Mental health key as ‘80% of players storm off’ unhappy

Despite his recent form, Clark has risen from tenth to fourth in the world rankings in 2024. [Getty Images]

Golfers need to be better at checking on the well-being of others, given that “80% of players walk away angry” unhappy with their rounds, says Wyndham Clark, who will defend his US Open title at Pinehurst this week.

Mental health has become a key focus since the age of 30. Grayson Murray He left midway through a PGA Tour event last month and took his own life the next day.

“What happened was a sad and tragic situation,” Clark said of Murray, who had well-documented problems with alcoholism, anxiety and depression.

“The unfortunate thing about what we do is that it’s very lonely and very difficult.

“I’ve been in a lot of low moments where you have some negative thoughts that you never want to have.”

And while he accepts that there are “unlimited resources” to help golfers on tour, rather than simply saying “how are you playing?”, Clark wants players and caddies to ask each other, “how are you doing?” “.

“Maybe it’s more up to the players to take the initiative to do it,” added the world number four.

Clark, who beat Rory McIlroy in Los Angeles to win his first major by one stroke in 2023, is determined not to put too much pressure on himself this week.

The 30-year-old American won at Pebble Beach in February and finished runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship in March.

But his form has since declined, and he has missed three cuts in his last five events, including both Majors: the Masters and the US PGA Championship.

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“I haven’t been playing my best golf. These last few weeks have been a pretty tough stretch,” he said. “It’s challenging, frustrating.

“I’m just trying to gain some momentum. I know it may seem like low expectations, but I’d love to gain some momentum for the rest of the season.”

Clark said “working on your expectations” is key to your own mental well-being.

“Too often players, including myself, get so involved in the score and the outcome, and the game of golf is very frustrating and difficult,” he added.

“There are really lonely moments when you miss the cut, throw your clubs in the car, walk away and you’re [angry].

“On TV they usually show the guys playing very well, the game looks incredible. In reality, I would say 80% of the field leaves angry after many rounds.

“That’s just the nature of our game. That’s why it’s such a mental game. I’ve learned that there are so many different levels of skill here, and the difference between guys actually achieving it and enjoying the game has a long history.” career, they are just better mentally than everyone.

Follow live text coverage of all four rounds of the US Open from 12:30 BST on Thursday, with radio commentary of the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday on the BBC Sport and BBC Sounds website and app. Full details here.

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