The Sony Open in Hawaii did not exactly go according to plan. Coming off a great week with a good result at the Tournament of Champions, I entered the week of the Sony with high expectations. I actually had a very nice week of practice and work, but I was never sharp on the course. I drove the ball erratically and struggled with my putter. Still, despite feeling like I was struggling, I posted scores of 69, 67 on the first two days and went to the weekend in position to make a positive move. I struggled mightily early in my round on Saturday, and though I came back to play my final nine holes in two under par, I posted a third-round 72 (+2). I was tied for 79th place after Saturday's round, and because so many people had made the cut, I was not allowed to play on Sunday. The Tour calls that an "MDF," which stands for "Made Cut, Did Not Finish." I still get credit for a made cut, but it was disappointing to play poorly on Saturday and not have the opportunity to compete in the final round. Even though it didn't always show during the tournament, I still had a nice week at the Sony Open and feel like I continued to improve.
From Hawaii we traveled to La Quinta, California, for the Career Builder Challenge. The Career Builder is the old Bop Hope Classic, and it is still a pro-am format where the first three days of competition take place over three different courses. I never felt like a played badly there in the California desert, but I made three costly mistakes and never got hot with the putter. I posted rounds of 68, 70, 70 for an eight-under-par total, but I finished the first three days tied for 71st. In other words, I missed the cut. I was extremely disappointed on Saturday afternoon because I felt like I was close to playing very good golf, and I really hated to not have a chance to go compete on Sunday. It's no fun to miss a cut, and I'm pretty sure I will always hate it, but nothing about my performance in the desert has me worried. I actually saw some bright moments with my driver during the event, and I know that I can clean up the costly errors I made. I wasn't far from playing well, and I'll get it clicking.
When I look back on the first three tournaments of the calendar year, I am really encouraged. From an outcome standpoint, I played ten rounds and accumulated a total of 27 under par. That's not great given the golf courses that I played, but 2.7-under-par per round is certainly not a bad statistic to build on moving forward. More importantly, when I look back over my practice log from the last three weeks, I see that I am doing good work, and I know that my game will keep progressing. Two specific things on which I am working very hard are my driving accuracy and my bunker play, and I'm happy to report that I saw some great signs in both of those areas during the last tournament. (Shout out to caddie Shane for the help in the bunkers!) I am proud of the way that I work and prepare, and I am confident that I will continue to achieve great things because of that. My first three tournament weeks of 2016 were a great start in that regard.
I'm excited to keep getting better. Having this week off will help me do that. I'm going to play a lot this year, and that is a privilege to which I am very much looking forward, but I know it is something I need to approach with a bit of caution. Shane had to talk me out of signing up for this week's event because I badly wanted to play. If I had, I would be starting the year with at least eight consecutive weeks of tournament play. I know I could handle that, but weeks off are valuable, and I have earned the right to pick my schedule. I am going to make this week valuable by charging up and being ready when Alicia and I travel to Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday.
Thank you for following me and believing in me. We are just getting started! Keep it here to enjoy the journey!
In case you missed it: Alicia and I hosted Inside the PGA Tour in Knoxville, and they did a nice job telling a little bit of our story. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Nr2LgxKnE&feature=youtu.be