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Ukens tips uke 6 - 2006
Gamesmanship à la Greg Norman

Gamesmanship er som regel en uting i golf. Stort sett innebærer det at man forsøker å psyke ut motstanderen. Det er en uting når det utføres på en uhederlig måte, men det er opplagt en del av spillet. Både Tiger Woods, Greg Norman og de fleste andre driver med dette i større eller mindre grad. Når Tiger Woods i sin bok "Slik spiller jeg golf" lister opp sine topp 5 metoder for psyke ut motstanderen, gjør han det klart at dette er en del av spillet. "Det er en del av mora" i spillet, sier han. Den første av de fem er: Slå hardt og langt med driveren. Etterpå later du som om du ikke traff ballen særlig godt." Dette er temmelig harmløst, men kan sikkert ha sin effekt. Spesielt når du heter Tiger Woods.

Tipset denne uken er hentet fra Greg Normans hjemmeside og gir et innblikk i Gamesmanship:

One of the subtler aspects of aggressive driving involves the gamesmanship that goes on at the tee. When you're in a match, the tee shot is the opening gambit and sets the stage for the rest of the battle on the hole.

Most players will admit that gamesmanship -- especially on the tee -- is part of golf.
Since I'm a long hitter, I like to have some fun with my opponents. Sometimes on an extremely long hole, if I'm hitting second, I'll take out an iron and lean on it as my opponent gets ready to play his shot. Occasionally I can actually see him thinking, "This hole is 450 yards and Norman's teeing off with a 1-iron? My God, he must be even longer than I thought." If I can get those types of thoughts going through my opponent's mind, he might do anything. Then when my turn comes, I put the iron back and take out my driver.

I do the opposite too. On a tight hole where I know everyone's debating about club selection, I'll quickly take out my driver and waggle it a bit for everyone to see. The other guys then may make the mistake of selecting too much club for the shot. After they hit, I'll put the driver, which I had no intention of hitting, back in the bag and select a more intelligent club.

I like to talk it up on the tee too, especially when I'm playing against a fellow who I know is something of a gamesman himself. I've stepped up to short par-4s and said loudly to my caddie, "Can we get it to the green today?" He'll then say something like, "No problem," both of us knowing full well that we have no intention of trying such a shot. It's all an act for the benefit of the shorter-hitting opponent, just something to get his brainwaves stirring as he prepares for his own tee shot.

But you don't have to be a power-hitter to be able to use gamesmanship. If you hit the ball straight, you can be just as effective. When you're the second to play on a tight hole, you can take out an iron. If your longer-hitting opponent sees you, he may back off his driver. Then, after he hits, you can put the iron back and hit it past him with your driver. You can also talk it up on the tee and put wayward thoughts in a slugger's mind. Try a line such as "That OB on the right sneaks up fast, doesn't it?" or "Thickest rough on the golf course is on this hole." Believe me, it works.

Of course the most common form of gamesmanship takes place on the tees of par-3 holes. I'll never forget the time I used it on a fellow British Open champion. He and I were both in contention in a major Australian event when we got to a par-3. The shot was between an 8-iron and a 7-iron. I knew my opponent was debating his choice, and I also knew he had a tendency to be a bag watcher. So, hitting first, I took a 7-iron and gave it a swing which was big and long but was actually quite soft and slow -- all arms and no hand action. The ball landed on the front half of the green. He then chose a 7-iron, hit it way over the back of the green, and took four.

Such gamesmanship may seem to stretch the limits of sportsmanship, but the fact is, everyone does it. It's part of the game on Tour. And the top players know how to use it best of all. During the 1986 U.S. Open Lee Trevino got me good. At the 10th hole one day, each of us had a tricky downhill birdie putt. Trevino hit first, and when his putt finished a foot or so past the hole he said to his caddie (for my benefit), "Herman, that is the fastest putt I've seen all year long." It worked. I left my approach putt five feet short and then missed the next one. Lee parred the hole and I bogeyed.

Asbjørn Ramnefjell

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