In becoming the first Briton in more than 40 years to win the U.S. Open, on Sunday Justin Rose also became the second student of Dr. Gio Valiante to bring home a high-profile PGA Tour championship this month.
“On Sunday Justin was in the exact type of flow state that I write about in Golf Flow,” Valiante says. “In his winning press conference, he referenced the exact processes and methods I teach in the book.”
Valiante, named in the new issue of Golf Digest as the number two sport psychologist in America, began working with Rose in 2010 and says that he evolved from simply thinking like a mastery golfer to thinking and behaving like one on the golf course.
Valiante says that something remarkable happened after the BMW Championship in 2010 when he began working with Rose.
For the first time since he was a teenager, Rose reacted to a poor finish with the mind-set of a mastery golfer rather than an ego golfer.
Rather than being embarrassed, angry, or frustrated by a poor result, he approached the following week at the Memorial energized, excited and eager to play with a mastery mind-set.
After spending the better part of nine years on the PGA Tour as an also-ran, he ended up winning that tournament for his first Tour win, despite trailing by four shots heading into the final round.
Valiante credits Rose for playing smart, strategic golf in which he never broke his routine or took a risk.
A later win in the 2010 season further demonstrated Valiante’s impact on Rose’s game, specifically his ability to leave the past behind and recognize that the nature of golf is such that you can have a poor result without doing a lot wrong.
“This is effective thinking perfected,” Valiante explains. “Justin did not brood or overthink or panic. He simply accepted the inherent variability and randomness of the game and determined to keep pressing forward with freedom and enthusiasm.
By staying out of his own way, Justin let his good play continue.”
On June 2, another of Valiente’s disciples, Matt Kuchar won the Memorial Tournament, his second Tour victory of the year.