First-tee jitters affect both golfers, athletes in PGA Tour Champions event

first-tee jitters affect every golfer/athlete; Greg Maddux included at the 2024 Invited Celebrity Classic
Greg Maddux - Invited Celebrity Classic
Greg Maddux - Invited Celebrity Classic / Tim Heitman/GettyImages

As part of the 2024 Invited Celebrity Classic's field, the PGA Tour Champions circuit has opened its doors to 118 competitors; including 78 professionals and 40 celebrities.

While the pros grind it out under standard stroke-play rules over 54 holes at Las Colinas Country Club, the celebs have been gifted a modified-stableford; a relaxed format that (still) doesn’t eliminate the pressure factor. American Mardy Fish, a former professional tennis player who ascended to top-15 in the world, is atop the celebrity leaderboard after 18 holes with the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo not far behind.

The apparent correlation between pitching and golfing is hardly a shocker. A lot like playing golf, pitching requires the ability to respond to the target you’ve selected; see the target, and hit the target.

Take a gander at the celebrities in this week’s PGA Tour Champions event.

You’ll notice Atlanta Braves legends Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. Four-time Cy Young award winner, Greg Maddux, amassed 355 career wins and did so with middling velocity; (instead) using his guile, precise location, and natural movement to create tons of outs via swings-and-misses and ground balls. On the links, Maddux plays to a 3-handicap with moderate club-head speed and (resulting) power; equipped with a savvy game that has shades of his command on the mound.

Apparently, his former teammate Tom Glavine is also a serious stick; a 2-handicap in his own right while thumping a low-cut off-the-tee that has hacker written all over it except the lefty Hall of Famer can flat-out play.


It must be nice having that much talent; picking a target and hitting that target like it’s a walk in the park.

That being said, Maddux had quite the awful first-tee shot to kick off his opening round in Irving, Texas on Friday. Check it out for yourself.

Ah, now that’s a small victory for the common folk.

There’s nothing quite like that horrible feeling; watching your opening tee shot beeline towards trouble so quickly that all you wanna do is become invisible or grab another ball from your bag before your buddy chimes in with “No breakfast balls today”. While I’d like to think that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Derek Lowe, and Jon Lester and company are human or like us, the reality is they’re not; but that doesn’t mean they can’t be bad from time to time.

If you struggle with your opening tee shot(s), it’s time for you to work on your pre-shot routine; focus on the process rather than the result. Start by refining your routine; it doesn’t matter if you land on 1, 3, 5, or however many practice swings, waggles, or looks at the target.

What does matter is being able to repeat that (same) routine over and over and over again; for every first shot you hit as well as every other full swing you make from the tee box during each round you play.

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See, if you have a tendency to start poorly time and time again on your opening hole and/or tee shot, chances are it’s nerves. A solid (repeatable) routine tames those nerves; to the point where you’re able to execute soundly in your own little world.

Once you’ve completed your new-and-improved routine, step in and fire away.

Stripe-city here you come.