the interior life of the professional golfer during
competition became a subject of discussion last
week because of charlie beljan. the 28-year-old
rookie’s victory at the children’s miracle network
classic—after a panic attack in the midst of a sec-ond-round 64—became a mainstream media hit.
beljan was a guest on abc world news with diane
sawyer, cnn world news and inside edition, as
well as the subject of a story on the front page of
the nov. 13 issue of the new York times that explored the role of anxiety in professional golf. the
article quoted sources maintaining that feelings
akin to panic are not uncommon for players during
competition. although some characterized beljan’s
ability to overcome feelings that caused him to lay
on the ground as heroic, others argued that such
a struggle is simply a crucial part of the sport. the
question going forward is whether the leaders of
the competitive game will decide if a full-blown
panic attack is different in degree from succumbing to competitive pressure, or different in kind.
if the latter, anti-anxiety drugs like beta-blockers
could find new footing in the game. if the former,
the battle of nerves will remain one that must be
fought without medical assistance.—J.D.
sam greenwood/gett Y images
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