Monday, August 24, 2015

Knoxville Wrap-up

I did three loads of laundry last night (Sunday) at my house in Knoxville, Tennessee. Doing laundry at the end of a tournament week is nothing unusual, but this time it was a little bit different. It felt symbollic, almost. I washed everything: light clothes, dark clothes, and every golf towel that was in my bag or car. I needed to wash away the attitude that I carried around the course with me over the weekend in my hometown event. I am disappointed with the way that I played over the final 28 holes of the Tour's Knoxville Open, but it's not the results that left me feeling like I needed to metaphorically wash the weekend. I was very poor mentally over the final two rounds, and that stinks. The good news is that I control my thoughts, so even though I can't change the past, I can learn from it, wash the negativity away in the laundry, and move forward strongly. 

I am ready to do just that, but first, just to give it some closure, let me talk about what went wrong over the past two days. I entered the week with a pretty good attitude. I knew the course suited me well and that I was coming off a great week of practice. I also knew that it was going to be a busy week for me with a lot of great but potentially distracting hometown obligations, so I had a nice mix of confidence and caution in my mind heading into the tournament. After the first 44 holes, however, the caution was gone. I was playing great. Despite a very cold putter, I birdied 12 of the first 44 holes and made just a single bogey. In the beginning stages of Saturday's round, I was hitting the ball so well that I felt certain I would get the putter going, and I just felt like the tournament was mine to win. I got ahead of myself for sure, and my putting never did come alive. I missed consecutive six-foot putts for birdies on the 12th and 13th holes on Saturday, and I began to get impatient and furious. On the following hole, I rammed a 15-foot birdie putt four feet past the hole and missed the ensuing bid for par. I carried that rage to the next hole, and though I tried to have a good plan for my approach shot, I didn't commit well enough to my smart strategy, and I over-curved my iron shot towards the left hole location and watched as my ball one-hopped into the pond left of the green. I really let my thoughts get away from me in that stretch. I was determined to have a better attitude for Sunday's final round, but I still wanted it too badly on the course. I was results-oriented early, and I found myself getting angry with every shot that didn't go perfectly and especially with every putt that missed. I was impatient, frustrated, and angry for the majority of my time over the final 28 holes of the tournament, and that stems from being results-oriended. I didn't feel like myself. I wasn't having fun. And that is why those three loads of laundry were symbollic for me. I washed away that impatient, results-oriented, no-fun way of thinking. 

I know how to think well on the golf course. For me, thinking well starts with feeling prepared. The reason that I commit to my Process Goals each week is to know that I am prepared when I hit the course in competition. From there, the key element to my on-course mental strategy is being firmly rooted in the present. Anger and frustration are focused on the past, and a results-oriented mindset is worried about the future. When I let my mind live in the past or the future, it negatively affects my ability to do my job in the present. My job is to deliver focus on each and every shot. I need to take in all the information pertaining to each shot, formulate a smart plan, visualize the shot, feel the shot, and then trust that process as I start my swing. This may sound tedious, but it is actually very freeing, and golf is the most fun when I play in that state of mind. If I can truly go through that process and arrive at a genuine sense of trust before I start my swing or stroke, then I don't need to worry about the results. Anyone who has ever played golf knows that the results will not be good every time, but if I commit to that process and believe in it, I give myself the greatest possibility to be successful over every shot. That is thinking well on the golf course. 

One last thought on this subject: the results do matter; of course they do! My livelihood depends on the results. But I don't have full control over the results. I only control my process. If I give each shot a very present-minded focus and go through my process well, I know that I will be successful in the end. I also know that I will be at peace and have a lot of fun, too! So, yes, of course the results matter, but I know that the way to achieve the results I want is to focus on, be committed to, and believe in my process. 

By the way, here are the results from the weekend that felt like a personal catastrophe while it was happening. I posted rounds of 67, 66, 71, 72 (-8, total) and finished tied for 34th. Disappointing? Yes. Troubling? Absolutely not. 

I also rallied late in the week after a slow start to complete a Light Fitness Routine and Light Practice Schedule. That keeps me on track to complete all of my Process Goals for this segment, but I need to have two good weeks of work over the next 14 days. I'm ready for it!

Alicia and I travel today for Portland, Oregon, and the final Tour event of the regular season. I've heard the golf course this week (Pumpkin Ridge) is a solid and demanding track. I'm going to have a great six days there, and I'm going to blog about it throughout the week this time. It's amazing how writing stuff on here helps me internalize my thoughts, so expect more updates moving forward. 

Keep it here to share this journey with me. Thank you very much for following me and for your support. I am excited and know that great things are coming!

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