by Al Pastor
Compiling a list of the usual suspects a reader would figure on encountering in a book on baseball between the ears, the last person I expected to bump into was Joanne Carner. But there she was, in the third edition of Dorfman and Kuehne’s The Mental Game of Baseball. Heck, she may have very well been an excellent baseball player. The record will reflect that she won everything the U.S.G.A. has to offer, including the big one.
One slightly indelicate story. When I watch a home run hitter on our softball team catch one on the screws, I can’t help but think of something Big Mama once said to the late Dick Taylor of Golf World. Dick told me that he was watching as Joanne absolutely nailed a drive. She turned to him and said simply, “both cheeks.” Of course that’s where the power comes from, as Harvey liked to say, from the “big” muscles. Roger Clemens may be just about the biggest human from the waist down you’re likely to see.
Once dubbed “The Great Gundy,” the former Miss Gunderson, reappears as a teaching point in a chapter on preparation.
Joanne Carner became the first woman golfer to reach $2 million in career earnings. She claims that striving for perfection is the only way to be the best.
“You have to want to win,” said Carner, who has won the Vare Trophy for the lowest stroke average five times. “And if you want to win, you stay in there and practice totally different. What I try to do is chip every ball in the hole. You’re not going to do it every time, but that’s the attitude you have to have.
“I won’t let myself out of the bunker until I hole one out,” she said of her practice routine. “I do that with everything I do, and a lot of times I have to stand out there longer than I want. But I may stay sharp and consistent.”
John Jermaine, an exceptional amateur and multiple club champion at Royal Porthcawl, who guided the Ryder Cup effort for Wales, told me very much the same story about a young, determined South African long ago. Gary Player wouldn’t leave, finally pulling up his car to illuminate the bunker so he could continue until he sunk the requisite number.