Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cut(s)

I'm going to talk about the elephant in my golfing mind. I am really tired of talking about, writing about, thinking about, and worrying about the cut line at golf tournaments. Mostly though, I'm sick of missing the cut. When I first turned professional, having to survive a 36-hole cut at tournaments was the biggest difference from my college golf experience. It took me a while to get used to it, and I missed a lot of cuts my first year. During that year though, I learned to replace the "make-the-cut" thoughts in my head with simple "play-good-golf" thoughts, and for a three-year stretch from 2011 through 2013, I did just that quite a lot and missed very few cuts. This year, for a number of reasons, I missed a few cuts early in the year and my thoughts have spiraled all the way back to where they were when I was a newly-turned professional golfer worrying about making cuts. My game hasn't been sharp all year, and therefore, I have found myself lingering around the cut-line a lot on Thursdays and Fridays. In these situations, I have found myself thinking about the cut, which puts even more stress on my already not-as-sharp-as-I-want-it golf game. It all adds up to a recipe for struggles, and I have cooked up plenty of those this year. 

This past week fit that mold perfectly. The second event of the Web.com Tour Finals was at River Run Country Club, a course that I know and really like, and I was ready to play well. On Thursday, I did play well, but a few errant drives and a luke-warm putter led to an opening-round 71 (-1), and I sat in a tie for 45th place heading into Friday. I opened Friday's round with seven consecutive pars and definitely was thinking about staying ahead of the cut-line. A tense swing on the par-three 17th hole (my eighth of the day) resulted in a terrible tee shot that kicked out of bounds. I made a triple-bogey, and though I played hard the rest of the way, the damage was done. I ended up posting a second-round 75 and fell three shots outside the cut. It was a really disappointing feeling to head home early from a course where I have such fond memories. 

Here comes the good news! These first two paragraphs are about the past. This is the first time all year I've actually talked about all of my missed cuts. It stinks to miss cuts, and I hate having weekends off in my line of work, but I can do something about it. Poor play and missed cuts are going to happen from time to time, but, as I've already shown in 2011-2013, with the right mindset, they don't have to happen to much. The right mindset is one in which the focus is on playing good golf and trying to win tournaments. I can and will get back to thinking that way! 

The other good news is that my not-as-sharp-as-I-want-it golf game is coming around. All year I have shown deficiencies in every area of my game, but over the last several weeks, my practice has greatly improved. I still haven't put all the elements together in the same round, but I have seen bright spots from all areas of my game in my last three golf tournaments. I am definitely getting some of my confidence back, and I thoroughly believe that I am good enough to compete at the highest level of professional golf. 

So yes, there is definite frustration in this post, but in letting out that frustration, I find much more optimism. I am really good at this golf stuff. I know how to practice and the right way to think, and, though I haven't necessarily been doing both this year, I'm going to get back on track. 

I'm back in action this week at the third event of the Web.com Tour Finals in Columbus, Ohio. I'm going to prepare well and get myself in position to win a golf tournament. Thank you for continuing to believe in me! Keep it here for updates from Ohio! 

2 comments:

  1. Interesting hearing about your cut thoughts. I am not a pro but do have a few pro friends that I have actually never talked with them about the mentality of the cut. I want to see what they say about this ideal. Good luck to you Peter!

    Eric Crawford
    http://golftourney.com
    http://tournamentpros.com

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