Making the Cut: Psychological Momentum on the PGA Tour
Savage, Kyle John
Iso-Ahola, Seppo E
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ABSTRACT Title of Document: MAKING THE CUT: PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENTUM ON THE PGA TOUR Kyle Savage, PhD, 2012 Directed By: Professor Seppo E. Iso-Ahola, Kinesiology Psychological Momentum on the PGA Tour was investigated. Psychological Momentum is theorized to be a force that arises from early success in an athletic competition that provides an advantage to the participant. It is defined as "an added or gained psychological power that changes a person's view of himself or others." The present research sought to determine whether early success in golf translated into Psychological Momentum and led to further success upon the golf course. This research proposed that differences among golfers at the elite level cannot be explained by customary statistical variables and is theorized to be psychological in nature. The research was conducted on two levels, in two studies. The first study addressed the presence of Psychological Momentum from week to week, between tournaments, over the course of the PGA Tour season. Cuts made, Top 10, Top 20, and Top 30 finishes were examined to determine if non-random patterns existed. The data supported the construct of Psychological Momentum indicating non-random patterns of successive outcomes for "cuts made," "Top 10 finishes," "Top 20 finishes," and "Top 30 finishes. Discussion focuses on post-hoc analyses of the data grouped into quintiles in order to discern where the differences may exist. The second study addressed Psychological Momentum within tournaments. Each tournament throughout the season was examined to determine how first round performance affected making the cut. Tournaments also were analyzed from round to round to determine how each round affected subsequent rounds, and within each round to determine how nine-hole totals affected subsequent nine-hole totals. Both gross scores and adjusted scores were analyzed. The data revealed mixed results regarding the presence of Psychological Momentum within tournaments. There was strong support for the theory evidenced by first round influence (early success) upon subsequent rounds, as well as its influence upon making the cut. The data were mixed when comparing nine-hole totals within rounds and between rounds. Discussion focuses on the evidence supporting the theory and possible explanations for the data that do not.