Två golfare med färgglada kläder står vid bollmaskinen vid ranchen, den ena dricker öl och den andra har en hink med golfbollar.

How the yips affects your golf career - Tips and tricks to overcome this dreaded disease

Yipsen - a condition that can cause the most stable golfer to leave the course. Throughout history, the yipsen has chosen its victims for no apparent reason, and both the world's best golfers and amateurs can be affected. That's what makes the yips so terrible.
A white golf ball with 'Pins & Aces Golf Co.' logo next to a copper-colored golf ball marker in the shape of an outstretched thumb, all set on an artificial green lawn.

It may come as a surprise, but the yips is actually a medical condition. Here's what the Mayo Clinic says:

"The yips are involuntary muscle spasms that most often occur when golfers try to putt. But the yips can also affect people who play other sports - such as cricket, darts and baseball."

For a long time it was thought that the yips was caused by stress, which seems reasonable. What could be more stressful than standing over a three-foot putt to win a major? But many suffer from the yips during normal rounds, even when playing by themselves. Hank Haney was one of those people who, despite building a stellar reputation as a great golf instructor, suffered the yips in silence.

Nowadays, the yips is thought to be caused by something called focal dystonia, which in layman's terms is just a brain-related disorder that causes muscle contractions. It may not be very helpful, but many golfers find that a change in grip or switching hands can help with the condition.

Now that we understand what the yips are, let's get into the story. We have Tommy Armour, who is probably better known for his club streak than his three major wins, to thank for the term that has scared golfers for decades.

Tommy Armour, or The Silver Scot as he was known, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on September 24, 1895. His career received an early boost in 1920 when he won the French Amateur Championship. After that victory, he traveled to America where he continued to compete while working at the Westchester-Biltmore Club.

There is no documentation to show that Armor had a problem with the yips during these early days of his career, which is important because it gave him the confidence to perform on a big stage. His first documented trouble came in 1927 at the Shawnee Open where he shot a rather spectacular 23 on the Par 5 hole 17. The short putts he had previously hit without thinking twice were now the most challenging part of Armour's game.

Armor would never fully recover from the yips, but amazingly he would win the US Open in 1927, the PGA Championship in 1930 and the British Open in 1931. This tells us there is hope - if Tommy Armor can win majors while battling the yips, surely a another knock down that two meter putt.
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