NAPLES, Florida. This sun-splashed city on the west coast of Florida is home to more retired Fortune 500 CEOs than any zip code in America, and with that distinction comes the ability to fund research into the causes of and cures for medical problems that are neglected in other areas of the country.
“There’s a lot of money spent on minor stuff like cancer and heart disease,” says Dr. Emil Zucker of the Manatee County Medical Center. “That leaves the field wide open for us on yips.”
“Yips” is the technical term for a sudden and apparently baseless loss of ability to perform an essential sports maneuver, particularly putting in golf. “Yips has been traced back to the Roman Empire,” says sports psychologist Andrew Crowley. “Many Saints became nervous before they played the Lions in the Coliseum, but most of them were mauled and eaten just fine.”
The cause of yips has been identified as a subconscious concern for trivial matters such as wives, jobs and mortgage payments, which intrude upon the putting process. “Through intensive doses of radiation we are able to bury these concerns much deeper in the mind of an amateur golfer,” says Dr. Zucker. “Way down below air conditioner warranties, scheduled automotive maintenance and children’s birthdays.”
The treatment is still in the experimental stage and as a result has not been administered to junior golfers, who suffer more intensely because golf etiquette is more frequently breached among children. “Some kid will be lining up a putt and another boy in his foursome will say ‘Hey–there’s Justin Bieber!’” notes Arnie Cukler, teaching pro at the Happy Dolphin Mini-Golf course here. “Part of growing up as a golfer is dropping such juvenile crap and getting the same effect with a simple cough.”