It can seep into your subconscious.
A poor iron shot here, 18 holes with a driver that won’t behave, a run of missed putts that leave you questioning your confidence with the flatstick.
Negative thoughts cloud the judgement of almost every amateur golfer on the planet and even the very best professionals.
As he sets out on a mission to ascend back to the very top of world golf and add to his 2015 US PGA Championship, Jason Day has enlisted the help of caddy Steve Williams yet knows it first has to come from within.
Backing up from his tie for 21st at last week’s US Open at Pebble Beach, Day headlines a list of seven Aussies at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands; 2012 champion Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Aaron Baddeley, Curtis Luck, Cameron Davis and Rod Pampling all teeing it up along with Kiwi Danny Lee.
Currently ranked No.18 in the world, Day has not posted a top-20 finish since he was tied for fifth at The Masters in April and has recognised that positive results will be the byproduct of a more positive mindset.
“Not just golfers but everyone in life needs to improve their positive self-talk because you don't realise how much a negative thought or even a saying can actually hurt you deep down,” Day said prior to the first round at Pebble Beach.
“You may not feel it or anything, but sooner or later, over time, if you look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you're ugly, sooner or later you're going to look in the mirror and say, ‘I'm ugly’.
“You have to keep reinforcing positive things. And that's what I need to do most, just slowly keep reinforcing that.
“Hopefully over time that self-reinforcement of positivity will sooner or later go into my golf game and give me confidence.
“I'm definitely guilty of that. I'm on the golf course sometimes and I'm thinking negative things. That's human nature.”
A five-time winner on the PGA TOUR in 2015, Day has now gone more than 12 months without a win.
He was tied for 12th at TPC River Highlands 12 months ago with four sub-70 rounds and knows that reconnecting with that winning mentality is another important step if he is to reclaim a place among the top 10 golfers on the planet.
“It’s just getting back to pushing through, grinding and grinding it out, pushing through and not stopping,” Day explained.
“That's really one mental hurdle that you've got to overcome. When you're trying to win a tournament, you've got to keep pushing and see how far you can extend that barrier.
“And you know for the next time that you can push it even further after that.”
Following his major championship debut at Pebble Beach Brett Drewitt returns to the Web.com Tour this week where he joins Rhein Gibson, Brett Coletta, Jamie Arnold and Kiwis Steven Alker, Tim Wilkinson and Nick Voke at the Wichita Open, a tournament that boasts two former Aussie winners in Bradley Hughes (2004) and Mathew Goggin (2011).
Headlines at a glance
Doherty claims breakthrough win
Brad Doherty has fired a round of 5-under 66 to claim a one-shot victory in the Howeston Pro-Am and his third win on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series....
Brave Smith and Day fly Aussie flag
A pair of gritty opening day performances from Queenslanders Cam Smith and Jason Day have kept Australian hopes of winning The Open alive.
PGA TOUR China
Williamson earns first start in China
Sydney’s Dale Williamson has taken a significant step in progressing his game on the world stage after qualifying to play in his first PGA TOUR ...