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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Charley Hull, a Sports Psychologist at 17

Charley Hull is -5 (T8) at the CN Canadian Women's Open  -- 3 shots off the lead -- and she was in the interview room after Friday's round. You can read comments made by the leaders at this link from LPGA.com, but I thought some of Charley's responses were... well, what we've come to expect.
Q.  Talk about your putting stroke.  I know last week when I was watching the broadcast they commented on your straight arm approach.  What is your background on your putting, is it with a coach or anything?  Is that how you started when you were young?
CHARLEY HULL:  No, I just changed my putting stroke about eight months ago, completely changed it.  I used to have really bent arms, and I would just putt like that and I putt and it goes in.  So it's fine.  Touch wood.
Q.  In the case of Laura Davies, she looks like she's in contention for the weekend; is she someone you look up to?
CHARLEY HULL:  Yeah, definitely.  I know Laura, and she's really nice.  I love playing golf with her because we're both fast players.  I played quite a bit with her in Europe.  She's obviously been one of my heros growing up, and she's a great player.  She's got a good sense of humor as well, and she supports the same football team as me, Liverpool, so yeah.
Q.  Is there one particular hole on this course that give us more trouble than any of the others?
CHARLEY HULL:  I haven't really thought about it yet.
Q.  Anything Laura has done advice‑wise?  Has she been more of a mentor?  Is she just kind of there?
CHARLEY HULL:  No, she's just there as a competitor, so she's really good.  I like Laura.  She just like hits it, finds it, hit it's again.  She's good.
If you want to know part of the reason Charley Hull is playing so well, you can see it in these responses. Note the devil-may-care attitude:
  • Why does she putt the way she does? She used to putt with bent arms but decided to putt with straight arms. Apparently no coach guides her, she just putts and it goes in, so she decided it's a good way to putt.
  • Laura Davies is a friend and a hero. Why? Apparently because she plays fast, "she just hits it, finds it, hits it again," and they root for the same football team.
  • Is there a place on the course that's tough for her? She's halfway into the tournament but she hasn't really thought about it yet.
Real technical stuff there. Must consume her every waking hour trying to make sense of this game.

If you watched any of the the Barclays today, you heard them talking about Matt Kuchar in the same sort of way. There was some discussion about why Kuch was #2 in the FedExCup points and in position to move into #1 when his stats just weren't that great. At that point he knocked in a birdie putt to erase some less than stellar play. After a quick laugh, the GC guys noted that the current "big deal" in psychology on tour is just accepting whatever happens and moving on. (I did a post about that very thing way back in 2009, in case you're interested.)

Despite being tired, Charley Hull at age 17 is doing that very thing... and apparently without a highly-paid sports psychologist to guide her. Everybody's been so amazed that she "just hits it, finds it, and hits it again," as she put it at the Solheim Cup, but it really is that simple.

Maybe we should all give it a try. At least we won't have to deal with acne when we do.

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