Here is the truth: I still face severe cut anxiety. I have focused strongly on my mental game, and I really feel like my routine is healthy and powerful, but I still let anxiety from the cut line dictate my mood on the golf course sometimes. This week, I played some of the best golf of my life in the middle of my opening round. I had battled back from a rough start over the first four holes and was four-under-par through 16 holes. I didn't do anything terribly wrong, but I bogeyed the last two holes of that first round. Given the great golf that I was playing, it should have been no big deal, but after that poor finish, I immediately allowed thoughts of the cut line to dominate my mind. When I teed it up on Friday, I still felt prepared physically to play well, but I definitely had anxiety in my thoughts. I was executing my shots very well, but a misjudged lie on the third hole led to a bogey, and that brought the anxiety to the front of my mind. I stayed committed to my pre-shot routine and still hit a lot of quality shots, but rather than playing with confidence, freedom, and trust, I played with fear for the rest of the day. That fear caused me to feel uncomfortable over some big shots and kept me from delivering the great skills I have worked so hard to develop. It is very hard for me to admit these mental shortcomings, but from this place of honesty with myself, I can make a great plan and move forward to be better.
Here is another truth: The success of my golf career is never dependent upon any single week. I have long held the belief that steady improvement will ultimately lead to the achievement of all of my goals in golf. Therefore, the thing that I fear the most -- a missed cut -- is really nothing to fear at all. Neither my unspoken goal of steady improvement nor any of my written goals are impacted by a missed cut. But, I have allowed a missed cut to symbolize failure to me. In reality, the only way I can fail at golf is if I stop improving. My success will be defined by a long-term process of continuing to hone my mental and physical skills. I know that I have a great plan in place for long-term success, and I am not going to let the cut line control me.
Whether I am near the cut line on the first two days, coming down the stretch with a chance to win, or battling to climb from the middle of the pack, I want to approach my golf shots with the optimism that comes from knowing I am on a successful path. To help me in times when negativity and fear are trying to overtake my thoughts, I am going to keep a reminder in my golf bag of all the reasons I can hit every shot with confidence, freedom, and trust. I have worked way too hard and am on way too good of a trajectory to let fear of anything control my thoughts on the golf course.
I am still disappointed with what happened this week. I think I might have needed this reminder, though. I still believe in my plan. I am going to continue to prepare well and to play with confidence, freedom, and trust. The only difference is that I will have a reminder in my golf bag to make sure that I do so even when things seem difficult. I still believe that all of my goals are attainable, and I know that I will continue to improve. A missed cut is a set back. It does stink. But, it is not something to be afraid of, and it will not derail my progress.
I believe that great things are in store in the very near future, and I know that great things are in store in the long-term. Thank you very much for believing in me and supporting my career. Please keep it here to enjoy the progress with me.