Despite the struggle that the past two and a half month have been for me in tournaments, I really am feeling good about my golf game. My golf swing has developed so much, and it is feeling great. I'm proud of the work that I have done over the past 18 months and especially proud of the improvements I have made just within the past two months. I feel like my swing and my ball-striking are more consistent right now than they have ever been. My practice at home this week has continued to confirm those positive feelings. In addition, my wedge play, short game, and putting are all showing signs of being at the level where I expect them. My practice has been feeling really good, and physically, I feel ready to deliver great performance in all areas of my game.
I've definitely had shortcomings in all areas of my game over the past two-plus months, but I think a poor mindset has been an umbrella over all of it. Since my win in the fall and my encouraging start to 2016 at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, I've raised my own expectations and put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself. After a couple of poor performances, rather than just reminding myself that golf is hard and bad results are going to happen sometimes, I responded by putting even more pressure on myself to "validate" my good play early in the season. Those feelings of pressure reached the pinnacle during my back-nine collapse last week in Houston in which I fell from being in contention to missing the cut over the last nine holes on Friday. This week at home, Alicia and I have been working together to re-set my mindset to a more healthy place. We've had some great talks and she's led me through a couple of exercises to help me view the past couple months in a more realistic way. Some highlights from our talks have been remembering that my win on the PGA Tour was the product of the same hard work that I am still doing; it wasn't lightning in a bottle. She also helped me remember that a slump is just part of the territory over the course of a long golf career. There is no meaning to a rough stretch of results. I've always tried to hold a "long-term view" of success, and she helped me remember that a slump doesn't do anything to affect long-term success. We also re-watched the documentary from the 2015 World Series in which our beloved Kansas City Royals won despite trailing at some point in all five games of the series. The Royals overcame 30 years of "slump", the agony of losing game seven of the World Series in 2014, doubts and naysayers from all over the baseball world, and a deficit in every single game of the 2015 Series to emerge as the Champions. Perhaps the only people who believed in the Royals were the Royals themselves, but that was enough. I know that I am fortunate to have a lot of people who believe in me, and I am truly going to believe in me, too! The basic summary point from all of our talks about mindset comes back to a simple reminder that my life is amazing, I am doing all the right things, and when I tee it up in a tournament, I can whole-heartedly tell myself: "Don't worry; have fun; play with Freedom."
I am going to live by that motto. I'm so thankful for the great life that I have, and I love what I do every day. Even during the times when it is hard, I love that I get to go to the golf course for my job. And I'm good at my job, too, so I'm going to keep doing things right, and I'm going to enjoy the process.
Thank you very much for following me and caring about my career. Please keep it here for more updates from Hilton Head Island next week at the RBC Heritage. I'm going to go soak up a couple more days at home right now. After all, this could be the last time for the next few decades that I have off the first week in April...