Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chile Classic Round 2 & Process Goals Update

The joy of a victory is quickly extinguished by the misery of a missed cut. I'm still thrilled with the state of my game and to have emerged from the South American swing of the Tour schedule with a big win, but my week in Chile was cut short by a poor performance on Friday, and that stinks. I definitely still feel great about things, but I am quite disappointed with missing the cut here at the Chile Classic. 

My play in Thursday's opening round was some of the most solid ball-striking I've ever experienced. I felt totally in control. Had I putted well, I feel like I could have shot a very low score on Thursday. I'm not certain what happened on Friday. I came out and was just a little bit off from the beginning. I still hit the ball quite solidly, but didn't have the same control as I had on Thursday. Additionally, I continued to struggle with my putter. After playing bogey free golf on Thursday, I made five bogeys in Friday's round. The last of my bogeys came on the par-4 15th hole, and it knocked me back to two under par for the tournament. It was fairly clear that the cut-line would be four under par, so I knew what I had to do. I did a nice job of staying in the present and playing one shot at a time, and I actually executed quite well on the last three holes. I hit two good shots on the par-4 16th but my approach bounced some 25 feet past the hole and I two-putted for par. On the long par-3 17th, I stuffed my three hybrid in close to a back hole location and made a birdie. Then, on the watery but reachable par-5 18th, I hit a beautiful drive and a high fading three-wood over the water and onto the green. My ball settled roughly 60 feet behind the front hole location. I felt great over the first putt, but misjudged it and left it four feet short. From there I made a nervy stroke and pushed my birdie putt and it rolled over the right lip. It was extremely disappointing. I practice hard so that I'll be good in that situation, and less than a week ago in Brazil, I was dynamite on those "clutch" type of putts, but this week I didn't handle it well. I watched helplessly as the cut wavered between three and four under par all afternoon. With two groups still on the course, it looked as though I was going to sneak into the weekend, but it wasn't to be. The cut moved to four under with the second to last group of the day and stayed there, so I got this weekend off. And that stinks. 

There are still plenty of positives from this week. I really did hit the ball as well as I ever have on Thursday. It was a nice testament to the hard work I've done over the past several months. In fact, from a statistical standpoint, this was one of my better ball-striking weeks. On a fairly long golf course (7,400 yards, par 71), I hit 17 greens in regulation on Thursday and 13 on Friday. That's pretty good stuff. I wasn't hitting it close very often on Friday, but at least I was hitting it solidly. I won't leave here feeling terrible about my game--just motivated to keep getting better. 

Speaking of getting better, I need to say a few things about my Process Goals. First of all, I really like my Process Goals for this year. I think I have a great system, and I believe that it is working. Secondly, last week in Brazil was the final week of the second five-week segment of the year. During that five-week segment, I faced a week of snow and ice, a week of 30+ miles per hour wind everyday, and two weeks with extensive tournament delays. These factors all combined to create a very challenging environment for completing practice drills and workouts. I did not complete all of my Process Goals during the second five-week segment of the year, but I can honestly say that I put full effort into getting my work done every week. The good habits are still there, and that is very important. With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, I'm confident that I will get back on track completing all of my Process Goals moving forward. 

I am off to a good start. I decided early this week in Chile that I needed some rest, so I set out to complete a Light Fitness Routine and Light Practice Schedule. I have completed both, and it feels great. I am particularly pleased with getting my putting drills done. I struggled on the greens this week, but my putting has started to feel much better, so I feel great about that moving forward. 

I am going to make one modification to the Practice Goals within my Process Goals. My Goals currently state that during each five-week segment, I must complete three weeks of Full Practice Schedule and one week of Light Practice Schedule (and one week with No Practice Requirements). As an addition option, it is acceptable to do two weeks of Full Practice Schedule and three weeks of Light Practice Schedule during each five-week segment. Without lightening my total amount of practice, this option gives me more flexibility as my tournament volume increases. 

So that is where I am. It absolutely stinks to miss a cut, and I definitely am feeling a little bit of "down-ness" because of this week's result in Chile, but overall, I'm great. My game is still good. I'm excited about my process. I know that it works. And I can't wait to keep getting after it! I don't have to wait long to get back in action. Alicia and I are on a red-eye flight back to the USA tonight and we will be in Lafayette, Louisiana, by mid-day Monday getting ready for the next week's event on the Tour. 

There is more great stuff to come! Thank you for following me and for your support! 

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