How Does One Train For The Stress Of The Masters Tournament? These Golf Pros Reveal All - Men's Health Magazine Australia

How Does One Train For The Stress Of The Masters Tournament? These Golf Pros Reveal All

The allure of The Masters is impossible to ignore, and for the golfers stepping foot on the most exclusive golf club in the world, it’s also a time of extreme mental stress. Professionals Jon Rahm and Bernhard Langer share their tips on how to keep your head in the game.

It’s easy to drink the Kool-Aid when you’re at Augusta National Golf Club, the most exclusive golf club in the world and home of the Masters Tournament; I did. From the ticket lottery process for attending to the virtually endless sea of golf attire, ball caps, and Masters green, everything about the U.S.’s top golf club feels unreal, and that’s not even including the actual tournament or the underlying energy that comes with it.

For most golf enthusiasts, any year of the Masters would be an exciting time to be a spectator. But in 2022—when the tournament was back in full force following a year when there was only about 25 percent of the regular attendance—it felt particularly special. Tiger Woods made the last-minute decision to compete, making a major comeback after suffering from a near-fatal car accident, resulting in serious leg injuries and nearly 17 months away from the sport. Woods may have finished 47th on the leaderboard, but playing through four rounds so soon after near devastation is an accomplishment in and of itself from the five-time Masters champion.

“Golf is a mental sport, I’d say more so than a physical one,” Jon Rahm, the first Spanish golfer to win the U.S. Open, told Men’s Health. Rahm, who played the course with Woods during Round 4 of the Masters, said when it comes to golf, your mental capacity and mental well-being are the most important things. The 27-year-old pro, who shot one of the best fourth rounds at Augusta, sported a bright green polo with the Mercedes-Benz logo, Rahm’s sponsor.

Rahm shares that with golf—a sport where he can play both professionally and recreationally—he has the best of both worlds. But how does the Spanish golfer maintain a healthy balance between the two? His family and video games. “[Video games are] an easy way to spend a couple of hours focusing on something else. It’s not physically demanding so you’re not getting your body tired, but your brain is doing something else for itself,” he says. “Now, with my son, I get home and two hours go by because I’m playing with him, and it’s even more rewarding.”

Of course, there’s also the physical aspect of the sport to keep in mind—and Rahm focuses on hydrating, taking a cue from Tom Brady. “I’ve met him a couple of times and he has this big jug of water and carries it everywhere,” he said.

As for Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters champion and another Mercedes-Benz-sponsored player, the physical focus is on his core and mobility. “In golf, you need a lot of core muscles in the mid-section, because of all the turning and twisting. I think it’s good to have a strong core—you’ll have good balance, good control, and speed,” the 64-year-old German golfer, who celebrated his 40th year at the Masters, shared. “Now, at my age, I have to work on flexibility because we all get stiffer and the swing gets shorter, which makes it harder to hit it far, so flexibility is huge.”

It goes without saying that golf is a lifelong sport—and at the 2022 Masters, participants of every age came back in full force. For players like Rahm, the end goal may be to be the best—but for others, like Langer, it’s simply to play well. Regardless, with the right preparation ahead of the tournament and the right attitude, these players are ready for whatever the course throws at them. And, as Rahm put it, “Luckily, in golf, we always have next week—that’s the beauty for us.”

This article was first published in Men’s Health US. 

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