It was a fantastic win for Brooks Koepka in the most recent PGA Championship. It was very interesting to see how he would approach things given what happened last major at the Masters. In the major previous he was quoted in saying that he was more concerned about protecting his lead. However in the post press conference he talked about regretting that type of mindset particularly against someone like Jon Rahm who is notorious for being mentally strong and aggressive until the final putt.
Brooks had found himself once again at the top of the leaderboard at the end of Round 3 at the P.G.A Championships. In an interview he announced he would do things differently from the Masters and play with a more aggressive mindset. Now aggressive doesn't mean going for every pin location but aggressive enough where you give yourself lots of birdie chances to make sure the field know that you're not backing down. It also gives the player more confidence because it's playing on the front foot rather than defending a lead.
This strategy worked really well throughout the last round where Brooks was able to extend his lead after 6 holes. Watching him you could see that he was committed to playing confidently right up until the end. More specifically his body language was very strong and the speed in which he played his shots never changed. Even in high pressure situations he decisively chose his club and then promptly executed his shot.
You could really see that Brooks epitomises the reaction mindset. Meaning he sees the target and then hits the ball like he's reacting to it. This is what famed golf psychologists will always preach that you must treat golf like a reactionary sport such as tennis or football. The more we can do this, the more we tap into our potential as we play with instinct rather than standing over the ball and having an avalanche of swing thoughts.
The greatest example of his aggressiveness with the lead was at the 14th hole where he was deciding whether to go for the green. There was a notion from the commentary team whether he should play 3 wood but Brooks decisively took his driver and proceeded to knock the ball onto the green to secure birdie. This was a big moment for him because it validated his aggressive mindset under pressure.
There are times though that you just can't be too aggressive for example where Brooks decided to lay up on the 17th after going into the trees. Hi mindset was still confident as he felt he could still make par but it didn't mean he was going to play a risky shot and jeopardize the round and make a big score. The art is knowing when to put the pedal down and go for it and when to play safe while still being optimistic.
If you need any help with mental strategies for you round, book in for a lesson.