Does a cool head beat a hot hand? Evidence from professional golf


This study draws upon psychological models of momentum to test for the existence of characteristics such as the hot hand and whether such characteristics predict better or worse overall performance. Using data from professional golf tournaments, we show that the negative emotions associated with poor performance (such as a loss of confidence) have a greater influence in the short run on scoring than positive emotions associated with prior success. We find that male and female golfers respond similarly to prior hole performance, while better players may be more prone to dips in performance after recent failures than other players. Overall, our results provide empirical support for the notion that performance training should incorporate psychological skills, including strategies for controlling emotional responses to success and failure in the short run.

Economic Modelling, 97, 272-284