Two weeks ago I was off from competition. I did a little bit of everything, though. I traveled to Orlando for a day and a half and spent some good time with Mitchell. I also had some good practice home in Knoxville and spent a great morning with Jake Reeves emphasizing some of the keys that have had me playing so well this year. I completed my Light Practice Schedule that week, and though it wasn't my most thorough week of golf, I felt good about the work that I did. Off of the course, I had a fantastic week of workouts and completed my Full Fitness Routine. I even got some extra workouts in as Alicia and I re-arranged some furniture in our house. That was fun, and I'm actually pretty excited about the finished product. But, getting back to golf, I feel like I had a productive week off and was excited heading into last week's event.
The Web.com Tour was in greater-Greenville, South Carolina, last week for the BMW Charity Pro-Am. It was my first time playing the event, but I knew that the format mirrored that of the PGA Tour's Pebble Beach Pro-Am in that each professional is paired with an amateur or celebrity for the tournament rounds and the tournament takes place on three different golf courses. Pro-Ams can be fun, and this one was, but it makes for a very very long week having to learn three different courses and then playing six-hour plus rounds during the competition. I decided early in the week that I was going to use my week off from practice requirements and have just a light week of fitness. By the time I got to Wednesday afternoon, it was clear that I wasn't even going to complete a Light Fitness Routine. I did all of my stretching for the week and one light workout on the Thursday evening, but that was it. Not completing my Fitness Routine is bad, but for this particular week, I can justify it. It was a grueling seven days.
As for the golf, I have to say that my performance contributed to the grueling nature of the week. I felt good heading into the tournament, but after a solid start on Thursday, I started to misfire badly. It began with the driver and eventually bled into all of my clubs. I was just hitting the ball way off line, and it made me work very hard on golf courses that should have been quite score-able. Fortunately, I sprinkled stretches of stellar play in with my erratic shots, so I was able to stay in the tournament. I'll share just a few of the highlights and nightmares. I hit two balls out of bounds on my 16th hole during the first round and made an eight on a very short par four. The errant tee shots were definitely lousy, but they were as much the result of poor preparation as they were poor execution. However, after suffereing the quadruple bogey, I came back and birdied the next hole--a 220-yard par thre. So after posting a very poor one-over-par 73 in round one, I moved on to the tournament's "host" course for round two. I birdied the first two holes and felt like I was ready to play great before having a bit of a rocky stretch through the middle of the front nine. I continued to battle, though, and after going birdie-eagle on holes 15 and 16, I found myself at six under par for the round. I quickly bogied the final two holes, however, to limp home with a four-under-par 67. As I began round three, I knew I needed a great score to make the 54-hole cut. I was determined not to think about that because I simply wanted to have a great plan and execute one shot at a time. I again birdied the first two holes and felt great, but my erratic play was far from over. A couple of horrific shots and some poor putting had me back to just even par for the round through ten holes, and making the cut seemed far-fetched. My mind wondered to a bad place, and I once again found myself obsessing over making the cut. My trusty caddie, Alicia, came to the rescue with a very appropriate pep talk and got me back on track. I needed the help of a couple of long putts, but I played the final eight holes in five under par--including an eagle on my 14th hole and a perfect nine iron to one foot on my 17th hole--to reach eight under par for the tournament and make the cut on the number. It was a great feeling to dig myself out of some negative thought patterns and achieve something good. So, I was on to the final round, and unfortunately, it was more of the same pattern from the week. I had a fantasitc start with birdies on holes 2-5 to stand at four under par through five holes. I proceeded to hit two absolutely horrific shots over the next three holes, however, and gave a couple of shots back. I fought hard and grabbed two more birdies on the back nine and had two reach-able par fives ahead. Unfortunately, I lost my steam, and once again limped badly home with pars on the two par fives and a pair of bogeys on 17 and 18. It was disappointing to finish on a downer note, but it was appropriate given the up and down nature of the week. I was definitely closer to bad than good throughout the four tournament days last week, but I still managed to do enough good things to be around all week with a chance at doing something good.
My overall analysis of my performance at the BMW Charity Championship is that I feel like I was playing badly, and I still shot eleven under par for the week and finished tied for 41st in a field of 168 pros. That's not all bad, and it means that if I can continue to do the things that I did well and eliminate some of the errant shots, that I will be right back where I want to be. So I am highly encouraged!
As a cool side-note, my amateur partner was actor Lucas Black. Luke and I were buddies during my college days at Mizzou, so it was cool to play with an old friend. I made a lot of birdies and two eagles during the week, so I helped Luke's cause a little bit, but as I was limping in on Sunday, he played the final four holes in three under par (four under par with his handicap), including a dramatic birdie (net eagle) on the final hole to win the Pro-Am portion of the competition! It was really fun to be a part of that!
Now it's time to get back to being me. I don't regret anything about the practice or fitness routines I put in last week because it was an exhausting week and energy conservation was a big part of preparation. With that said, I did not pass my three part standard of success last week. That standard is: Have I prepared properly for this week's event? Did a commit to a smart plan on every shot? Did I hit every shot with the belief that I could win the tournament? Obviously, I don't literally mean that I should be thinking I can win the tournament when I'm twelve shots back and have only four holes to play, but I should approach each shot with the mindset that I still can accomplish a lot and achieve something positive. This past week, I feel that I was lazy in my practice rounds, which affected my ability to have a smart plan on every shot, and also feel that I hit several shots thinking about the cut-line and the money list rather than winning the tournament and doing my best. So I would have to say that this past week did not meet my standard of success. I am motivated to get out there and do better!
I'm excited moving forward. I have this week off from competition, and it is my last one for quite a while. I am ready to have a Full week of fitness and a Full week of practice. I'm already off to a good start as I had a great afternoon or work yesterday.
Despite what I would call a poor week last week, I still feel really good about the state of my game. I feel like I am playing well and am really enjoying playing and practicing. I woke up this morning and went in my work room, and I wrote down a few motivational points. Some of these align with the goals I published at the beginning of the year, and some of these are simply thoughts to keep me pushing forward, but here is what I wrote:
I am ready to get after it!
Thank you for following me and for caring about my progress. I appreciate your support! Keep it here as I continue to work towards my goals. More great stuff is coming--and I'm going to share about it more often on here!