banner
Golf

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

Posted June 10, 2014
Updated June 11, 2014

— 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.

2 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • 903 Born 2 B Hated, Dying 2 B Lo Jun 10, 2014

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

  • P0wered by Heels Jun 10, 2014

    Cue the ABC'R crowd:

    "No He Didn't!!!!"

    lolololol

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASCAR: Toyota Owner's 400

    Tonight at 7:00 on FOX50

  • NASL: RailHawks at Indy Eleven

    Tonight at 7:30 on WRAL-2

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: NY Yankees at NY Mets

    Today at 4:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NASL: RailHawks at Indy Eleven

    Tonight at 7:30 on 99.9 HD3 The Ticket

  • CBSB: Duke vs. Virginia Tech

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
5:05pm Tonight
DUR
GWI
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CLE
1:10pm Today
CIN
CHC
2:10pm Today
CWS 0
KAN 0
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
4:05pm Today
NYY
NYM
4:10pm Today
MIA
WAS
6:10pm Tonight
TAM
TOR
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
ATL
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
BOS
7:10pm Tonight
MIL
STL
8:10pm Tonight
ARI
PIT
8:10pm Tonight
COL
SFG
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
TEX
9:10pm Tonight
SEA
MIN
3:00pm Today
BRK
ATL
5:30pm Tonight
MIL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
GSW
10:30pm Tonight
POR
MEM
3:00pm Today
NYI
WAS
6:00pm Tonight
TAM
DET
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NAS
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
VAN
5:05pm Tonight
DUR
GWI