every shot. She won the tournament — her first major victory....
As the U.S. Women's Open kicks off in Bethlehem, Pa., golf fans can thank Ms. Sorenstam's longtime mentor, Pia Nilsson, and her coaching partner, Lynn Marriott, for the increase in odd behavior on the greens. Now a regular presence at tour events, the duo has picked up nearly 20 new tour clients since the retirement of Ms. Nilsson's star pupil last year. Together, they help players win with a "holistic" approach that's based on who each client is as a "whole person."
Instead of focusing only on a player's stance or swing, Ms. Nilsson and Ms. Marriott say they take players' spiritual, social, physical, mental and emotional needs into account as well, suggesting remedies that often have little to do with technical golf and have included listening to iPods, playing Sudoku, jumping up and down or staring up at the trees during downtime on the course.
"We know teachers and coaches are wondering what we're doing," says Ms. Nilsson, who notes on their Web site that she hates cocktail parties, loves the color blue, makes her own cereal and has kept stats on the number of ice cream cones she eats each summer. Ms. Marriott enjoys gardening, values kindness, hates "when things are messy" and does her spiritual rejuvenating in Sedona, Ariz.
Here's what you need to know about me: I'm eating a bag of potato chips, I think making my bed is a waste of time, and I'm floored by the wonderfully indescribable, incandescent beauty of the sun striking a brick wall. I also like shaping sand castles in the trap, because it unleashes my bottled-up rage. See you in Bethlehem!