If you’ve been watching much of The Masters coverage so far – and, if not, why not? – you may have seen Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson chewing gum between shots.
Such behaviour is a little out of the ordinary for both players but, as it turns out, there could be a very good, very scientific reason why.
Last month, Mickelson spoke to the New York Times and revealed that he had taking to chewing gum on the course to help get his brain in gear – quite literally.
“The chewing aspect stimulates the frontal cortex,” said the five-time major winner.
The frontal cortex, for those who don’t know, is the section at the front is the cerebral cortex, which covers the front part of the frontal lobe. Its basic function is reckoned to be the orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals. In other words, it helps with decision-making and other complex cerebral behaviour.
So, the principle appears to be that, by chewing, you are activating the part of your brain that helps you make informed, non-emotional decisions.
Scientific pscyho-babble? Some might say so but consider this: Mickelson started chewing gum on the course at the Desert Classic in January, where he finished second. Still chomping away, he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two starts later.
Has his new BFF Tiger cottoned on? It looks like it. If either of them goes on to win the Green Jacket this weekend, just watch Wrigley’s stock soar!