The U.S. Open and the Vagaries of Spatial Perception

The Huffington Post:

When the world’s finest golfers descend on Maryland’s Congressional Country Club for the 111th U.S. Open, there will be no hands-down favorite for the crowds to follow. Bubba Watson will bring his monstrous drives, K. J. Choi his intense focus and Luke Donald his consistency. Veterans Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson will have experience on their side, and Graeme McDowell his status as defending champion.

That’s the great thing about golf. Golfers may have different strengths, but at the end of the day, each of them faces an identical challenge: putting a sphere measuring 42.67 millimeters in diameter into a hole measuring 108 millimeters in diameter.

Or do they? Those measurements may be the PGA’s official standards, but new evidence suggests that athletes do not necessarily “see” the same ball and hole. Depending on how they are feeling — physically, mentally and emotionally — even elite golfers may perceive the day’s round of golf quite differently, right down to the dimensions of the ball and hole.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

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