What do golfers really dream about when they’re asleep?
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Inside Golf where Michael Green writes a monthly column.
In 2006 Geoff Ogilvy became the first Australian to win the US Open in 25 years. The remarkable victory at Winged Foot was the first major victory by an Australian in 11 years and golf was back on the front page of the newspapers for the first time in a long time.
Soon after his victory, Ogilvy chatted to the media about the details of the victory where he also commented on the importance of winning a major golf tournament.
“Obviously, you dream about winning a major championship,” Ogilvy said. “To have it actually happen, once it sinks in, it’s pretty special.”
There is no question Ogilvy has a greater drive to succeed at golf than I do, but I wondered, did he really dream about winning a major championship? Did he truly wake up one morning and think, ‘Wow, great dream, I just won the US Open’?
To be fair (and far less jocular) Ogilvy along with many other successful athletes who use the phrase are probably just referring to daydreams, or as a way of expressing their joy at achieving one major career goal. But lets just go with this for a minute.
I’d love to have a dream where I win a major championship. Because despite differing skill levels on the golf course, surely your average golfer and the professional one are equally capable of dreaming of winning a major?
But actually sleeping and dreaming of winning the Masters or The Open Championship is hard, if not next to impossible. It’s probably more difficult to do that winning the Masters or Open Championship in reality.
More so in my youth than these days, I used to try nodding while imagining playing in The Open at St.Andrews. I just assumed sleep would overcome me and a dream would emerge of a tense final round where I win the Claret Jug by beating Greg Norman in a playoff.
It never did. If I did manage to execute a dream about golf, it would usually end up with me in some far more isolated place than at a major golf championship.
I’d dream I was trying to play a golf shot from some bizarre, awkward, confined space. Or trying to hit a ball from inside a room (where the tees were placed) through a narrow window. The whole experience would be so stressful and claustrophobic that I’d never play a golf shot at all – never mind win a major.
It reminds me of Jimeoin’s piece on trying to fall asleep into a sexy dream. Himself a keen golfer, Jimeoin quipped that he would try and imagine a sexy woman sitting on a chair as his final thoughts before sleep – only to end up admiring and eventually buying the chair.
In my small, but thorough research among a handful of golfers, it turns out that this claustrophobic golf dream is not uncommon. Playing partners have shared similar stories about being confined while trying to play a shot, often not being capable of making a swing at all.
With this awkward, claustrophobic dream being so ubiquitous among golfers, I’ve wondered whether the professionals have them too?
Has Tiger ever had a golf dream where the first tee at St.Andrews is so far back that he’s forced to play his drive from inside the Links Clubhouse? Or has Rory ever dreamed of trying to play a shot from alongside the cabins at Augusta National… oh wait, nevermind, that was real.
Nevertheless, perhaps the next winning speech from a major champion should be a little more precise. The less truthful phrase “I’ve always dreamed of this moment”, should be replaced with “I’ve tried to dream of winning this trophy many times, but was never successful. It’s much easier to do in reality”.