Belgian golf psychologist to Ernie Els dies at 62
Ernie Els had another sad day upon learning that his former
psychologist, Jos Vanstiphout, died of a heart attack.
A friend of the psychologist said Vanstiphout died on Friday of
a heart attack, the European Tour said. The friend, Xavier
Champagne, said Vanstiphout broke his hip two years ago in a fall
from a ladder, and in recent months had been dealing with shortness
Vanstiphout was 62.
Born in Belgium, he became interested in golf psychology after
reading Tim Gallwey’s book, ”The Inner Game of Golf.”
He worked with Retief Goosen when the South African won his
first U.S. Open in 2001 at Southern Hills, where Goosen
three-putted for bogey from 12 feet on the last hole to allow for a
playoff, and then beat Mark Brooks the next day.
He more famously worked with Els, who won his first British Open
in 2002 after the first sudden-death playoff in Open history.
Els, speaking at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, received
the news two days after the death of Nelson Mandela. He said
Vanstiphout meant much to his career.
”We really connected and there was a genuine love for each
other there,” Els said. ”It was a love-hate at times, as everyone
will know, but the stuff he taught me and the way that he did it
was totally different. His approach was unique, and I know he got
under a lot of people’s skin. But for me, he was just
Els said he respected the no-nonsense approach of Vanstiphout,
using tough talk even in the best of times. Els recalled his round
of 60 at Royal Melbourne.
”I walk onto the range the next day and he is all over me
again,” Els said. ”I said, `What?’ And he looked at me and he
said, `You know and I know that you should have shot 58.’ That was
the way he was, and he knew me very well, and was one of the only
people who could say that to me.”