The Impact of Age on the Ability to Perform under Pressure: Golfers on the PGA Tour

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Abstract
This paper is about aging and the ability to perform under pressure on the PGA tour. Performance increases with golfing skill, but may first increase and then decrease with age as experience interacts with changes in physical condition. Similarly, mental fortitude or the ability of a golfer to perform under pressure may first increase and then decrease with age as experience interacts with changes in the ability to concentrate. Net performance on the tour is the result of both physical golfing skill and the ability to perform under pressure. We control for changes in physical skill and focus on the mental side of the game. The role of experience suggests an inverted U shaped relationship between age and mental performance that could vary significantly across golfers. We use Order-m FDH to calculate a measure of performance under pressure, and we confirm an inverted U-shaped curve with age. Along the way, we examine the ability to perform under pressure at the level of the individual golfer.
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WP 2009-20 June 2009
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2009-06-01
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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
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age; efficiency; order-m FDH; golf; performance under pressure
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