Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thoughts Coming Soon from San Antonio

I'm doing some good thinking (and some hard practicing) this week in San Antonio, Texas, as I prepare for the Valero Texas Open. There is a lot going on in my head and with my golf game, but I'll process it all and will provide some good analysis before Thursday's opening round. Sorry for the lack of information on here in the past several days. A good report is coming very soon and so is great stuff on the course. Thank you for following me, and please come back for much more soon!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quick Post from the Mayhem

I'll write more tomorrow as I travel back to the States, but I just wanted to give a quick report from my short stay in Panama. My results were awful! I birdied the first hole of the tournament, and then was eight over par without a single birdie over the next 35 holes. Those are the facts, and they leave me with that terrible feeling of a weekend off from this tournament. I'm can honestly say, however, that I am thrilled with how this week has gone. I've had my very best practice of the year, and though the on-course results weren't even close to good, I feel great about my game. I'll give more analysis from this event and speak to what's coming next in a more-detailed post tomorrow, but for now just know that I'm feeling great despite the bum scores this week. Thank you for keeping up with me and for your support!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Panama Canal

I'm really pleased with the way things are feeling in my golf game. I still hit a few loose shots and wasn't nearly good enough with my putter in Thursday's opening round in Panama, but I am finally feeling like myself again mentally. I posted a first-round score of 72 (+2), but I'm too happy with the way my game and my practice are feeling to let that result get me down. Great things are coming very soon! 
 
The real highlight on Thursday was dinner at the Panama Canal. I didn't get to tour the museum because it closed before I got there, but I watched ships pass through the Miraflores Locks, and it was really cool. Here are a couple pictures that show the change in water level and one picture of boats going opposite directions in the Canal. 




Thank you for following me. Keep it here for good reports from Panama the next few days. 



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Prepared in Panama

There is not a whole lot that I need to add to the title of this post. I have had two very thorough and productive days of work to get ready for the Web.com Tour event in Panama. I feel like I know the course well and that my game is in great shape for it. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel prepared for this tournament. I get started at 7:55 Panama (Central) Time on Thursday morning. I plan to go visit the Panama Canal Thursday evening, so there is all sorts of exciting stuff going on here. Thank you for following me, and please come back for good reports from the golf course and maybe a cool picture or two from the Panama Canal!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Same Plan; New Commitment; Go Time

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few weeks about ways to make my Map Goals more palatable and more productive for me. With this in mind, I have made some changes to my short game practice goals which will allow me to be more process-oriented and also will encourage consistency in my practice. Additionally, I’ve made some simple changes to my fitness requirements that will allow me to keep doing the very “me-specific” exercises prescribed by my expert at the Titleist Performance Institute while also incorporating a little bit of the stuff I have always done. The purpose of all of my Map Goals is to help me have focused and intentional preparation so that I’ll be ready physically and mentally to perform in competition. I feel really good about the slight evolution that my Map Goals have taken this year. (By the way, though the list probably won’t appear much different, I will be publishing my updated goals in the “2014 Goals” tab located at the top of the page.)  

With all this thought about my Map Goals, I actually read through my Outcome Goals for the first time in a little while. Guess what? I’m not off to a perfect start to this year by any means, but I am still in great shape to achieve all of my goals. Reading those Outcomes Goals that I plan to achieve this year was very motivational, and I am ready to get to work to make them happen!

The key, though, is not focusing on the outcomes. When I say that I am motivated, I mean that I am motivated to take care of my process—to follow my MAP. I have learned over the last two and a half months that the PGA Tour is very challenging. The very best players in the world play where I play, but I have also learned without a doubt that when I do a good job of controlling the things that I can control, namely my preparation and my attitude, I belong at the highest level. When I take care of my process, I give myself a great chance to achieve every one of my goals.

So I need a re-dedication of sorts to my Map Goals. With the weather getting warmer (sorry to my friends still buried in snow) and the days getting longer, I commit to this updated list of goals and to being thoroughly prepared each and every time I hit the course in competition.

I absolutely love my job, so I am extremely pumped to get after this new commitment. As I said in my previous post, I will be in Panama City, Panama, this week competing on the Web.com Tour. I really have no idea what to expect in Panama, but I know that I’m going to have a great week of work and enjoy myself doing it!

Thank you very much for following me and for caring about my career. Keep it here for updates and news from Panama.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Back to Business After a Different Kind of Productive Week

There are a couple fairly logical reasons for this, but I've just completed a very unusual week of preparation for me. I played golf every day this past week, and had competitive matches six of those days, but I never even attempted to complete my practice drills. Airified greens at my main home course and some gusty afternoon winds made for conditions where on-course practice was my best option. I feel like I was productive, but I'm ready to get back to completing my Map Goals this week. My practice routine is very important to me, and I'm ready to re-establish some strong habits. 

I am going to update and re-publish my Map Goals to reflect the changes I made to my short game routine. I am also going to re-tool my fitness routine just a little bit. I'm excited to get after all of my work this week. 

I have an exciting opportunity, too. I didn't earn a spot in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, so I'm going to go play the Web.com Tour event in the Central American country of Panama. I'm ready to get back to my process and pumped to play more tournament golf. 

I'm going to put more thoughts and updated goals in writing during my travels, so please check back for an update from Panama early in the week. Thank you for keeping up with me! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Great Building Block in Puerto Rico

put another exclamation mark on what was a great week for me with a final-round 66 (-6) in the Puerto Rico Open. My only bogies in round four came from two uncharacteristic three-putts, and otherwise, I played some beautiful golf on Sunday. I birdied five of the first eight holes, but I also sprinkled in those two disappointing three-putt bogies in that opening stretch. The first bogey came at the opening hole, and I am proud of the way that I didn't let it set the tone for the day. For the third consecutive day, I played bogey-free golf on the back nine. I converted birdies on holes 13 and 16 before finishing the tournament with a bang by smoking a three wood onto the back of the par-five 18th green from outside of 270 yards. (Sure it was downwind and it ran about 20 yards, but it was a sweet shot for me.) I two-putted from the back fringe for a closing birdie, and I left the course happy with my Sunday effort. 

It was a great week overall. That final-round performance moved me up into a tie for 14th place, and after being one over par through 27 holes of the tournament, I am very pleased with that result. The thing that has me feeling the best is that I was comfortable and confident almost all week. Even as I was approaching the cut from the wrong side of the line on Friday, and when I was jockeying for every valuable position on the weekend, I rarely pressed. I simply committed to my process and enjoyed playing golf. From a mental standpoint this was my best tournament in months, and I am very excited to keep going in the correct direction in that regard. Not coincidentally, it was some of my best execution in a while as well. I can't wait to build on this week and keep moving forward. 

The news from Puerto Rico is not all great. My weekend charge came up a little bit short of landing me a spot in the top ten, which would have earned a spot in this week's event in Tampa. I am currently on a flight to Orlando and will be pegging it at 8:48 tomorrow morning in the Monday Qualifier for this week's event. I know that I am playing well enough to qualify, so I am planning to earn myself a spot in the field that way. 

Whether or not I get my next PGA Tour start this week, I know that I am ready to be successful at this level. I am very pleased with the tweaks to my Map Goals and I feel like my preparation in Puerto Rico was the best that I have had in a long time. From a practice standpoint, I completed all of my Map Goals except for one pesky three-footer drill that kept eluding me. All of my practice felt great and was very functional stuff. If I can maintain a great attitude and follow my Map, I know that will be successful on Tour. 

I still have a lot of improving to do, but this past week was a big step in the right direction. I need to continue to focus on the process. I feel really great right now, and even though I wish I was guaranteed to get into all these events in the coming weeks, I'm just going to enjoy playing and improving. I will be ready! And I'm going to earn myself another start in this week's Monday Qualifier. 

Thank you for following me and for your support. Keep it here for updates from sunny Florida! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ready for Round 4 in Puerto Rico

I didn't get very much out of my round on Saturday. I hit a lot of great shots, but on a day with nearly perfect scoring conditions, my round of 69 (-3) did little to help me climb the leaderboard. That's okay, though. I continued to focus on my process, and I am really pleased with the way that everything is going. All facets of my game feel on the brink of being sharp. I am currently in a tie for 42nd place, but a good Sunday round could do a lot for me. Come back in the evening for a final-round report and for a summary of the week. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Process Works!

In my first four events of 2014 on the PGA Tour, I spent a lot of my rounds on Thursdays and Fridays on the correct side of the cut-line, only to let mental and/or execution mistakes hurt me and keep me from playing the weekend. This week in Puerto, the cut-line fell at one under par, and I was never once under par at all during the first 32 holes of the tournament. For the first time all year, however, I was calm and confident throughout the first two rounds. In Friday's second round, I certainly knew that I would need to make some birdies on the back nine in order to make the cut, but I just continued to go through my process. I hit two very long shots for me on the par-five 15th hole and converted a tricky green-side up-and-down for birdie and then birdied the final two holes as well to post a second-round 68 (-4) to reach three under par at the halfway mark. It is great to have good results in a situation when I really needed them, but I honestly did a good job of not obsessing over the outcome of my shots. I simply tried to come up with a good plan every time. I felt a lot more like myself than I have in the past two months, and that is exciting stuff.

Now, let me be honest. I'm currently tied for 47th place through two rounds of this week's event. It's not like I have it all figured out all the sudden. I still have to get a lot better, but I feel like my mental game is back to a state from which I can be very successful. In addition to that, some slight adjustments to my practice schedule in my Map Goals (which, by the way, I still need to update here on my blog) have really seemed to be a great adjustment and have made my practice more realistic and functional. From both a preparation standpoint and a mental standpoint, this has been my best tournament week thus far in 2014, and I know that I can continue to improve in all aspects of my game.

Speaking of improving, if I stick to my game plan, I can improve my standing in this week's event a lot over the next two days. I tee off at 10:05 in Saturday's round, and I'll be ready to go. Keep it here for good reports from the weekend. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bad Score, Good Feelings in Round 1

I am having a great week here in Puerto Rico. Today I posted a disappointing opening-round score of 73 (+1), but my game felt pretty good on the course, and I had an excellent afternoon of practice following my round. I still hit too many lousy shots, and wasn't as solid as I would like to be on the greens, but I felt good all day. Good results are coming in the very near future, and it wouldn't surprise me if that means over the next three rounds! I'm not going to worry about the results, though. I'm sticking with my plan: take care of the process and let the results happen. I tee off at 12:40 Puerto Rico time on Friday. Come back for a good report in the evening. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ready in Puerto Rico

Regardless of what happens on the course this week, I'm back. My preparation for this week's PGA Tour event, the Puerto Rico Open, has been fantastic, and I feel truly ready for the first time all year. That doesn't guarantee that I will have good results on the course, but it certainly increases my probabilities. I am focusing on the process, and I'm going to let the results fall where they may. 

My practice this week has been great. The only concern I have right now is that I woke up feeling a little under the weather on Wednesday morning. I had a light but thorough day of practice and am still feeling a little off this evening, but I'll be ready for my 8:00 a.m. tee time Thursday morning. That means it's bedtime now, though! Thank you for following and please come back for reports throughout the week.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Back to Me

My golf is definitely not off to the start for which I had hoped in 2014. A big part of the problem is that I haven't been at my best physically. I've not driven the ball consistently well; I've struggled with my iron play; and my putting has been very below average for me. These physical shortcomings have led to an even bigger problem, however. I've gotten down on myself mentally and have been pressing to get better results. This past week at the eGolf event, I had a revelation. I've never been the most talented guy physically. It has always been the intangibles that have allowed me to excel. I'm still not playing my best golf right now, but I am going to recapture the mental game, attitude, and commitment to preparation that have always given me an advantage. I'm going to get back to being me in a few different areas, and I'm going to let my process get me to the results I want. 

The first area where I need to get back to being me is obvious: my mental game. I have let myself become results-oriented lately and therefore have been pretty darn negative because of my lack of results. The fix for this is easy for me. I am going to really commit to my process and believe in it. If I follow my Map Goals and maintain a good attitude, I know that I am doing everything I can to control the results. I'm going to get back into my process and let the results take care of themselves. 

I need to get back to being me with my golf swing as well. I've never been a technical player, but there are two major keys that have always helped me hit the ball my best. I have to have good width in my backswing and make a smooth transition into my downswing. If I remember these two things and keep everything else very simple, I know that I can find "that lovin' feeling" with my ball-striking again very soon. 

Finally, I need to start being me again with my practice. I have revised my Short Game Map Goals to make them more process-oriented and to more closely mirror what I was doing last year. I am going go base my short game practice on what I have called "Proximity Sets". A Proximity Set consists of hitting three balls within a predetermined total distance from a target. This kind of practice demands consistency and also puts a little pressure on the shots. I have made a couple of other modifications to the Short Game section of my Map Goals and will also update my Fitness goals. My practice and preparation routine has always set me up for success, and I'm going to get back to it.

I use the word "excited" a lot here on my blog, but right now, I am very excited. I'm also realistic. My physical skills are not in sync right now, but I feel like I have a great plan in place. I'm going to get back to being me. I'm going to take care of my process. I'm going to have a lot of FUN. 

By the way, I'm back in action on the PGA Tour this week in the Puerto Rico Open. How cool is it that I'm on the PGA Tour?!

Thank you for supporting me and believing in me. I believe in myself, too! Keep it here for updates and news from Puerto Rico. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Back to What I Do

This week has been great for me. After not getting into the PGA Tour event in Florida, I traveled up to Hilton Head Island to play on the eGolf Professional Tour at a course called Palmetto Hall. I definitely do not have my "A"-game right now, or anything even close to that, but I got back to my style of play this week, and despite hitting the ball atrociously on a demanding golf course, I put together a couple of decent rounds. I opened with an even-par round of 72 in very rainy conditions, and after starting my second round with a bogey on the easy par-five 10th hole, I played a good round and posted a round-two 69. My final round was thwarted by an absolutely horrific swing and a ridiculous brain cramp which combined to lead to a quadruple bogey on the third hole. I battled hard and managed six birdies in the final round, but was simply too inconsistent to sustain any kind of comeback. I posted a final-round 75. None of those scores are great; and my 15th placd finish in this small-field mini-tour event is certainly nothing to be excited about; and I hit the ball like garbage all week; but I felt some really good stuff going on out there as well. It was really fun to play tournament golf, and I am excited to go build on some of the things I felt on the course.

The first thing I tried to do this week was relax and have fun the whole time on the course. It is no fun making quadruple bogeies or hitting the ball terribly, but I kept my attitude in the right place all week and did smile a lot. I am ready to carry that attitude with me into this week's PGA Tour event in Puerto Rico. Even though I am struggling mightily with my ball-striking, I am going to stay relaxed and trust my short game, putting, and all the hard work I am doing. It is going to be a great week!

I am going to try to get back to some of the things I was thinking about and doing last summer and fall. I am traveling to Puerto Rico on Sunday night, and when I get there on Monday I will have a new plan of action going forward. That new plan will feature a lot of the elements that were a part of my everyday routine last summer. Please come back early next week for some exciting new thoughts. 

Thank you for following me and for offering your support and encouragement. I can tell that most of you are rooting hard for me, and I really appreciate that!

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,...