It takes a big person to be fully open about how you truly feel when things aren't going well and Welsh golfer Becky Brewerton is that type of character. On paper Brewerton has won twice on the Ladies European Tour and played on two Solheim Cup teams but then her game, and mind, went south.
In 2012, following a bike accident, Brewerton's career turned full circle and it is only until the past couple of years that she has turned things around.
“It was almost like it just triggered some sort of response. It was quite painful, but it didn't feel like a physical thing. It just knocked my confidence enough to kind of put me in a different headspace. I remember saying to someone at the time, if you watch the Austin Powers films and someone says he's taken away his mojo, it was like someone had removed this thing from my body that I needed to be able to cope or to be able to push all that stuff down and be able to perform. It was just gone basically.”
In a blog post last year Brewerton reveals that at one tournament in 2016 she was asked not to play in the second round after an opening 88.
“When we arrived at that course, it was a new venue that we hadn't played before. It was the most horrible feeling because as soon as we arrived at the venue, I picked up my yardage book, and I sort of looked at a few of the holes from the clubhouse, and it was like that dread of, ‘Oh no.’ This is exactly the sort of course that's going to trigger the yips.
“If I went back there now, I'd probably look at it and think, I don't even know what I was worried about. But the way I was looking at it at the time, it was like every hole was an opportunity to lose a ball or hit it in the trees. I just kept thinking, sometimes it started off, how am I going to break 80 around here? How am I going to break 90? Or am I going to break 100? It would keep going up and up and up.”
When you're playing for a living, where a missed cut would lead to no money and a load of expense, the pressure is off the charts.
“I was struggling to even walk to the 1st tee without feeling like my heart was going to explode out of my chest, terrified of even attempting to try and get that little white ball to go somewhere near where I wanted it to go. I kept arriving at events petrified of being there, knowing that as soon as Thursday came, I’d be fighting panic attacks. Knowing that I’d be hitting a provisional after every first tee shot. Knowing that I had the yips off the tee and there was nothing I could do to stop it."
Slowly though Brewerton began to piece herself back together. Friend and physical therapist Steve Bond offered her a spare room in his house and the golfer began to work on her flexibility and speed.
In time Brewerton decided to enter some events and at the Rose Ladies Series in 2021 at Brokenhurst Manor she faced a huge putt.
“I was on the 1st tee and had this big wave of adrenaline, but it was one of the few times where I'd had that kind of surge and felt the tightness in my chest, but still managed to hit an OK shot. On the last green I had this putt which I probably knew was to either win or possibly be in a play-off, and I holed it. It was all a bit surreal. It was slightly like an out-of-body experience. I didn't quite feel like I was within myself."
In the play-off all those unwelcome emotions stayed away and she would have a victory that was long time coming.
“I was completely calm. It was almost like it was just a release of all the pressure that had kind of been weighing me down for so long. In the playoff, I just was able to be free and hit the shots as I wanted. Thank goodness that the fear had kind of left me.”
Now Brewerton has culminated in a documentary with Golf Digest which is well worth your time.