I’ll never forget the 2022 Masters. It was epic for so many reasons, but it was particularly special for two of my athletes in different ways.
For my guy Luke List, it was really moving to see the support he got for playing his first Masters as a pro now that he lives in Augusta, Georgia. Although he didn’t make the cut, he can hold his head up high for earning his spot at Augusta National by winning at Torrey Pines earlier this year. He’ll take a lot out of the Masters and will be ready for his next start there. Majors demand a lot from you physically, emotionally and psychologically and the experience you get from as a professional carries over for future events. Luke is one of my longest standing athletes I've had the pleasure of coaching and a lasting memory from the past week was Luke getting to walk down the fairway of the Par-3 Competition sharing the moment with his family all smiles.
And for my other athlete in the field at Augusta National, Cam Smith, I don’t know if I have words to describe how proud I am of him. He gave it his best. Although he didn’t have his A-game on Sunday, he left nothing in the tank and a tie for third is still an amazing result. I’m particularly proud of Cam - both as a member of his support team but also from a trainer’s perspective. He performed so well under difficult, cold and windy conditions for most of the week.
You might be wondering, what work did I have to do with Cam to get him physically ready for the rigours of Augusta National before and during the Masters?
Well, we certainly don’t reinvent the wheel during major championships. The upkeep on his body was more than it was expected because the course was wet underfoot and because it was windy.
Practice rounds and tournament rounds were a long, soggy walk. When you have conditions like that, it makes the legs feel heavier and puts more stress on lower back. Cam performed brilliantly, but when you introduce those external pressures, just being in contention was even more impressive. It was ridiculously cold on Saturday, so we had to adjust spending 5 or 10 minutes longer on the body in the morning compared to a warmer tournament day.
Cam can walk tall not just for playing well, but for bouncing back after a triple-bogey on the par-3 12th on Sunday. He played his last four holes in two-under-par to hold onto a top-three finish, which shows resilience which might just be his best asset.
As a trainer on the PGA Tour, you might be wondering what I thought of Tiger Woods’ performance at Augusta National. The guy is just phenomenal. He is so mentally strong.
For Tiger to be only four shots off the lead after round one, and to make the cut after the road that he’s been down over the last two years, it’s out of this world. For a 46-year-old like Tiger, it takes longer for the body to warm up especially carrying the injuries he’s sustained. As the tournament days wore on, and with Saturday being so grueling and cold, sometimes the body just doesn’t warm up at all. I think in the future, it’s just going to be one of those situations where Tiger will have to learn how to play with what he’s got, and I think he’s done the best job of that up to this point. But when you’re looking at him walk down the fairway, he has a limp to deal with, new pressures on the body and a different gait cycle (which is the sequence and timing between each foot making contact with the ground and returning to the ground). With the experience I’ve had with him and seen over the past couple of years, I’d daresay the amount of time it takes to work on Tiger’s body would have doubled.
Looking ahead to Hilton Head
Another week, a new tournament and new carrot dangles for my athletes playing at the RBC Heritage tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Cam and Luke are backing up from the Masters and will likely take a different attitude into this week because it’s an island tournament where it’s far easier to stay relaxed than a major championship. In addition, my guys, Dylan Frittelli and Hank Lebioda are adding their hats to the ring in attempt to earn valuable FedEx Cup points as we draw closer to the end of the season.
Dylan and Hanks' approach and preparation to this week is very different than Cam and Luke’s. They are rested, had a chance to train hard in the gym and fix any technical issues in perfecting their ideal swing.
Cam and Luke will transition from Augusta National to Harbour Town Golf Links, and from a major to a regular tour event, we’ll focus on doing some light cardio and active recovery to try and get the blood flowing without taxing the energy levels. We’ll do our best to reduce fatigue and get the legs feeling a little lighter than the Masters. We’ll get back into some solid movement patterns, muscle activations, we’ll go through some core work for the stomach, core work for the shoulders and for the hips. But on the training side of things, we don’t want the body to be under any new stress. We don’t necessarily want to add any new activities either. We want to keep things nice and streamlined. Hilton Head is a great event, and I hope you’ll all enjoy watching.
Cheers, Nic Catterall
About Nic Catterall/Peak Power Golf
Nic Catterall is an Australian high-performance coach, specializing in strength and conditioning, musculoskeletal therapy and sports science, for professional golfers on the PGA Tour in the U.S.A. Nic works with Cam Smith, Luke List, Matt Jones, Dylan Frittelli and Hank Lebioda. Nic created the Peak Power Golf company to educate about the athleticism of golfers and what they are capable of. Peak Power Golf provides online training, athlete mentoring and athlete assessments.