Matchplay Masterclass

Published 30/04/2010 08:17:00

One of the reasons that the Ryder Cup is golf's most treasured event is that the world's best are pitted against each other and are fighting hard for a prize made of pride - not money.

In a matchplay competition, each player is involved in a head-to-head battle against another player, and to succeed requires tactics that will deflect pressure from you on to your opponent.


Finding the fairway

Never take any risks from the tee unless you are down in your match and are desperate to make a move. Finding the fairway can be crucial in stroke play, and its importance is doubled in matchplay.

If you make a poor tee shot, you automatically hand the initiative for that hole to your opponent, but when you find the target the opposite is true. Your opponent sees your good shot and instantly feels the heat and has to match it.

If you can cut mistakes down to a minimum you should do well.


Pressurising your opponent

There are certain tactics that you can use to unsettle your opponent. For example, if you are longer than them off the tee, walk up and stand next to your ball as they play their second shot (obviously out of the line of fire). Your sheer presence ahead of them on the fairway, bearing down on the green, will make them feel slightly uneasy and might just provoke a nervous swing.


Controlling your emotions

Your emotions will expose your mental state for all to see, so when competing in matchplay it is important not to give your opponent the sense that you are rattled or feeling the pressure.

Never react badly to a poor shot, even if you have missed the green and face a difficult follow-up shot. If you do, this will galvanise your opponent and give them the mental upper hand. Keep calm and composed and your opponent will struggle to do the same.


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