Friday, January 24, 2014

"Control-Alt-Delete" in My Head

I am swinging the club really well and feel like I'm getting better and better at golf each day as this year moves forward. Unfortunately, as my physical skills improve, I have not been utilizing my greatest asset as a golfer. My mind has always given me an advantage over my competition at every level, but I am not using it very well right now. 

In Friday's second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, I played quite well on the very difficult South Course. I rebounded from a potentially disturbing bogey-bogey start with three really nice birdies to make the turn at one under par for the day. I was feeling great and very confident. Then on my 11th hole (number 2), I just hit a very lousy putt. I had a routine 35 foot putt up a tier, and I left it some eight feet short. I actually hit a great putt on my next one, but a slight misread caused the par putt to miss and I walked off with a bogey. "Oh well," would have been my normal reaction, but for some reason right now in the early part of this season, I am putting so much pressure on myself to perform well that I kind of freaked out a little bit after that three-putt. I instantly went from being comfortable and confident to being cautious and uptight. The result was quite costly on the challenging golf course. I went on to record four consecutive bogeys and ended up posting a three-over-par round of 75 on Friday. My two-over-par total for the week fell two shots behind the cut-line. 

As I have said before, I hate to miss a cut. It just stinks, but this one is particularly disappointing to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, I relish the challenge of taking on a tough golf course. My normal positive attitude and great short game are just what an ultra-difficult test like Torrey Pines South requires. I was ready to play great there. More than that, it just really stinks to know that I missed this week's cut because I was thinking poorly on the golf course. I pride myself on maintaining a great attitude and using my brain as a great resource on the golf course. It is painful to know that I'll be sitting out this weekend because I couldn't get control of my thoughts. 

With that said, there is only one thing to do from here, and that is improve! I need to take the poor thoughts I've been thinking and replace them with good thoughts. I am good enough to do that. The first thing I need to do is reign my thoughts back into the present. I know that I am thinking a lot about things that are down-the-road, such as: if I play well this week, it will help me get into these events in the future. This is a very true and very realistic thought, but the only way to play well now is to approach each shot with a present-minded focus. I am good enough to hit all the shots that I need to be successful on the PGA Tour; I simply need to go through my routine and trust myself over each shot. The second thing I need to do is even more important, and that is remembering to smile and enjoy myself on the course. I am still doing my favorite thing everyday as my job, and I absolutely love it. I will always be a little bit nervous during golf tournaments, but I should be having way too much fun to ever be uptight on the course. So it's time to reboot my head and get back to playing my kind of golf. Control-Alt-Delete... Done!

So now that my head is back on correctly, let me briefly go over some very positive things from this week. I am swinging the club great. My stats from this week won't reflect that at all, but I am hitting the ball extremely solidly, and though I was far enough off to miss a lot of fairways and greens, I was never in any trouble. I am close to hitting the ball very well. I had a stretch of golf on the South course on Friday where I played a U.S. Open-style golf course and felt 100% in control. I know I can do it. It feels great!

This post is getting long, but this good for me. I feel great right now, and this is coming at the end of a day that really got me down. I can't wait to get back out and play again. I will have some great practice this weekend and then will come back with a "what's next" report on Sunday. Thank you so much for believing in me and following my career. We are going places!

I know it's cold and nasty where a lot of you are. Enjoy a sunny collage from Southern California:

1 comment:

  1. I play in poker tournaments in Las Vegas and while the activities are completely different, the mental approach and attitude needed for successful play are quite similar. Your self awareness is admirable, and puts you ahead of many of your competitors. Good luck.


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