Thursday, February 27, 2014

Honesty

I'm struggling right now. My game isn't where I want it, and I'm having a hard time finding that loving feeling in practice or at gametime. This week I played the Monday Qualifier for the PGA Tour's Honda Classic (70, -1, did not qualify) and am currently on Hilton Head Island playing in an eGolf Tour event at Palmetto Hall. I'll come back with an update from the tournament this week and with other news by Saturday night, but for now I just wanted to say I'm sorry I haven't written in a while and also that I'm going to have good news soon. Golf has me a little down right now, but I still believe in myself and my process, and I still love my job, and I still know and believe with all I am that life is good! Thank you for supporting me. Come back for good news soon!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Recharged


I am not very good at doing nothing. I arrived back in Knoxville on Tuesday evening this past week, and for two days, I did very little. Snowy weather limited my options for a couple days, but I usually can be pretty ambitious even when I am inside. This week, I took those two days to recharge. I soaked up some time with my sweet wife, and we enjoyed our East Tennessee snow day like we were kids (which in a lot of ways we are)! In total, I went three days without doing anything golf-related, and though I don't like for that to happen very much, I feel like it was absolutely perfect for me right now. I am recharged and as motivated as ever to get back to my kind of work. 

Starting this week, I am going to rededicate myself to my Map Goals for the year. That means that I am going to prioritize getting my drills and practice requirements done. In addition to that, I am going to create and commit to a more specific schedule for my workouts. I haven't neglected my fitness, but that has been getting bumped down my list, and I know that I don't feel as good as I can when that happens. I am off from competition this week, and I will get all of my Map Goals done. 

I am ready to do what I have done each of the past four years: follow a plan of focused hard work and steadily improve throughout the year. My start on the West Coast certainly wasn't good for me, but I'm not going to panic. I will stick to my process, and great things will happen!

Thank you for following me, and please keep it here for updates during this week of work and for a "what's next" report.   



 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Not My Best out West; Time to Get Back on Track

My "West Coast Swing" for 2014 is over. I did not finish very well at Pebble Beach, and I did not get the job done in the Monday Qualifier for the Los Angeles Open either, so I am heading Home to regroup and recharge as I prepare to get some momentum rolling into the next stretch of PGA Tour golf. I'm honestly feeling a little bummed coming off my first four events of 2014, but I know that it is a long season and I am still in a great position to reach my goals. 

I played some great golf during the first two rounds of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and I was in nice position heading into the third round. In Saturday's third round, I was playing the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and the weather was absolutely brutal. A misty rain was blown sideways by 30 mile per hour winds that were gusting to outrageously high speeds. I'll give you a three-hole stretch that illustrates how hard the wind was blowing. On the 176-yard, downhill par-three 11th hole, I hit a 3 wood. On the 599-yard par-five 12th hole, I hit Driver-Driver-Driver short of the green, and on the 430-yard par-four 13th, I hit Driver-Driver short of the green. I actually handled the worst of the wind okay, but I started to hit a few shaky shots on my second nine and missed a few short putts as well.  As darkness approached on Saturday, I was four over par for my round with two holes to go. I would have to come back Sunday morning to finish my third round, and I was sitting right on the cutline. I parred the eighth hole (my 17th) and knew that a par or better on the par-three ninth would put me inside the cutline. I never got comfortable on the tee and pulled my shot well left of the green where it unfortunately settled up against the back side of a Cypress tree and left me no shot at the green. I made a disheartening double bogey, posted a third-round 77 (+6), and fell from T17th at the beginning of the round to T77th and a missed cut. It was a really bad feeling to finish that way, and truthfully, I didn't play very well for the majority of round three, but I cannot forget that I did play some great golf over the first two rounds. The finish to my tournament at Pebble Beach certainly leaves a sour taste in my mouth, but I have a lot of positives from which I can build. 

As I said above, I also competed in the Monday Qualifier for the Northern Trust Los Angeles Open this week. I was in a good frame of mind to play the qualifier, but I made a couple of little mistakes and didn't putt well enough to get the job done. I posted a 71 and the final qualifiers came from a playoff at 68. 

So now I have this week and next week off from competition. I don't like that, but I'm sure that most people would say it's good for me. The weather doesn't look promising the next few days in my beautiful hometown, but I'm going
to spend at least a couple of refreshing days at Home, and then I'll make a plan going forward. 

One thing that definitely hasn't changed is that I still love to play and practice. I'm excited to keep working on my game, and I know that I'll continue to improve. Most of my problems on the West Coast were mental shortcomings, but until the first two rounds on the Monterey Peninsula, I wasn't very sharp in other aspects of the game either. That means I definitely have a lot of room to improve, and I enjoy the challenge of continuously getting better. 

I have a great plan in place with my Map Goals. For various reasons (some extremely legitimate, others fairly weak), I haven't completed all of my Map Goals the last three weeks, and due to the weather, I probably won't this week either, but I will get back into a thorough and efficient work routine. I know the formula and I believe it will work at every level. Intelligent planning + thorough preparation + a great attitude = steady improvement = success. This formula will work on the PGA Tour, and I'm ready to put it in action. 

Thank you very much for believing in me and for your support!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Solid Golf

I look a lot like Peter Malnati on the golf course this week. I'm still hitting a few "what-the-heck-was-that?" shots, but I've maintained a great attitude and have used my short game and putting to my advantage. I finished off my first round with two good pars Friday morning to post a three-under-par 69 at Pebble Beach and followed that with a solid effort in tough conditions for a one-under-par 71 at Spyglass Hill. I'm playing great and feeling fantastic. I head to monterey Peninsula Country Club for the third round in Saturday, I'm confident that I will play well. Come back for another update after the round. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Feeling Great at Pebble Beach

I played some really good golf at Pebble Beach in the opening round of the AT&T Natiobnal. A three-hour weather delay in the morning gave me pleasant conditions  when I finally teed off after 12:30 Pacific Time. I did a great job of committing to a good plan on every shot, and I hit a lot if very good ones. I drove the ball well and was actually fairly sharp with my irons as well. I still made a couple of silly mistakes, but my attitude was great, and I'm still feeling under control. First-round play was suspended when I was on the eighth green (my 17th), and I currently stand at three under par for the day. I'm facing a ten-foot putt to save a par and will have to play the par-four ninth hole to wrap up my opening round. I'm ready to start day two strongly! 

After I finish at Pebble in the morning, I'll head over to Spyglass Hill for my second round of the tournament. I really like that course and am ready to play well there. Keep it here for more updates, and thank you for your support!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Monterey Peninsula in Pictures

This place is incredible. I have done a good job staying focused on my work, but it is easy, and probably healthy, to get distracted by the natural beauty of my surroundings. I tee it up tomorrow in the first round of the AT&T National Pro-Am, and I am starting the tournament on the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links. My game is feeling great, and my mindset is going to be back on track this week. I am going to stay in the present, stay positive, enjoy myself thoroughly, and play some great golf here in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

















Sunday, February 2, 2014

Great Week; Ready for Pebble Beach

A lot of great stuff happened this past week. I did not have the grind-it-out type of week on the practice facilities that I have come to expect from myself, but I played golf on six different courses and had accomplished exactly what I needed. I have definitely been putting a little too much pressure on myself on the golf course, so this week, with my caddie's help, I focused on having a lot of fun while playing golf. We still got quite a bit of work done, too. 

Here are the headlines from the week: 

We played a fun match at Grayhawk Golf Club in Phoenix on Tuesday. On Tuesday evening, we road-tripped up to Las Vegas where we spent the next two days and played both TPC courses there. From Vegas, we traveled over to Southern California on Thursday evening, and I spent all day Friday out at the Titleist Performance Institute facilities. My time there was great. I have a few new elements to add into my workouts and I confirmed that my equipment is pretty darn good for me. From Southern California, we cruised up to the Monterey Peninsula on Saturday morning, and I played a practice round on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula Country Club that afternoon. Finally, on Sunday, Mikel and I met one of my great friends, Charlie Schorgl, for a fun-filled match at a great course called Pasatiempo. There were a couple of noteworthy things that occurred during the match on Sunday. First of all, Charlie and his partner, Rocky, out-dueled Mikel and I on the back nine in extra holes to take a sandwich off of us. In more exciting news, Mikel made his ninth hole-in-one with a perfect nine iron on the 145-yard 15th hole. It was a wonderful highlight to wrap up a great week!

This past week was a little bit out of character for me. I did not finish all of my Map Goals. In fact, I didn't even try to do so. I love to practice, and hard work on the golf course is never really "work" to me, but I needed to remember how much I enjoy just playing golf. I had a blast just playing golf this past week. Now I am in Pebble Beach for this week's Tour event, and it is back to work. I will get all of my Map Goals done this week, but when I'm out there on the course in the tournament, I will remember how much I enjoy just playing golf.

It's going to be a fantastic week. Please come back for updates from this beautiful place. Thank you for following me!


Visible Progress

I’ve been making a lot of invisible progress lately. By that, I mean that my scores have been consistently rather stinky, but beneath that,...