Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Feeling Positive at Colonial

I played my final ten holes last week in three under par. That did nothing to affect my fate at the Byron Nelson Championship; my first 26 holes had me well out of any thoughts of making it to the weekend. Still, after struggling mightily in tournament play lately, I was determined to get some positive results, and I did that. Those last ten holes actually allowed me to post a one-under-par round of 69 on Friday at the Nelson, and though that is certainly not a great accomplishment, it felt really good. I have felt that my game is better than the scores lately, and I saw a glimpse of that on Friday in Dallas. I am excited to build on those late holes from last week.

The Tour has moved just down the road to Fort Worth this week and the famed Colonial Country Club. I am inspired. This is one of the classic courses on Tour. Tree-lined fairways, great bunkering, and bermuda grass rough demand placement over power. The course presents a strong and fair test, and I am ready to tackle it.

There's no two ways around the fact that my results have been disappointing lately, but I'm doing all the right things. I sat down over the weekend to honestly analyze what has been causing the disparity between how I feel about my game and the scores I have been shooting. I think it boils down to a couple of main things. I have been putting very poorly and have been hitting a few shots that are just atrocious. I'm following a disciplined practice routine with my putter, and I'm confident that my brilliance on the greens will shine as bright as ever in the near future. As for the occasional yucky shots, I am working to tidy those. I am hitting the ball more solidly than ever right now, and this week I have really focused on reigning in my misses. I have been intentional with my practice, and, as I said earlier, I know I am doing the right things. I will keep doing them, and the results will come.

I am excited to play this week. Challenges will exist. The course presents some tough holes. The weather promises to bring tough conditions and potentially distracting delays. The negative thoughts that accompany a slump will be present. I am ready for all of those challenges. I am also ready for the challenge of making good decisions and executing a good game plan coming down the stretch with a chance to win a tournament. There is a lot of work between now and making that situation a reality, but I am ready for that, and it could happen this week. I am excited to go play.

I have put in the work and will continue to do so. Now it's time to go live my motto: Don't worry, have fun, play with Freedom. I'm going to get after it!

Thank you for following me and for your support. Keep it here for reports from Colonial.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rut

Prior to stepping away from golf with his back surgeries last Fall, I can remember Tiger Woods telling the media time and time again after disappointing rounds that he was "close to playing well." I would think to myself, "no, Tiger, you're not." He seemed all over the place and lost--quite the opposite of "close." I'm starting to have some sympathy for him now because I feel very close to playing well, but my recent results do not exactly hint that great play is hiding just around the corner. On a rain-softened golf course here at the Byron Nelson that was yielding great scores on Thursday, I posted a birdie-free, seven-over-par round of 77. That sounds closer to playing in the second flight of a club tournament than it does to contending on the PGA Tour. Still, I truly do believe that I am close to playing well.

That belief is not blind optimism. There are positive signs despite my egregious scores lately. I am driving the ball well. In fact, I hit 11 fairways just today in the first round of this tournament. My  iron play is there in practice, and I hit some good ones in the tournament, too, but even with my good ones, I haven't been able to dial it in close to the hole. I definitely feel like my full swing is better now than it has ever been, but clearly I need to get things synced a little bit better. The weakest part of my game lately has been my putting. It has actually been downright awful in my last three tournament rounds. I know that to be successful on Tour, I have to be an above-average putter. The good news is that I am; I just haven't been lately. Much like with my iron play, however, my putting is feeling good in practice, and I know that performance fluctuates, so I am confident that I will get it going in a good direction here soon. Again, I feel like I am close.

I'm just in a rut right now. My game is still in there; it's just hiding at the moment. In fact, once I get it going, I believe I'm poised to play the best golf of my life. My process is all about steady improvement over time, and my plan works. I'm not changing. I'll keep getting better, and I will get out of this rut.

I'm going to have some fun on Friday in the second round of this tournament. I have no expectations to make the cut--a feat which will likely require a score of 60 or better--but I do think that I can climb out of my rut with a solid round. My scores lately don't indicate it, but I'm telling you, I'm close!

Thank you for keeping up with me and for your support. Great stuff is coming!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Quick Step Back

I am frustrated with my poor results lately. There is no doubt about that. I work really hard on my game, and it feels bad to play poorly for an extended period. In the last 11 weeks, I have played nine PGA Tour events and made just one cut. That is not good.

I want to take a look at this from a different perspective, though. Three years ago in May, I was a mini-tour player with a big plan to Monday-Qualify my way onto the Web.com Tour. Two years ago in May, I was a completely overwhelmed and over-matched PGA Tour rookie. Last year in May, I was on the Web.com Tour playing well and earning my way back to the PGA Tour. This year in May, I am a PGA Tour winner who presently happens to be in a bit of a slump. Now that seems like a healthier way to look at things than that first paragraph.

I struggle to think this way when I'm mired in stretch of disappointing play, but when I take a step back and see a broader perspective, I know that I am doing great. My "big-picture" trend of improvement and accomplishment is incredible; and I have the work-ethic and attitude to ensure that it continues.

Since my last post, I have played two events. I prepared really well for both and felt good heading into them, but the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow and The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass ended for me after 36 holes. The results disappoint me, but my game is showing some encouraging signs each week. At a long and wet Quail Hollow course, I struggled off the tee and left myself too much work to do around the greens. At The Players Championship, I felt that my full swing was as proficient as it has ever been, but I struggled around and especially on the greens. My practice has been feeling good in all of these areas, though, so I know that I will get things clicking soon.

I am currently soaking up a few quick days at home. I will fly Wednesday morning to Dallas for the Byron Nelson Championship this week. I truly am excited to have the opportunity to keep playing. Great things are in store, and I am pumped for a busy summer.

One last note: I haven't blogged much lately. I guess I haven't really felt like it. I want, and even need, to do more of it. Sharing my thoughts on here is cathartic for me. It helps me process things more healthily. I say this simply to hold myself accountable for using this valuable tool more.

Thank you very much for following and caring about my career. I really appreciate the support. Keep it here for reports(!) from Dallas.

Catching Up on a Positive Last Month

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