It had been a rough week for me from a ball-striking perspective through my Thursday match, but I was determined to stay positive and keep approaching my practice with a good attitude. Despite some slight frustrations with how I was hitting the ball, I was able to have great short game and putting practice all week, and that allowed me to feel like I was still progressing even though I was in a bit of rut with my longer shots. I didn't see instant results from a morning practice session with Bobbo on Friday, but some rainy practice on Saturday saw slight improvements, and then I really hit the ball well in my Sunday match at Holston Hills, where I shot a solid score of 71 in some tough conditions to claim a good victory. I showed a lot of promise on Sunday and know that my game is really coming into form.
In addition to that, I was able to complete all of my process goals for the third consecutive week. I know that I talk about my process goals a lot, but I can't stress enough how valuable they are to my practice. I really feel pressure and get a tournament-like heart-rate going when I'm nearing the completion of one of my practice drills, so I have to rely on the strength of my routine to keep me calm and allow me to achieve my goals. I cannot tell you how much better I feel about my short game and putting after the work that I have done on those parts of my game in the last four weeks. I feel like the goals that I have set this year are the perfect combination of realistic and challenging to really motivate me and help me get better.
The world of sports reminded me of a couple lessons this weekend as well. My Missouri Basketball Tigers gave up an easy bucket to Kansas to fall behind 63-71 with 2:05 left in the game on Saturday evening. The prospects of victory were slim, but the Tigers rallied and through fierce defensive effort (and some hot shooting from guard Marcus Denmon), ended the game on an 11-0 run to claim a huge victory over their biggest rival. This just goes to show that you can never quit. My Tigers came back from a daunting deficit to win a big game because of great effort down the stretch. The New York Giants reminded me of that same lesson, but they applied it to a full season rather than a single game. After losing five of six games midway through the season, the Giants stood at 7-7 and faced must-win situations in each of their remaining games. Clearly we all saw how that story ended. The Giants kept believing in themselves and won their final six games of the season to be crowned the Super Bowl Champions. Even through adversity, you have got to keep trying and keep believing. These lessons can be translated to golf rounds, golf tournaments, golf seasons, and entire careers. Way to go Tigers and Giants! I will carry your spirit of self-belief and stick-to-it-tiveness with me as well.
I am extremely excited right now. I have been working hard on all areas of my game and am seeing great progress on the course. I am also continuing to improve my strength, endurance, and flexibility, so I feel great physically. I have one more full week at home to continue preparation before I hit the road for my first tournament of the year next week. You better believe I am ready to go. I'll be even more ready at the end of this week, though! Keep it here for practice reports and match summaries from this final week of "pre-season"!