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UNC prof's coaching helped Stewart focus for U.S. Open win

Posted June 10
Updated June 11

— University of North Carolina Educational Psychology Professor Dr. Richard Coop has spent decades working as a consultant to athletes in the area of Mental Skills Training and Performance Enhancement.

In golf, he has helped Corey Pavin, Ben Crenshaw and Payne Stewart. Coop was right there with Stewart during the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

"One of the things we did, I had him write on his scorecard OTE, OTE, OTE, OTE. Four OTE's. What that stood for was opportunity to excel," said Coop. "When you hit a ball under a tree, that's an opportunity to excel rather than the worst break you have ever gotten in your golfing career."

With unwavering confidence and laser-ike focus, Stewart came to the 16th hole on the final day, tied for the lead with Phil Mickelson.

"Everybody remembers the highlights of one shining moment of the 18th hole, but if he hadn't pulled the shot off at 16 it wouldn't have made that much difference," said Coop.

Stewart had too much steam on his third shot at 16, blowing it 25 feet past the hole. That left a near-impossible putt for par.

"He never came close to making it in the practice rounds," said Coop.

It was one of those OTE moments, an opportunity to excel.

"What I thought was so impressive about it was when he made it, he didn't jump around, he didn't throw his cap in the air. He just matter-of-factly went," said Coop, "and we had worked on that. Don't lose your focus just because you made a great shot. Don't lose your concentration just because you made a bad shot."

"To be so organized and focused at a time when it was most necessary was probably one of my highlights of working with him."

Calm became chaos after Stewart dropped the final putt to win the Open. Late that night, Dr. Coop walked into Stewart's room as he prepared for an event the next day.

"Payne was ironing his knickers and his golf shirt. I said 'What are you doing?'" Coop recalled.

"He said, 'I have to be professional. I'm the U.S. Open champion,'" Coop said.

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  • 903 Born 2 B Hated, Dying 2 B Lo Jun 10, 8:49 p.m.

    Dr. Coop? which no-show/paper classes did Dr. Coop claim to have been "teaching?

  • P0wered by Heels Jun 10, 8:31 p.m.

    Cue the ABC'R crowd:

    "No He Didn't!!!!"

    lolololol

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 11
TOL 10
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
TOL
 
Final
NYY 4
TOR 5
Final
CIN 2
WAS 4
Final
PHI 4
ARI 2
Final
TAM 2
BOS 3
Final
MIN 4
CWS 3
Final
KAN 3
CLE 10
Final
HOU 2
MIA 4
Final
MIL 0
NYM 2
Final
CHC 0
STL 1
Final
ANA 2
DET 1
Final
SEA 2
BAL 3
Final
COL 5
PIT 7
Final
ATL 8
SDP 3
Final
TEX 3
OAK 9
Final
SFG 3
LOS 4
12:10pm Today
ATL
SDP
 
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
ARI
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
PHI
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TOR
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
COL
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
NYY
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
OAK
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
PIT
 
Final
DUR 11
TOL 10
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
TOL