I'm sorry for the long time it's been since my last post. I want to do a better job of updating my blog more consistently. I know that some of you really enjoy following me on here, and I appreciate that very much. Now I have a bit of time away from competition, but I will use this time wisely, and I will report occasionally during the break to keep you posted.
Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of positive news to share since my last post. I started the event in Mexico with a 9 on the par-four opening hole and proceeded to play my way to an eight-over-par through five holes start. I played the next 31 holes in two-under-par and felt really good about my efforts, but never seriously threatened the cutline after my poor start. From Mexico, I traveled to Sea Island, Georgia, for the final event of Fall Series. I did a lot of things well in Georgia, but a poor performance on the greens and a triple-bogey finish to my opening round doomed my hopes of the weekend. I finished the first 36 holes at one under par, four strokes away from the five-under-par cutline.
I guess in a way it was a fitting way to close the competition schedule for me in 2016. It's not that I feel down about my game or my prospects for the future, but my results this year were just pretty lousy. After beginning the year with a great showing at the winner's only field in Maui, my expectations went through the roof, but my performance didn't follow. I struggled mightily, and though I'm very proud of the work I did throughout the year, I managed to crack the top 25 only one time after the Tournament of Champions in 2016. So, to end the year with a two more disappointing results sadly kind of fits.
That is a very negative sounding paragraph. It's important for me to note that I'm not discouraged about my game. I actually feel really good about some of the progress I made this year, even if it never really started to show in my results. I worked really hard on my golf swing, and the benefits of that are starting to show. I began to drive the ball much better late in the year. That is incredibly encouraging. My iron play was never very good in 2016, but I definitely improved the strike that I get on the ball. My accuracy and distance control were not sharp, but the solidity of contact with my irons improved a lot over the year. These things are very positive, and I feel really good about the direction my game is heading.
After showing steady improvement each year during my mini-tour days in 2010-2012, my last four years have been more volatile. I had an amazingly successful year in 2013 during which I rose from a mini-tour player with no status to winning on the Web.com Tour and earning a PGA Tour Card by the end of the year. Then in 2014, I had a bit of step backwards as I posted very poor results but gained valuable experience on the PGA Tour. In 2015, I had an incredible year that included a win on the Web.com Tour in March and then my maiden PGA Tour victory in November. My 2016 campaign was a definite letdown from the year which preceded it, but, again, I feel like I learned some valuable lessons. I am ready to keep my trend of the last four years going, and that means that 2017 will be a big year for me!
There are two main lessons from 2016 that I will carry with me going forward. The first is not to let my expectations supersede the joy I get from simply playing golf. After holding my own and playing well in Maui, I began to get frustrated much more easily when my performances didn't immediately stack up to my higher expectations. I played my way into a highly frustrated state and temporarily lost some of pure love that I have for playing. The second lesson is that sometimes a week or two off might be the best way to halt a slump. I kept trying to play through my struggles, and I probably played too much. I have no problem playing several weeks in a row when things are going well, but I learned that trying to play week after week after week (after week after week after week after week, in my case a couple times) is not a healthy way to respond to a rough stretch.
I still feel good. 2016 wasn't the year I wanted to it to be, but it wasn't a wasted year either--far from that, actually. Though my results didn't show it, I improved in a lot of ways in 2016. I'm excited to have a little bit of an off-season, and I'll use it to continue to improve and to get ready for a great year in 2017. I still believe my best golf is ahead of me, and there is a lot of it to come over the next few decades.
Thank you very much for keeping up with me and for your support. Keep it here for occasional updates and progress reports over the off-season.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
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