Sunday, December 22, 2013

Definitely Rusty, But a Productive Week

My golf game definitely feels a little bit like it is the middle of winter right now. I am fairly inconsistent and certainly not very sharp in any aspect of my game. With that said, I had a great week of practice this past week and can tell that a lot of good stuff is happening. My drills were very difficult for me in the early part of the week, but I was able to practice every day and felt much more proficient by the weekend. Because the weather was so nice, I actually ended up with a fairly daunting list of things that I had to accomplish based on the practice goals I set for myself last weekend. I am proud to say that with perhaps a bit of liberty on my short game practice time, I did accomplish all of my goals. I was also able to have quite a few matches with my friends, and I have to say that I was too inconsistent to ever have a great result on the course, but my game felt much better and the results improved as the week progressed. All-in-all it was definitely a very productive week, and I know that I am moving in the right direction as the 2014 season nears.

I am very excited about the new clubs that I got after my work with Titleist in California. Like I said before, there are no drastic changes in my golf bag, but I do have some new options that I think are going to work quite nicely in long iron/hybrid category, and I am also very pleased with the performance of my new driver.

Perhaps the most exciting thing of all about this past week is my new workout routine. More or less for the last four years, I have just been "winging it" with my workouts, and though I feel like I am in very good shape, I feel like my new workout program from the Titleist Performance Institute is going to help me strengthen some of the deficient parts of my body that cause my golf swing to be somewhat inefficient. I am doing a lot of bridges to try and get my glutes firing and also doing specific mobility exercises that target my hips. The new workouts actually have a lot of variety and are much different then any workouts I have ever done before, so I am excited for the possibility of new benefits.

Everything on the golf front is looking up! Now it is time to keep working hard at it but also to start really soaking up time with my wife and family for Christmas. I love this time of year, and always have. It is special to my family and me, and I am so excited to share it with Alicia for the first time as my wife! So please come back for news about my golf game, but more importantly for now, enjoy a Merry Christmas with your family!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Two Big Weeks

I've been able to have a couple of quick practice sessions since returning home from my visit with Team Titleist in California, but it is time to really get to work. Just more than two weeks from now, I will head out to begin the PGA Tour's 2014 season with the West Coast Swing, and I will be ready to go when I leave. I have some work goals for the next two weeks, and I am excited to get after them. Here they are:

I. Putting
1.) Use alignment sticks and some form of "gateway" to check putting stroke and alignment twice per week
2.) For each day that the temperature reaches 40 degrees or higher, I must complete one of my putting drills (3-footers/6-footers/lag-drill)
II. Short Game
1.) Complete 30 minutes of short game/wedge practice for each day above 40 degrees and 1 hour of short game work for each day above 60 degrees
2.) Chip-in at least once for each day that is above 40 degrees
3.) Hole one bunker shot each week
III. Ball-striking
Hit the nine ball flights with 3 different clubs at least twice each week
IV. Fitness
1.) Complete every single bit of my workouts from the TPI (which I haven't received yet)
2.) Perform at least 10 minutes of mobility exercises five days per week

For the next two weeks, I will get these goals done. In addition to all of this, I'm going to have some competitive matches with my buddies and soak up some great time with loved ones over the Holidays, but I am pumped to get back to structured work. I will also be thinking a lot about the things that I want to accomplish in 2014 and will be writing down a new set of goals for next year. My goals will not look the exact same as the 2013 version, but one thing is for sure: I will have "Outcome" goals and "Map" goals to help me reach them. I enjoy goal setting and I believe in its value. Time to get to work!

Thank you for keeping up with me and caring about me. Come back for practice reports and updates as I move forward.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Great Information; Great Equipment; Time to Go to Work

My trip to Titleist’s test centers in Southern California was a big success. Visits to the Scotty Cameron Putter studio, the golf club test site, and the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) lab were all very beneficial for me. I am currently traveling back home and am excited to get to work armed with a lot of new information and a couple new toys as well.

On Tuesday afternoon, I spent four hours with Scotty Cameron’s right-hand man--his only putter fitter. During that four-hour time, we essentially confirmed everything that I have done over the years to work on my putting. My stroke is not flawless, but it is extremely consistent, and my putter was square to the target through the impact zone on each and every putt that we filmed. We also determined that my current putter is very well suited to me. It is highly unlikely that I will change putters anytime soon, but we ordered a new putter that is very similar to mine with a slightly different head and sight-line set-up just so I can have another option if I ever want a fresh look. I left the putter studio feeling great about the way I roll the ball and convicted to keep doing what I do.

Wednesday morning I met with three of Titleist’s best club fitters. I’m not too into tinkering with equipment, but I’m always open to things that can make golf easier for me. One area of my bag on which I really wanted to work was my long iron and hybrid configuration. My hybrid (19 degrees) is my favorite long club, and I’ve always felt that I struggle just a bit with my long irons. We did some great work in that area. I tested the new AP1 irons in a four and five iron, and they were great, and then I also added new options in the hybrid department. I tested 18, 20, and 23 degree hybrids in the 913H-d line, and I hit them all very well. I will do some practicing with all of them over the winter, and when it is time to compete, I will decide what combination of longer clubs I want in my bag. I will probably either carry the 20 degree hybrid and the AP1 4 iron or I will use the 18 and 23 degree hybrids and leave the four iron out of the bag. I’ve never liked the idea changing things week-to-week, but this set up will give me the opportunity to tailor my long iron needs based on the golf course. I’m very excited about the new options. We also ordered a new 3-wood, but I’m really not sure what it is. I hit it well, though, and I’m going to love it! I hit a new driver, too. It is very similar to the one I played all year but has a slightly softer shaft and a degree more loft. It felt great, and the guys said my numbers looked a little better with the new one, so I’m excited to give it a try on the course. We didn’t change anything about my wedges or short irons, and I’m great with that. Overall during the fitting, we didn’t make any drastic changes. I have some new toys to work with over the winter, and I really do think that they will make a big difference for the better, but the transition to the new clubs should be seamless.

The TPI lab is where we really started to uncover new information. I could go into great detail explaining all of the stuff we did on Wednesday that I don’t really understand, but instead I’ll just share what I do understand. I don’t create very much power in my golf swing because my lower body isn’t working properly. Rather than going straight to the driving range and trying to teach my lower body how to work properly, the TPI went to the gym to try and figure out why my lower body doesn’t work properly. There are two major things that are disconnecting my lower body from my upper body in my golf swing. First of all, I have very limited internal rotation in my right hip, and this makes it very hard for me to load my weight into my right side in my backswing. Secondly, I have developed poor posture and do most of my activities, including exercises and my golf swing, with my lower back significantly arched. This posture severely limits hip mobility. I am going to follow a new workout plan designed by the TPI to help improve my hip rotation, and I am also going to focus on changing my posture in daily life to have a “neutral spine” rather than an arched back. This plan will help me become more efficient on the course without having to make large or conscious changes to my golf swing. My time with the TPI was extremely cool for me. It is interesting to see the golf swing approached through the lens which they view it. I will get the workouts that they create for me sometime on Friday, and I truly believe that doing them will improve my golf swing.

The folks at Titleist are definitely in my corner. They worked hard for me this week, and I’m excited for the new products and new information I got from them. However, the coolest message I got from them was consistent across the board. I’m going to paraphrase their message like this: we are here for you and will do everything we can to help you, but remember, what you’ve been doing for the past four years works, so don’t change too much. That’s powerful advice and is something I truly believe. I will always look to things that can help me improve, but the core of my strategy will never be new equipment or swing changes; it will be hard work and commitment to a great plan.

So now I have some new information and equipment that can both be helpful, and it’s time to make the plan. I’m going to leave it at this for now, but I already have most of my ideas in place for my plan the rest of this “off-season.” I’m going to publish my pre-first­-tournament-of-2014 goals in the next couple of days, but I’ll already be getting after them even before that.

Thank you very much for following me and caring about me. Keep it here for goals and updates as I get to work!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rested, Ready, and Thinking towards 2014

I feel refreshed, motivated, and excited. Following the final round of the PGA Tour event in Mexico, I committed to myself and my wife that I would go a full two weeks without touching my golf clubs. I did it, and it definitely served its purpose. I was able to spend some quality time being a husband, rest my body a little bit, and rekindle a fire for golf that had really never burned out. I am now back to work, and though some nasty weather is trying to make things difficult for me, I am ready to have a very productive month as I prepare to kick off the 2014 portion of the PGA Tour season.

First of all, however, let me catch you up just a bit on the events of the past 3+ weeks since my disappearance from all forms of social media. I spent the first week after my final event of 2013 working on our new house. Alicia has done a wonderful job turning the house we bought into a home, but I need to put my “manly” touches on it, of course! More like my obsessive-compulsive, ultra-organized touches, but “manly” sounds better. So I did that for a few days and then we were lucky enough to get to celebrate our wedding for a second time as great friends and family joined us in Knoxville, TN, for a second wedding reception. It was a beautiful occasion and gave us a chance to share our marriage with a lot of special people who were not able to attend our ceremony in Kansas City. What’s even better is the fact that the timing of our second reception segued perfectly with Alicia’s Thanksgiving Break from work and allowed us to have a honeymoon. We traveled back to Mexico and spent five days on the beach in Cancun. It was a beautiful spot, and we really enjoyed ourselves. The honeymoon didn’t end perfectly because Alicia picked up a very nasty case of food poisoning the night before we left, but, in her words, the ensuing days forced me to “prove my vows,” and we came through them feeling closer than ever. All in all, the break from golf really was very nice for me, and I’m so thankful for the time that I was able to spend with my beautiful wife. She is a stud for supporting my crazy travel schedule all these years, and I’m really looking forward to being able to take her with me on the road a little bit more often moving forward.


We arrived back in the States on Saturday, November 30, and on Monday, December 2, I awoke anxious to get to the golf course. I started my “comeback” to golf with a fairly relaxed but thorough week of practice. I worked with Bobbo a couple different times and played two matches with my buddies. I got bested in both of my matches, so I know that I have work to do, but I was actually fairly pleased with the way my game felt. I did some good short game and putting work, too, though I haven’t written down any specific goals yet for this one-month offseason. Having a plan for my practice has been one of the things that has fueled my consistent improvement, so I know that I need to publish some goals to direct my practice and hold me accountable. I will do that soon. One thing I have decided for certain is that I’m going to be even stronger, more fit, and more flexible when I hit the road (air) for Hawaii in early January. I had a great week of workouts last week and intend to keep that up throughout the winter and into the tournament schedule next year.

Right now, I am actually on my way to Carlsbad, California, to spend a couple days at Titleist’s manufacturing studios. I’m not a big equipment tinkerer, but I’ll be spending Tuesday and Wednesday with some brilliant people who have a lot of resources to help make sure the best players in the world (a category in which I will soon belong) are using the equipment that is best tailored to their games. Though I certainly don’t ever want to over-think my equipment, I know that these folks will give me some useful information and make sure that my clubs are the best fit for me. I’m very excited to learn from all of the people at the club-fitting studios, but the opportunity that most excites me is the full afternoon that I will be spending with the creators of the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). The TPI has studied the golf swing from a biomechanical viewpoint and can create workout programs specific to each golfer’s swing that can help him be more efficient. I honestly don’t even fully understand what all the TPI can do for me, but I am very excited to learn from their years of research and expertise. I will keep you posted on everything that I learn.

My visit to the Titleist facilities this week is actually the main reason for my delay in writing specific goals for this short offseason. I want to learn from them and see if any information I gather guides my practice in one direction or another. I am already hungry to improve, and I know that anything I learn during my visit this week will only fuel that fire. I imagine that by the time I land back home in Knoxville on Thursday night, I will likely have a list of goals for the remainder of the offseason ready to go.

Steady improvement has characterized my professional career to this point. If I can continue that trend, my potential is limitless. I know the formula, and I am excited to get after it!

Thank you for caring about me and keeping up with me. Keep it here for news from my exploration in California. I’m going to get back in the habit of keeping this blog updated now!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Birdies to End My 2013 Schedule on Another High Note

I entered the PGA Tour's OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, expecting to have to battle some loose ball-striking. I surprised myself and hit the ball fairly well in the opening two rounds, but my putter refused to heat up, and I posted identical rounds of 69 (-2, -4 total). Those certainly weren't great scores in the opening rounds, but I easily made the cut and stood in the middle of the field heading into the weekend. I continued to hit my irons fairly well over the final two rounds, but unfortunately, I started to hit my driver very erratically. I had suffered zero penalty shots over the first two rounds, but I hit one ball out of play during Saturday's third round and three balls out of play during my final round on Sunday. When I kept it on the golf course, however, I was finally brilliant with my wedges and putter on Sunday. Two penalty shots and a nasty three-putt had me at two over par through five holes in the final round. It would be a lie to say I was feeling good at that point, but I did keep a good attitude, and I went on a tear! I birdied 9 of the final 13 holes (including 6 of the final 7) in my last tournament round of 2013 to post a fourth-round 65 (-6). That final-round got me to 11 under par for the tournament and vaulted me from the bottom half of the field all the way up to a 15th-place finish. It was a great exclamation mark to a great year, and a fantastic testament to the value of a strong mental game. 

My finish this week was very valuable for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is obviously good to get the confidence that comes from playing great in a final round. this one was particularly big, however, because the PGA tour re-shuffles my category after this tournament. That means that I will move up the priority list and now have a much better chance to get in the tournaments early next year. I am obviously pretty good at staying present with my thoughts on the golf course, but the implications of my good play this weekend are huge with regards to my opportunities next spring.

So, what now? I have seven weeks before my next golf tournament. I'm not exactly sure what all I want to accomplish during that time, but I know what the next two weeks are going to look like. I'm going to commit to three things: being a husband; settling in to our new home; and re-establishing a routine to keep my body in peak condition. When December gets here, I will have a whole new list of off-season goals that I want to accomplish, but for the next two weeks, these three things are my priorities.

I couldn't be more excited right now. I have a lot more analyzing and summarizing to do from my 2013 season, but it obviously was a pretty darn good one! Keep it right here for news going forward into the off-season, and thank you so much for following me, supporting me, and enjoying this ride with me!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Feeling Good in Mexico

I didn't have the strongest finish to my second round on paper, but the three pars and one bogey that I made early Saturday morning are quite deceiving. I really hit the ball beautifully and rolled some great putts, too, but I couldn't seem to get a birdie, and the blemish on my card was the result of a very well-struck wedge that flew a remarkably long distance. The bottom line is this: I feel great about the progress of my game this week, and I have two more rounds here in Mexico to shoot a couple great scores.

I had quite a long break between completing my second round and the planned third-round start, so I enjoyed some of the spoils of Mexico. Enjoy the pics, and come back for a great report from the final two rounds Sunday evening! Thank you for keeping up with me!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Good Start in Mexico

After weather delays forced me to watch and wait without ever playing on Thursday, I played 32 holes on Friday at the PGA Tour's OHL Golf Classic at Mayakoba. Like I said in my tournament preview post, I haven't had my best stuff lately, but I have been feeling better and better each day this week. I actually played very solidly on Friday. I never tried to do anything too fancy, but I hit a lot of quality shots. Surprisingly, I was a little cold with the putter, but I still managed seven birdies and made only two bogeys in my 32 holes on Friday. I'm feeling great, and though I don't pretend to be firing on all cylinders, I know that if I can continue to improve steadily each day, I'll have a chance to be there late in the final round. For now, it's bedtime because a 6:45 am re-start awaits me in the morning. Come back for a report from Saturday's action. Thank you for following me! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Plan in Mexico

I'm in Mexico for the final event of the PGA Tour's Fall Series--the OHL Mayakoba Classic--and to be perfectly honest, I just don't have my best stuff. My ball-striking is a bit off, and I feel like even my good shots are leaving the club weakly and floating through the air rather than coming off the club crisply and penetrating the air as they fly toward the target. So what am I going to do? I'm going to do what I always do: stay positive, commit to an efficient and effective practice routine, play to my strengths on the course, and have a great tournament. I am good enough and smart enough to contend without my best stuff, and I'm going to prove it this week. I might even find that lovin' feeling sometime during the tournament and do something special. 

I had a great day of practice on Wednesday. I found a lot of positives during a decent range session and then had a nice hour working on my wedge play and short game. I have had productive time on the practice green each day that I've been here, and on Wednesday, I really wanted to complete my six-footer drill before leaving the course. That drill requires that I make 18 of 24 putts and is usual very challenging for me. I made my first 19 in a row on Wednesday. I definitely have a lot of reasons to be confident despite not feeling like I have my best stuff. 

I'm going to figure out a way to have a great tournament this week. Keep it here for news as the competition gets under way on Thursday. Thank you very much for following me!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Heading to Mexico

2013 has been one exciting year for Peter Malnati. Here is the bullet-point version of the highlight reel: 

-I rattled off a bunch of top-ten finishes (including two 2nd place finishes) during a busy stretch of mini-tour golf this spring and early summer. 

-I cheered incredibly hard for my then fiancé as she applied for and got a great job at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

-After Monday Qualifying for the Tour event in Wichita, Kansas, I finished in the top 25 in five of my first six events on that circuit.  

-Alicia and I found and bought a house in Knoxville. 

-I won the Tour event in Knoxville with a dramatic finish in front of my family and tons of hometown fans.

-I officially earned my PGA Tour Card for the 2013-2014 Season. 

-On November 1, I married the absolute love of my life. 

So I would say that it has been a pretty solid year for me. Remember that breakthrough that I had been promising for the last couple years? I certainly had that in a big way, but I'm not quite ready to call it a year yet. I am in the field for the final PGA Tour event of the Fall Series--the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. I am on my way to Mexico now, and I have the opportunity to put a big exclamation mark on the end of my 2013 season. 

It would be a lie to say that I have stayed perfectly in my practice routine over the last couple weeks, but I do feel like I am in a great place mentally to go play some good golf. I am going to form a plan for my week in Mexico during the travel today, and I will have a solid week of work to finish my year. Keep it here for an update on that plan and for news from Mexico. 

Thank you so much for enjoying this great journey with me and for your support and encouragement along the way!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy Times

I'm always happy, but I'm particularly over the clouds right now. I married the love of my life last Friday in the most beautiful ceremony and on the greatest day I could ever imagine. 

I do need to get back to work on my golf game, and I will update you on that very soon, but for now I wanted to share this incredible joy that I am feeling. Thank you for caring about me, and thank you for your great support.

Come back soon for news about my career!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hard Week; Ready to Get Back to Work

I find myself in a bit of an odd situation. I have worked so hard and followed my plan so wonderfully on the path to earning my PGA Tour Card. Now I have it, and I am as frustrated as ever. I will admit that I found a very unusually low place for me this week in Las Vegas. It is hard to feel like I have accomplished one of my overarching, long-term goals of making it to the PGA Tour, yet I have to sit and watch the PGA Tour events from the outside. I definitely struggled to find positives as I practiced onsite at the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas on Tuesday with the knowledge that I had very little chance of getting in the field by tournament time on Thursday. I just felt bummed out, which, I'm happy to say, is a rare emotion for me.

Perspective time: I'm incredibly healthy; I'm surrounded by an incredible team of people who love and support me unconditionally; I have a wonderful extended family of friends and fans who believe in me; and I do have a PGA Tour Card. Life is good, and I'm in a great position.

I traveled home on Wednesday evening, and I decided that I was going to give myself the week off from my usual practice grind. I am going to spend some time getting my new house slightly more organized (though my fiancé, Alicia, has already done a really nice job, I have not really moved in any of my stuff yet), soaking up time with parents, and getting ready for my WEDDING. :)

That's not to say that I won't be practicing at all. I am incredibly excited right now. I got a little bit of advice on the driving range on Tuesday regarding a flaw that I think might be causing some of the inconsistency I've been experiencing lately. It seems that I've been a little over-active with my lower body in my backswing, and I'm losing a little bit of the stability that I need in my lower half. The last several days I have been swinging with a golf ball under the outside of my right shoe to ensure that my weight is loading up on the inside of back foot. Since that change feels a bit awkward, I decided to go ahead and try to knock out two other slight changes that Bobbo has been suggesting for a little while: narrowing my stance and moving my ball position forward. All of these changes are fairly minor and none require any real mechanical thoughts, but they feel dramatically different, and I am confident that they are changes for the good. I plan to have a light weekend of practice that focuses largely on ball-striking before getting back into my Map Goal-oriented, complete-game practice next week.

I absolutely love what I do. This week when it got me down, that was truly a rare experience. I'm already very excited again and can't wait to go get better! It's looking like my next competition round will be another Monday Qualifier--November 4 for the McGladery Classic at Sea Island Golf Club. I'd obviously rather just be in the field, but I know how to Monday Qualify! Between now and then I have plenty of time to find that lovin feeling AND to get married!

I have so much about which to be excited, and I am! Thank you for following me and for caring. Keep it here for practice reports and all the fun news.

Monday, October 14, 2013

No Good, But Positive After Monday

I hit the ball beautifully in the Monday Qualifier for this week's PGA Tour event. I controlled my driver perfectly and was hitting it very solidly. My iron play wasn't super precise, but I struck it pretty well and was more than adequate with my accuracy. I just couldn't seem to hit any shots very close to the hole and I never got things heated up with my putter. I made two birdies and a lone bogey to post a 71. 67 was in a playoff for the final two qualifying positions. 

I'm just in a little bit of a scoring rut right now. The good news is I'm feeling great about my game again. Whenever I get into a tournament, I'll be ready to go. 

I'm currently the ninth alternate for this week's event based on my status. It's very unlikely that nine people will withdraw from the tournament, but I'm going to stick around just in case. I'll get in some good practice and continue to improve. 

I really do feel like a PGA Tour player--one who can compete at the top. I'm hungry to get back into competition. Keep it here for a practice report from Las Vegas and continue to believe with me that great things are coming! Thank you for your support.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

One Start Down; Moving Forward

My PGA Tour career did not begin on the highest of notes as I posted rounds of 73, 73 = 146 (+4) and missed the cut. Those numbers reveal the very disappointing end result of the week, but they do not tell the whole story. I arrived in California on Monday and struggled early. I hit the ball poorly in practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday and just felt a little out of sync. Then in Thursday's opening round, I really didn't hit a good full-swing shot until my seventh hole of the day. Midway through my first PGA Tour round, however, I settled in nicely and really started to hit the ball well. I found that elusive "lovin' feeling", and though I didn't put it all together to post a good score in round one, I felt much better at the end of my round. I then played beautifully on Friday afternoon in the second round. Through the first ten holes, I never mishit a single shot. I was four under par through ten holes despite not having a stellar putting performance. It was great to hit the ball so well, and I really confirmed to myself that I can be a PGA Tour contender. Unfortunately, things got away from me a little bit on the back nine. I terribly misjudged the wind and my wedge shot into the par-5 12th hole found a spot from which I had very few options. I compounded my error with an overly aggressive chip shot and ended up with a double-bogey. I felt like I recovered well mentally from the blunder, but I could not get the positive vibes flowing again as the round continued. I began to press a few holes later and things got ugly. After opening with a 31 on the front nine on Friday, I shot 42 on the back. That is certainly not good, and I was very disappointed, but looking back on it, the experience of playing as well as I did will definitely serve me well moving forward. I feel like my game is back in great shape, and I know that I can do it!

Unfortunately I do not yet have a spot in the field for this week's event in Las Vegas. I am entered in the Monday Qualifier, and, though it's disappointing to have to play in another Monday Qualifier, I know that I can be successful. That is how my run to the PGA Tour started, in fact! I had a practice round at the qualifying course on Sunday, and I am ready for it.

My first week on the PGA Tour was frustrating at times and downright bitterly disappointing for a while on Friday evening, but I certainly found more than enough positives to move forward feeling good. In addition to overcoming some early-week ball-striking woes to find some very positive things on the course, I also got through some very frustrating mid-week practice doldrums to have a productive week of work. I must admit that despite a gigantic effort, I never completed my second six-foot putting drill for last week. It was my only shortcoming, and my first of any kind in the last seven weeks, and I put in some great hours of practice pursuing it, so I feel okay even though I am disappointed not to have put that final check mark on Map Goals for last week. All is good, though, and I will be more motivated to get back after them this week.

I really do feel good. I overcame some significant challenges to find quite a bit of light during my first week on the PGA Tour. I'm excited to get back to my roots and earn my second start the hard way this week. Regardless what happens on Monday, I'm feeling great and still believe that big things are in store.

Thank you for following me and for your support. Keep it here for a report from the Monday Qualifier and hopefully a tournament preview from the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

First PGA Tour Round

Well, my PGA Tour career did not get off to a superb start, but I feel good about a lot of what happened during round one at the Open. I have not been hitting the ball very well this week, and I was very erratic through the first six holes of my round on Thursday. After making a birdie on the 17th hole (my 8th), I settled down and really hit a lot of good shots over my final ten holes. Unfortunately, I could never get anything good out of it, and I posted an opening-round score of 73 (+2). I really did start to feel some good stuff over the second half of my round, however, and I am excited to get out there for round two on Friday. Keep it here for an update from Friday's round. Thank you for following me!

Monday, October 7, 2013

On My Way

am officially in the field at this week's PGA Tour event--the Fry' Open in San Martin, California. What a crazy ride the last few months have been! From a mini-tour player in mid-June to a PGA Tour rookie in October, I have obviously had the breakthrough that I had been promising for some time. I couldn't be more excited about the new opportunities in my professional golf career.

I have felt for quite some time that my goal-driven, highly motivated work ethic had me on a path to success, but in the meritocracy that is professional golf, nothing is guaranteed. That makes my ascension to the PGA Tour particularly gratifying, but, making it to THE Tour is an outcome. What I am most proud of is the belief that I had in my plan and my dedication to it. Earlier this year I changed the name of my "Process Goals" and began calling them my "Map Goals." The implication of this change is that my process goals are a set of step-by-step directions that if followed properly, will greatly increase my chances of reaching the "destination" I desire. My Map Goals give direction to all aspects of my preparation, with the largest chunk being dedicated to creating focused, tournament-like conditions for my practice sessions. Another benefit of my Map Goals is they give me tangible reasons to stay positive when I face challenges. As an example of this, I just completed 100% of my Map Goals for the sixth consecutive week. I also have missed my last two cuts, but because of the progress I have continued to show in my practice, I still whole-heartedly believe that I am moving in the right direction. So, while the success I have achieved and my positive attitude are great, they are both the result of a very powerful and intentional process with which I approach my work (and my life!). 

So why this elaborate explanation now? Because as I journey into exciting new and potentially intimidating waters, I don't have to change my process at all. Of course my goal-setting needs to adapt (and I will produce a new list of goals after the PGA Tour Fall Series), but the system that got me this far will continue to propel me if I keep believing in it and stay committed. 

Remember what I said earlier about professional golf being a meritocracy? That is just as true at the top level as it was along the way. I have achieved my Goal of reaching the PGA Tour, but I will have to continue my steady improvement in order to stay here and have success. The good news? I've done nothing but steadily improve since my junior year in college, and I believe in my system. 

I'm ready for this! I have no idea what to expect, but I do know the things that are under my control, and I plan to take care of them. My routine and my commitment to my goals won't change. But don't worry; I will remember to soak up some of the luxuries of the PGA Tour, too. And when I find out what they are, I'll tell you all about them! 

Thank you for your support and encouragement all along. Keep it here for all the exciting news as we open a new chapter.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Great (Busy) Week

So much has happened since I last reported. I am going to give it to you in expounded bullet point format.

1.) I was officially welcomed to the PGA Tour with a celebration at the TPC Sawgrass last Sunday. Alicia, my mom, dad, and sister were all there, and I also had two great friends from Dandridge (Buddy and Kuk-ster) as well as my original host family from Callaway Gardens there to celebrate the occasion with me. It was cool.

2.) I went through PGA Tour "Rookie Orientation" on Monday in Ponte Vedra Beach. It wasn't the most fun day ever, but how cool is it to say that I am a PGA Tour player!

3.) I started a solid week of practice with a short session Monday evening and a solid session Tuesday morning at the TPC Sawgrass. It is a nice perk to be able to practice there and at all of the TPC properties around the country.

4.) I traveled home on Tuesday afternoon/evening.

5.) I have been working my butt off on my golf game. I still love to practice, and it really doesn't feel like work to me, but I have been putting in some very focused time working on my game. I have already completed all of my practice goals this week, and I can tell that my game is continuing to improve. Despite bum results at the last two events of my Tour career, my game is still very good and trending upward.

6.) I have been helping Alicia get settled into our new house. It looks amazing! I won't be able to actually get settled in and get things how we want them until after Thanksgiving, but we are off to a great start!

7.) I am getting married! Though I leave most all of the planning to Alicia and her mother and father, I have been doing some tasks, and things are coming together beautifully for our November 1 date. That's less than one month!

8.) I'm going to soak up one more day at home and get a little more work done on Sunday, and then I'll take off for California and the Open on Monday. I am currently the first alternate into the field, but based on what most people are telling me, I will get in and make my PGA Tour debut next week. I will be ready to go!

Okay, that's all. Life is great. Thank you for being a part of mine. Keep it here for more updates. I'll be more frequent with them as my PGA Tour career begins.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thoughts from the Tour Championship

I missed the cut at the Tour Championship. That's bad news. It's not fun. This could very well have been the last Tour event that I will ever play. That's good news. It's very exciting. I will make my debut on the PGA Tour in less than two weeks at the Fry' Open in California.

I have a lot to say about the future and my thoughts for the next couple months, but I will save that for another post in the coming days. For now, I'll give a brief story of the this week's tournament from the TPC Sawgrass's Valley Course. I actually played quite well, I thought. I hit the ball fairly solidly and felt very good about my short game. Though I still feel comfortable and confident with my putter, I did have a few uncharacteristic misses from inside of five feet. I battled brutally tough conditions fairly well Friday afternoon during my second round, and I came to my closing two holes at even par for the tournament. I was finishing on the front nine on Friday, which means that I faced a 500-yard par 4 and a watery 430-yard par 4 both playing into a fairly strong wind. I hit two great shots on the long par-4 eighth, but my 3-wood approach actually flew long of the green and left me with a tough up-and-down to a back hole location. I hit a great flop shot and hit my six-foot par putt very well, but the putt broke more than I had seen and missed just low of the hole. Knowing I needed a birdie on the last hole to make the cut, I drove the ball in the fairway and hit one of the best shots I can ever remember hitting into the green. With the hole cut on the right side of the green against a lake, I faded my hybrid from 190 yards into a stiff wind and had it curving towards the hole location. A subtle wind shift held my ball out left of the hole, and I wound up with a thirty foot putt down a ridge for my birdie. The putt was a quick double-breaker and I hit it excellently. After curling left down the ridge, my ball was taking the break back to the right and looked as though it was going to die into the left center of the hole. I was so excited, but at the very last minute, my ball wobbled back to the left and sat just on the back left edge of the hole. It was unbelievably disappointing, but in truth, I executed beautifully over some very tense shots coming down the stretch. I hate to miss a cut, and I certainly know that means that I didn't play as well as I can, but I am still very happy with the state of my game. All is good.

On Sunday I will get my PGA Tour Card. The real one. Wow! It's a dream that I have worked for, and I caught it. Thank you so much to all the people who have helped, supported, and encouraged me. I am a lucky guy.

Now it's time to keep doing the exact same things that helped me get this far. I will be disciplined and committed to my goals. I can't wait to wake up and go back to work.

Thank you for following me. Please come back for more information soon.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Round One of the Tour Championship

I definitely did not have my best stuff on Thursday, and I was really having trouble finding my comfort zone on the course, but I held it together nicely and posted a three-birdie, two-bogey round of 69. I am not sure why I could not get comfortable, but I am pleased with the way I continued to play hard and trust the work that I have been doing. I have been having some of my very best practice lately, and though that certainly did not translate into my best golf in round one, I did manage to post a respectable score despite not having my "A" game. 

This week has been no exception to my recent trend of a great practice. Through Thursday, I am nearly done with all of my weekly goals and have been very efficient with my practice sessions. My putting drills paid dividends in round one as I saved par with a lot of great putts in the four to eight foot range. I know that my map goals will get me to the outcomes that I want, so I am pumped to be following them so closely. 

I tee off Friday afternoon in the second round, I will be ready to go play great. Keep it here for more news, and thank you very much for following me.

By the way, for a good laugh, check out my interview on The Golf Channel's "On the Range":

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm Where I Belong

really do believe the title which I have given to this post, but sometimes I do have to pinch myself a little bit. I am trying to find a good balance between soaking up these great experiences, and staying focused on the work that is at hand. This week I am at the home of the PGA Tour, and it is remarkable how well they treat us here. Check out these images from the fun round of golf I played this morning: 

That's right; while I was waiting for my afternoon pro-am tee time, I just took a cart and played the Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass. What a cool deal that was!

I am doing a good job staying focused on my work, however. Despite rainy conditions on Monday and Tuesday, I have had two good days of practice, and am feeling very good about things. I am going to play another practice round on the tournament course (the Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass) tomorrow morning, and I will definitely be ready to go for Thursday's opening round of the Tour Championship.

Keep it here for more reports during the tournament. Thank you so much for following me and for your support.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Great Week "Off"

I feel fantastic. I never really get tired of playing tournament golf, but it was so nice to have a week at home this past week. I did great work on my game, spent some intensely productive time with Alicia getting things ready for her to move into our new home, and got myself regrouped for the last of the Tour Finals events. It was a great week.

My practice this past week was a perfect example of why I have my "Map Goals." I definitely had a very busy week, but I began each day with a plan of the things I needed to accomplish, and that plan came largely from my Map Goals. Despite feeling crunched for time and having a wash-out rain day on Saturday, I completed all of my goals last week, and that gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. In fact, I was up and at 'em early Sunday morning to have some practice before driving to Jacksonville, Florida, in the afternoon, and while I was working on my last couple putting drills of the week, I definitely was feeling tournament-like pressure to get them done. I had to rely on the strength of my routine to stay calm and finish them. What valuable practice! In addition to that, I had a great week of short game work, a very good week with my fitness routine, and had time to play three fairly competitive matches with friends. It was a very thorough and productive week of work.

The house is looking good, too. We still are waiting on some finishing touches to be corrected by our builder, but things are looking great, and Alicia is now living in the house. What an exciting time!

I am now in Jacksonville, Florida, and am ready to begin preparations for this week's Tour Championship at the TPC Sawgrass Valley Course. I know I'm going to have a great week, but I'll be back soon with an update about the course and how things are feeling.

By the way, with everything that is happening, it's easy to lose perspective, but here is something REALLY important. My friend Madeline from Columbus, Ohio, (see youtube link from a couple posts ago) got some scary news last week. Let's all send positive vibes her way as Doctors do a biopsy this week and try to figure out what caused the irregularity in her most recent scan. Thank you.

Thank you very much for your support and encouragement. Please keep it here for more updates along the way.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Very Good and Very Busy Week at Home

I could go on for pages about all the great stuff that is happening in my life, but for now I will be very brief in telling how excited I am. First of all, I am having a very productive week of work on my golf game. I am on a great pace to achieve all of my Map Goals for the week, and I am feeling very good about my practice. I have also had three friendly but competitive matches this week, and my game has felt pretty good on the course. Off the course, I have been soaking up some time with my beautiful, wonderful fiancé, Alicia. Our time has been a little crammed and a bit stressful because (and this is the big news) we officially became home owners on Thursday. I'll tell more about everything in another post soon, but just wanted to give a quick update. I am glad that you follow my blog; thank you very much for your support and encouragement. Keep it here for more great news on and off of the golf course.

Alicia and I outside our new house

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Great Practice, Great Perspective, Great Potential

For those of you who have already seen the results from this week's Tour Finals event in Columbus, Ohio, I don't have to tell you that I didn't have my best stuff on the course. I had a good attitude and tried hard all day on Friday, but I simply couldn't find it. I did very little right and posted a second-round, nine-over-par score of 80. That, of course, afforded me the weekend off from tournament golf. It's not fun to miss cuts, but I have played at a very high level for a long stretch lately, and I'm not concerned about the state of my game. Despite the horrific results on the course, I actually had an amazing week, and I feel great!

I feel very satisfied to report that I  completed all of my Map Goals this week. I had quite a bit of work still to do when I traveled home from Columbus on Saturday afternoon but had one of my most thorough and efficient days of practice on Sunday. I completed all of my goals and really feel great about all aspects of my game. 

This week was also awesome because of the time I was able to spend with Madeline Richardson and her family. Madeline is only nine years old, but has already battled an extremely deadly and aggressive form of cancer. She has been in remission for more than a year, and her smile and love of life are incredibly refreshing. I was so lucky to get to spend time with her and her family this week. Here's a story about the joy I experienced this week and the great sense of perspective of which it reminded me:

I am home all week this week and am looking forward to a great week of work and also to some big things in my life. I'll give more information on that in a few days, but as always, great stuff is happening! Thank you for caring about me and following my career. Please come back for practice reports and updates from a big week at home.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Joys and Regrets on Day 1 in Columbus

The opening round of the Nationwide Children's Championship started with a huge bang on Thursday at the Ohio State University Golf Club's Scarlet Course. On Tuesday, I had the great privilege of meeting some children from the Children's Hospital cancer center and doing a junior clinic with them. One of the girls from that clinic, 9-year-old Madeline Richardson, hit the tournament's opening shot on Thursday morning and I was there to watch and cheer her. It was a very refreshing and joy-filled scene.

Minutes later, I began my round in the tournament's first grouping off of the tenth hole. Two great shots and a perfectly hit eight-foot putt got me off and running with a birdie. I hit two more good shots and made a par on the difficult par-four 11th hole. I then laid up perfectly on the par-five 12th hole and nailed the flagstick with my wedge shot. The ball caromed backwards, but actually stopped just fifteen feet from the hole. Before I hit my putt, play was suspended due to a rapidly approaching thunderstorm. Play was halted for a full three hours, and when we returned to the hole, I proceeded as I normally would. I picked up the tee that I had placed in the ground to ensure the location of my coin would not be compromised by the rain. As I removed the tee from the ground, I noticed the hole it left in the green and casually tapped it with my putter behind my coin. I went on to two putt for my par and made a good par on the tough par-three 13th. Then, walking off of the 14th tee, a tournament official approached me and inquired as to what I was doing when I had tapped down the spot behind my coin on the 12th green. He informed me that I had likely violated a rule and would be penalized two strokes. I wasn't really mad, but I was shocked and very rattled by the news. I thought about little Madeline, and that definitely helped to give me a great sense of perspective, but I struggled to let go of the rattled thoughts that were in my head. From a mental standpoint, I played some of the worst golf that I have played all year in the ten holes that followed my learning of the penalty. I don't know why I couldn't let go of that news and simply stay in my routine. I still feel that I am playing great golf, but the jumbled thoughts in my head wouldn't let that show for the vast majority of my round on Thursday. I ended up posting a two-over-par round of 73.

The reason I titled this post "Regrets on Day 1" is I am very disappointed in myself for not doing a better job of controlling my thoughts. Had I stayed in my mental routine and kept a great thought process through the bummer news of the penalty, I know that I could have recovered much more quickly and had a better round-one result. But I am leaving my regrets in this blog post because it is over now, and I still have time to recover and have a great tournament.  

Madeline truly was an inspiration Thursday morning. She has a million-dollar smile (and a great golf swing, too!) despite going through an incredibly hard battle with cancer at such a young age. I use the word "stud" to describe my favorite people when they do wonderful things, and Madeline Richardson and her family are all studs. Thank you for sharing your story and your smile with me.

I'm so lucky that I get to play a game that I love and call it my profession. I truly love what I do. I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it all day on Friday as I put in a good morning of work leading up to an afternoon tee time for my second round of the tournament. Come back for another report Friday evening. Thank you for keeping up with me, and do me a favor: smile for Madeline Richardson!

That is Madeline on the right side of the picture in the orange shirt. Anastasia, Evan, Griffin, and Elaina are all studs, too!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ready for the Challenge in Columbus, Ohio

The Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club is an absolute gem. It has a lot of elements that combine to create a great golf course, but most notably, it has a great deal of length and absolutely brutal green complexes. The putting surfaces are incredibly sloped and are quite firm this week. Precision and course management will be at a premium, and all birdies will be well earned this week. Though I am a shorter hitter, I feel the length of this course and the challenge of the greens actually can work to my advantage. On a tough course like this, all players will miss some greens, and I feel like my short game and my grinding nature will give me an edge over many of my competitors. I am playing very well, so I am excited to be playing a demanding course.

I tee it up in the first group of the day off of number 10 on Thursday morning. I'm looking forward to another great tournament. Keep it here for daily updates. Thank you for following me!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tough Sunday, But Great Tournament in Charlotte; Back to Work in Columbus, Ohio

I had one of those days when golf was hard on Sunday at the Chiquita Classic. I wasn't far off, but I was just loose enough that every hole seemed challenging. I missed quite a few fairways, was a bit shaky with some of my iron shots, and really didn't have good pace on the greens. I managed just one birdie during the final round and made two bogies to post a one-over-par score of 73. That round left me with an eight-under-par total for the week and a tie for 8th place finish. It was definitely a bit disappointing to have myself in such great position through three rounds and not deliver on Sunday, but that doesn't negate the fact that I had a great week. In addition to a solid finish in the tournament, I had a wonderful week of practice, so I am highly encouraged.

I am now in Columbus, Ohio, and it is time to have another thorough week of work. I will get my first look at the tournament course Tuesday morning, and I am excited for another great week. Keep it here for updates along the way. Thank you very much for your support!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Great Week of Work; Time to Have Fun on Sunday

For the second consecutive week, I have completed all of my practice goals (Map Goals). I am very happy with that. I know that I have set some lofty goals for myself, and I also know that following my map is the best way to achieve them. It is very rewarding to and edifying to check off all of the work on my list, so the past two weeks have me feeling great.

Speaking of the lofty goals that I have set for myself, I am in great position to achieve a couple of them this week. I played beautifully on Saturday in the third round of the Tour Finals event at River Run Country Club, and I find myself just one shot behind the leaders heading into the final round. My third round featured a very hot start during which I birdied four of the first six holes. I actually played fairly solidly the rest of the way as well, but only managed one more birdie and dropped a couple shots to finish with a three-under-par round of 69. I am playing well and feeling great about things, though. Sunday will be a very fun day. Like I said before the third round, I am going to stay in the present, focus on each shot, and have a blast out there on the course.

Come back in the evening for a brief report from the action. It's going to be good news. Thank you for following me and for all your support and encouragement!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Feeling Great at River Run

I had a wonderful afternoon of practice following my opening round on Thursday, and it really showed Friday afternoon in round two. Though I was not perfectly comfortable in the early stages of my round, I executed beautifully on Friday and never really threatened to make a bogey through my first 15 holes. I got a little bit erratic with my driver over my last few holes, and a mental mistake on my 16th hole (the seventh) cost me when I tried to be too aggressive from the rough. I ended up making a double bogey on that hole, but my play on the whole was still very solid for the day. Prior to my blunder, I had made six birdies and no bogeys. After my double, I did hit a couple of squirrelly shots on the last two holes, but a pair of sand saves got me into the house with two pars and a four-under-par round of 68. On this demanding course, my six-under-par total through two rounds has me in great shape heading to the weekend. I am looking forward to a fun opportunity over the final two rounds this week. I am going to stay in the present, focus on each shot, and genuinely enjoy myself over the next two days. I have put in the work and am ready to play great. Keep it here for updates from the weekend. Thank you so much for following me!

Exciting Round; Great Day on Thursday

My round was actually a bit sloppy on the opening day of the Tour's Chiquita Classic. I posted a two-under-par 70 on the demanding course at River Run Country Club, but given some of the fireworks I produced, it probably should have been better. After feeling a bit uncomfortable in the early going, I really turned it on in the middle of my round. I hit my tee shot on the long par-3 eighth hole within inches for a tap-in birdie. Four holes later on the par-5 twelfth, I left myself a downhill shot of a 140 yards into the green for my third shot and knocked a nine iron in the hole for an unlikely eagle. I followed that by making a roller coaster putt up a ridge on the very next hole. I had one more great shot in me and stuffed my tee shot within five feet of a difficult hole location on the par-3 14th, but I misread the putt and settled for par. Just like that, my round-one magic disappeared and I struggled down the stretch. I missed the green on each of the last three holes and dropped shots with bogies on 17 and 18. The latter bogey came after a perfect drive on the reachable but watery par-5 18th. I tried to go for the green off a down-slope in the fairway and didn't hit the shot solidly enough to cover the beautiful lake which separates the fairway and green. It was definitely a disappointing finish to my opening round, but I still posted a very nice score and am thrilled with the way I overcame a very uncomfortable feeling early in the round to produce some great stuff. Overall, I am very encouraged by my round.

What is even more exciting is the afternoon of work I had after my morning round. I had a very efficient and productive practice session. I spent a little time on all facets of my game, and in addition to really getting some good vibes going, I got ahead of schedule on my Map Goals for the week. I feel very good about things.

I tee it up Friday afternoon for round two of this week's event, and I will be ready to play a solid round. Keep it here for updates. Thank you for following me!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ready at River Run

River Run Country Club, the host of this week's Tour Finals event, is a great golf course. It is a fair but demanding test that will require precision in all aspects of the game. I think the course sets up well for me, and I am excited for a great week. I get started at 7:52 Thursday morning and am ready to deliver a solid performance. Keep it here for updates; thank you for following me!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Great Week in Fort Wayne, Indiana

I have a lot of positive things to talk about, but I'm too excited to get on the road and head home for a night right now! I'll just give a brief overview of the good stuff from this week.

After playing a round that seemed ugly on paper in Thursday's opening round, I rebounded with a very solid performance on Friday and birdied the 36th hole to make the cut. Then, my solid play continued over the weekend. In total over the final 54 holes, I made 15 birdies and two bogies. That is good stuff. What is even more encouraging is the fact that I accomplished that without ever getting into a groove with my putter this week. Had I gotten hot with the putter, it could have been very special. Though I am not usually thrilled with a middle-of-the-pack finish, I am very pleased this week with the way that I stayed positive and played well the last three rounds. I feel great moving forward.

In addition to a solid effort on the course, I had one of my best and most thorough weeks of work in a long time. I challenged myself to complete all of my Map Goals, and I did so this week. I am pumped to continue doing that because I can tell that my practice routine will get me to the Outcome Goals I have set for myself.

My game feels great, and I do, too! Time to head home for the night and spend Labor Day with my favorite people before I'm off to the greater Charlotte, North Carolina, the second of four Tour Finals events next week. Keep it here for all the news. Thank you so much for following me and for your support!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Still Grinding Away in Indiana

I'm in Fort Wayne, Indiana, playing the first of four events that will make up the inaugural Tour Finals. This week's tournament--the Hotel Fitness Championship--is being played at Sycamore Hills Golf Club. Sycamore Hills is a great golf course with fairly generous fairways but small, angled greens that require a great deal of precision. The fairways are firm and fast, so the course is playing fairly short, but challenging rough around the small and firm greens gives the course some teeth. Though it definitely is yielding some low scores, the course is a great test.

I was a little too loose to the pass the test on Thursday. I hit a few wayward shots and was not good enough with my putter to make up for them. I posted an opening-round 73 (+1), and was not in very good shape. Despite that, I knew that I was close to playing well, so I felt surprisingly calm and confident heading into round two. I played very solidly on Friday morning. Though I had a couple of close calls, I played bogey-free in my second round. One of those close calls came late in my round on what can be a fairly easy birdie hole. The par-5 15th is easily reachable in two shots, but in order to do so, the drive must carry a creek that crosses the fairway 260 yards from the tee. With no wind I am comfortable with that distance, but I was facing a 10-ish mile per hour headwind when I played the hole on Friday. I hit a decently solid drive on the perfect line, and thought for sure that it was plenty to reach the fairway. It wasn't. It fell from the sky into the creek, and I was left with a tough situation. I was forced to take a penalty drop behind the creek, hit a demanding lay-up shot into an island of fairway, and play my fourth shot up to an extremely narrow green from more than 100 yards. I executed each shot calmly after my drop, and rolled a tough ten-foot putt to save my par right in the middle of the hole. That was really cool. Then, after routine pars on holes 16 and 17, I arrived at the 18th tee knowing I would need a birdie to have any chance of making the cut. I hit a perfect tee shot hard up the left side. My ball bounded way down the fairway, and I was left with just 104 yards to the hole. From there I hit a little wedge about 18 inches behind the hole and tapped in for a closing birdie to finish off my second-round 68 (-4). That moved me to three under par for the tournament. The cut-line moved to -3 shortly after I finished my round and then moved agonizingly close to -4 as the afternoon continued. For a split second near the end of the day, the cut actually did move to -4, but luckily some late bogies dropped it back down to -3, and I now have a Saturday tee time.

I am proud of the round that I played on Friday. I absolutely hate to miss a cut, but in all honesty, I didn't think about that very much while I was on the course. I was focused on playing golf and hitting each shot. I'd be lying if I said the cut wasn't on my mind at all, particularly coming down the stretch, but thoughts of it weren't controlling my focus. I'm really pleased with the way my thought process is evolving on the course, and I like the direction in which I am heading.

My physical game is feeling pretty good as well. I'm definitely not hitting the ball my best nor am I putting it exceptionally well so far this week, but, with the exception of a few blunders, I have played very solidly. I am having a great week of practice and feel like I am continuing to improve. I have done a good job with my Map Goals so far this week, and I will get them all done.

And the best news is I have two more days and only one direction I can move on the leaderboard: up! I feel good. This will be a fun weekend. Keep it here for more updates. Thank you for following me!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Poor Score But Optimistic Feelings from Round 1

The end result was a one-over-par round of 73, but I felt okay about my play in round one of this week's Tour Finals event. I was very solid early in my round, but dropped a couple of shots just before making the turn and stood at even par at the midway point of Thursday's round. I looked solid again for the opening five holes of my second nine, but hit a horrific tee shot at the par-4 sixth (my 15th) hole and carded a double bogey. That blunder dropped me to one-over-par for the day, and that is where I finished. I hit a lot of quality shots in the first round but never really got anything going, and I was just a little bit loose with a couple shots as well. I'm certainly disappointed with the results from Thursday's round, but overall I played fairly well. What is more encouraging is the fact that I had a great day of practice on Thursday. I'm confident that I will play well on Friday morning, and I think I can claw my way back into the golf tournament. Keep it here for an update after round 2. Thank you for following me!

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Goals, Same Map: Time to Get to Work

Throughout the whirlwind of the past seven days, I have had little time to think. A nice long drive from Omaha, Nebraska, to Fort Wayne, Indiana, afforded me the opportunity to do a little of that on Monday. Here's what I know: My career has made a dramatic change for the better over the past week, but my attitude and approach won't change as I enter new territory in my profession. I now have a PGA Tour Card in my hand, but that doesn't change who I am, and I won't change the formula that got me here. That formula consists of a solid plan, a healthy work ethic, a good sense of perspective, and a joy-filled pursuit of my goals. It's time to get back to work.

First of all, I need a refreshed list of goals. My recent performance has necessitated that I raise the bar a little bit, and I have come up with some new outcome goals that I want to accomplish in the remainder of 2013.

     -Win an event
 Tour Finals
          -PGA Tour Fall Series

     -Finish in the top 5 of the Tour Finals money list.

     -Complete the PGA Tour Fall Series inside the top 25 on money list

This is a lofty set of goals, but I think each one is very realistic and attainable. The Map Goals that I published in late July are still the turn-by-turn directions that I will use to reach these new outcomes. If I can stay focused on my process and have very efficient and goal-driven practice, I know that I can achieve great things. To see my Map Goals (formerly called "Process Goals" or "Work Goals") see the tab above labeled "2013 Goals". I will use this blog as way to hold myself accountable for my Work Goals. I will give myself one week between now and the end of the PGA Tour Fall Series during which I can rest and not achieve all of my Map Goals, but with that one exception, I expect to complete them each and every week from now through the remainder of the 2013 season.

This may sound intense, and I definitely am serious when I say that I will be adamant with myself about completing my work, but the beauty of it all is that I love every minute of it. Practicing is still a joy to me, and that won't change. This is so much fun, and I am so excited. After a very distracted and celebratory week, however, it is time to get back to work, and I am pumped to do it.

Thank you for following me and for all your support and encouragement. Keep it here for updates from the first of the Tour Finals events this week in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Poor Performance on Sunday; Still an Incredible Week

I didn't finish the Tour's regular season in style, but the final result of my eight-tournament stint on the PGA Tour's  Triple-A circuit is pretty incredible. It absolutely is the breakthrough I have been predicting for quite some time. 

Despite a final round 74 (+3) and a T48 finish in Omaha, I ended the regular season in the 18th position on the money list and have earned my PGA Tour Card for the 2013-2014 season. 
I'll get my real PGA Tour Card after the conclusion of the Tour Finals in five weeks, but this symbolic one will do for now!

As exciting as this is, there is still much work to do, and I am just the guy to do it! I will publish a new plan and new goals for the remainder of the year late Monday. The dream is now in my hands, but I must remain diligent in order to create a solid grip on it. 

Thank you for following me and believing in me. Stay along for the ride as this fun journey continues!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back to Solid on Saturday

I played very well in the third round of the Tour's Cox Classic in Omaha. Though I never really got hot with the putter, I was good in all aspects of the game and posted a five-birdie, one-bogey round of 67. It was fun to play a solid round after being a little erratic on Friday. I feel great about my game and am excited to have one more day to climb the leaderboard on Sunday. Come back for a final-round report in the evening. I will be publishing my revised goals for the remainder of the year soon as well. Thank you for supporting me!

Focused on the Present, But a Cool Image from Last Week

For obvious (and great!) reasons, this week has been crazy. I'm trying very hard to stay focused on doing my work, and that is getting easier with each day. I came dangerously close to having this weekend off from work, but fortunately afternoons winds caused scores to go up a little bit on Friday and my four-under-par total snuck past the cut. I played okay in Friday's second round, but a tough start and a very sloppy finish left me with a round of 72 (+1) and a very nervous afternoon of waiting. My total held on to make the cut, though, and I now get two more days to get back to work and climb the leaderboard. I'm excited!

Keep it here for reports from the weekend rounds and also an updated set of goals for the remainder of the year. Thank you for keeping up with me!

If you're wondering why this week has been crazy, which I'm sure most of your aren't, here's one example:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to Work; Good Start

I have so much to say but no time to say it. For now I'll just give a round-1 update from the Tour's Cox Classic here in Omaha. I played beautifully and posted a five-under-par round of 66. I went cold after birdieing five of my first ten holes, but I still feel great about things. I tee it up at 7:25 a.m. central time on Friday morning, so I have to get to bed! I'm going to stay focused on hitting each shot, one at a time. I'm having a blast and plan to continue that!

Thank you for keeping up with me. Stay tuned for a more thorough update soon as well as a full report of some new goals for the remainder of the year.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Remember that breakthrough I've been promising the last two years? It just happened!   

I won on the Tour this past week. That vaults me into the 16th position on the money list and assures that I will have a PGA Tour Card for the 2014 season. Yes! 

If you haven't seen or heard anything from last week's event, Google my name and check out some of the headlines and videos that have been posted. 

There is so much to say, and I want to share this experience with all of you, but I need to come down from the clouds, get some sleep, and get ready to continue doing the things that have helped me get this far. I still have much much more to accomplish, but this past week was a pretty good start!

Please come back in the next day or two for a very thorough report of the events of last week and also a plan and some new goals moving forward. Thank you very much for believing in me and supporting my career.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fun Final-Round Opportunity in Knoxville

I will be brief for now, but there are a lot of good things happening in my golf game and career. I played an exciting round of golf on Saturday in the third round of the Tour's Knoxville Open. Though I was not nearly as solid as I had been in the first two rounds, I was brilliant at times. I made a huge blunder on the par-3 second hole but recovered to save a bogey. Later, I hit a surprisingly horrid iron shot into a pond on the par-4 twelfth hole and made a double-bogey. Outside of those two blips, I was stellar. My ball-striking was solid, and I putted beautifully. I made eight birdies to offset my two mistakes and posted a five-under-par round of 66. I currently sit at ten under par and am just three shots behind the leader heading into Sunday's final round. I'm going to stay composed and have a blast on Sunday.

Come back for a report from the action. Thank you for keeping up with me and supporting my career.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Great Shape at Midway Point in Knoxville

I am playing great golf. I still haven't gotten hot at this week's event--the Knoxville Open at Fox Den Country Club--but I have been incredibly solid. Through two rounds, I have had 35 birdie putts. I hit all 18 greens in regulation on Friday en route to a bogey-free second-round 67 (-4). I currently stand at -5 for the tournament and am just four shots behind the leaders. I am confident and comfortable, and I know that I can play great and win this weekend in my hometown event. I am going to keep a great attitude and have a lot of fun. Keep it here for nightly updates. Thank you for following me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Busy Week; Solid Start at Fox Den

I am pumped to be playing this week's Tour event in East Tennessee. I have a lot going on and a lot on my mind, but it is all great stuff, and I am excited to just play golf. The Knoxville News Sentinel Open began on Thursday at Fox Den Country Club. I played beautifully in round one. I putted from the fringe on hole 11, but I had a birdie putt on each of the first 17 holes. It was one of my better ball-striking rounds I can remember. Unfortunately, I never got things going. I three-putted the third hole for my lone bogey of the day and managed just two birdies to counter that bogey. My opening round 70 (-1) has me just ahead of middle in a bunched up leaderboard, but I am only five shots behind the first-round leaders. I feel great about my game, and I'm excited to get after it Friday afternoon in round 2.

Keep it here for more news from the Knoxville Open. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Most Thrilling Non-Victory Finish Ever

I have so much to say about the final three rounds of this past week's Tour event in Springfield, Missouri.

As a hangover from Thursday morning's delays, I played just five holes of my second round on Friday evening. I arrived early Saturday morning to finish round two and played quite nicely. I ended up posting a second-round 68 (-4) to stand at nine under par at the tournament's midway point. I was in a tie for 6th place. After some lunch, I had a 1:30 tee time for round three. I had a beautiful warm-up session prior to the start of my afternoon round, and I felt invincible as I took to the course. Great swings on the opening four holes confirmed my good feelings, and I knew I was off and running. Then something strange happened. I started hitting terrible shots. I don't know why, but I went through an eight-hole stretch during which I did very few good things. The next thing I knew I was standing on the twelfth hole needing to get up and down from 115 yards to save bogey. I was determined to stop my skid, and though I still struggled coming down the stretch of my long day on Saturday, I did manage to play the final six holes one under par to post a third-round 73 (+1). That round sent me tumbling down the leaderboard into a tie for 44th.

I awoke on Sunday morning ready to have a great day. I must admit, though, that I was quite concerned about what had happened on Saturday afternoon. I still felt okay about the quality of my golf game, but my poor round had certainly put me in a bit of a precarious spot heading into the final round. I needed a top-25 finish in order to qualify for my hometown Tour event this week in Knoxville, Tennessee. That thought was on my mind a bit too heavily throughout my final round. I felt nervous and jittery in a way that I haven't in quite some time. I birdied three of the first five holes, but I also sprinkled in a three-putt bogey and an incredibly poor double bogey on my front nine. I stood on the ninth tee even par for the final round, and not in very good shape. I never really calmed down or trusted myself the way that I want to in pressure situations, but my game actually held up well. I birdied holes nine and eleven to reach ten under par for the tournament, but I knew (and was thinking about way too much) that I had to get to at least twelve and likely thirteen under to climb into the top 25. I made agonizing pars on holes 12-15 and did not hit my five iron approach to number 16 very close to the hole. I rolled in a 30 foot putt for birdie on 16, converted a great up and down for par after a very poor iron shot into 17, and arrived at the par-5 18th knowing that I needed to do something good. I piped a drive down the left center of the fairway and faced a shot of 235 yards slightly downhill to a peninsula green. I had laid up from a similar position each of first three rounds, but I knew that I could hit a three wood onto the green. I was nervous and uncomfortable over the shot, but I tried my hardest to trust it, and I nailed it. I hit a fading three wood into the middle of the green just 25 feet from the hole. I rolled that putt right in the middle of the hole, and for the first time in my life, I managed a sort of half first pump as I walked to get my ball from the hole. It was a great feeling!

The end result of my round was a five-under-par 67 and a tie for 14th place finish.

I have a lot to learn from this experience. First of all, I was way too result-oriented with my thinking during the final round of the golf tournament. I want to be more committed to my process over each shot and not let the overall result consume my thoughts. I was way too nervous and uncomfortable at times, and that is caused by a results-oriented mentality. I need to commit to my pre-shot mental routine and allow myself to be comfortable over each shot. With that said, all of my practice and the mental training that I have done allowed me to have a very successful outcome even though I am not thrilled with my process over every shot. I will continue to improve, and I'm certain that bigger and better things are coming!

Thank you for following me and for supporting my career. Keep it here for updates as I head home to East Tennessee for the Tour's Knoxville Open.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Good Start in Soggy Springfield

Rain and wetness have been the themes of the week so far for the Tour event in Springfield, Missouri. That is just fine with me, however. Though area flooding and torrential amounts of rain have disrupted the flow of this week, I am very focused on taking care of the things I can control: my attitude and my approach to each golf shot. I entered Thursday's opening round feeling quite good after productive days of practice amid weather delays. My 9:15 a.m. first-round starting time was pushed back until 2:30 p.m. because overnight and morning rains rendered the course unplayable. I used the morning to relax, and came out feeling great in the afternoon. I had one of my best ball-striking rounds ever. An errant drive on the par-4 ninth hole found a lake that runs up the left side of the hole and led to my only bogey of the day, but other than that, I never really came close to making a bogey. I countered that lone blunder with six birdies to post a five-under-par 67 in round one. I hit the ball beautifully and at times looked great with the putter as well. I am pleased with the state of my game and am excited for more.

As of right now, I am scheduled to tee off in the second round at 6:40 p.m. Central Time. An uncertain forecast leaves that already late starting time in jeopardy, but you can bet that I will be ready whenever it is time for me to play. More good stuff is coming, so keep it here for updates from Springfield. Thank you very much for following me!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another Step Forward

I am back on a top-25 streak on the Tour. Despite a horrific tee shot on the tenth hole and a missed putt from less than three feet on the final hole, I played beautiful golf in the final round of the Mylan Classic and posted a one-over-par round of 72. I finished at five under par for the week, and that was good enough to earn a tied for 10th place finish. It was a very good week for me in the Greater-Pittsburgh area. 

There is some major disappointment from my week, too. It is not very realistic to expect to go four rounds and not make any big mistakes, so I can forgive the poor tee shot I hit on the tenth hole of the final round. What is still inexplicable and inexcusable to me is the missed putt from just two feet on the final hole. I know better than to play the "if-I'd-only-done-this" game in life, but that miss did cost me quite a bit. I am rock solid with my putter and hadn't missed any from close range all week, but I just had a bit of a nervous moment and pulled a straight-in two footer out of the hole. 

I'd really like to have that one back, but it definitely doesn't work that way. Instead, I'm going to roll with all of the great positives from the past week. I felt way off on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and really wasn't hitting the ball well at all. I stayed positive, though, and did some great short-game and putting work during that time. I found a little something that clicked on Wednesday afternoon, and I chose to believe in myself despite three days of less-than-stellar practice early in the week. I ended up having one of my better ball-striking performances I can ever remember. In addition to that, my short game was very good. If the putter had heated up from medium range, it could have been a special week. All in all, I played great and know that I can continue to improve.

So, I am filled with emotions right now ranging from thrilled to very bummed, but the overarching thought in my head is that I am definitely good enough to compete for victories week in and week out at the Tour level. And because of my finish in Pennsylvania, I get another chance to prove it this week when I tee it up in the Tour's Price Cutter Championship in Springfield, Missouri. 

I'm going to keep following my map, and I know that I'll reach my goals. Keep it here for updates as I prepare to break through even more this week in Springfield, MO. Thank you for all your support!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Playing Well and In Great Position

My third-round play in the Mylan Classic was some of the most solid golf I can remember. We battled on and off annoying rain showers through the first eight holes of my round, but, with the exception of a three-putt from close range on the par-3 third hole, I made no mistakes. My only poor shot of the day came on the par-4 17th when I hit a three wood right of the fairway into a rather gunchy position. That tee shot and the above-mentioned three putt were my only blunders of the day. I converted four birdies, including a momentum grabbing birdie at the tough final hole, for the day to post a third-round score of 69 (-2). I'm feeling great and looking forward to being in the hunt on Sunday. Keep it here for a great final-round report. Thank you for following me and for your support!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Solid Play; Less-than-Stellar Score in Round 2

I am quite pleased with how I played in round 2 of the Tour's Mylan Classic. I hit the ball beautifully and felt in control in all areas of my game. I was three under par for my round and six under par for the tournament through 15 holes on Friday, but unfortunately, two untimely bogeys in the final three holes put a bit of a damper on what was otherwise a great performance. All in all, I am still very happy with how I'm playing and feel good about my standing heading into the weekend. I feel comfortable with my game, and I'm ready to let it shine. Keep it here for great news from the next two rounds. Thank you for keeping up with me!

New Blog Site

Hi everyone! Thank you for continuing to try to keep up with me. As you might have noticed, I've not been updating this blog at all late...