New York, NY—September 27, 2012
Ryder Cup pressure is described as among the most intense not only golf but in all of sports. Golfers, used to competing as individuals, now have responsibility for team, country and continent. Flubs and shanks are not uncommon and the dreaded "choke" word often comes into play. NBC golf analyst and Ryder Cup veteran Johnny Miller says, "There's nothing more nervous than being at the Ryder Cup."
The Chicago Tribune has said, "The unrelenting pressure comes from placing elite golfers, who are used to thinking only about themselves, into a team situation. Being on a team means responsibility, holding up your end. It involves fear of failure and guilt."
And Rory McIlroy, the world's number one player and a member of Team Europe, recently said, "I think the thing about the Ryder Cup is that it brings a completely different pressure than you face week in, week out, because if you play badly, it's all you. You're not letting down your teammates or your captains or your country."
While most people think of pressure as being "in your head," it's the physical manifestation that causes an athlete to not play their best – or to choke.
Joshua Dines, M.D., a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City, has experience working with athletes in these situations. He has served as team doctor for the U.S. Davis Cup tennis team, another international sporting event where players are not only representing themselves, but their country.
Dines noted, "In these situations, the competitive atmosphere is clearly very stressful psychologically which can cause very real physical manifestations. Mild symptoms may include an upset stomach or headache. But, more serious effects have been observed ranging from tenseness, muscle stiffness or shoulder/back aches to rapid breathing and overt panic attacks. Clearly these can have effects on one's ability to swing a golf club, so to a certain extent, the team that manages the stress best is in a good position to win."
HSS is the official hospital of Ryder Cup and PGA of America.
About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic on musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.