Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Dead End Road

Knowing I had to play a great round to have a chance to qualify, I went out with great expectations and intentions. After a poor start of a double bogey and two bogeys, I put my comeback hat on and went to work. 9 holes later, it was obvious today wouldn't be my day and this year wouldn't be my year and overwhelming disappointment hit me. It festered inside of me and I let myself down by allowing that extremely disheartening feeling to overtake my desire to enjoy the end of the round. I truly believed this was my year to conquer the world of golf and those intentions have not come to fruition.

I'll be back and better than ever in the near future. Thank you for all your support and love this year. An early Happy Holidays to all.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Delivering the Knockout Blow

It was a frustrating day of even par, 72. I had very few birdie chances and spent the majority of my day trying to get the ball "up and down (chip on and 1 putt)" to save par. I was unable to move any closer to the cut line and as a result, will need to play one of the best rounds of my life tomorrow to advance-- and I'm due.

That low round will show up at the most opportune of moments tomorrow. The imminent story of my journey to the Big Show will only be enhanced by the story of how on Nov. 1, I advanced through qualifying by shooting the course record and the low round of my theme song tomorrow is Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

I'll have great news to post tomorrow night, until then, keep the faith.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Work to do in Round 3

A round of 72 left me in a tie for 51st through two rounds. I was -4 through 12 holes and dropped 4 shots on my way to the clubhouse. I did however, close out the round with a 35 foot par saving putt. I have to put together a low round tomorrow to be in contention for the final round, but after many great shots in the past few days, I feel great about my chances. I need only put those great shots together in the right combinations and ride a wave of momentum to place myself back within the cut line (24 and ties). I play tomorrow at 9:06, and with a year of hard work at my back, I'll spring back off the ropes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Round 1

Round 1 can be summarized by solid ball striking and opportunity creation. I was not able to capitalize on many of those eagle and birdie bids, but it is comforting to know that when my putter gets hot this week, my ball striking will be there to lend my scorecard support.

I shot -1, 71 on an ideal day with little wind and soft greens. These perfect scoring conditions left me tied for 47th, although position after round 1 in this 4 round tournament is not overly important.

There is no 2 round cut and 23 players and ties, will advance to the next stage of qualifying.

I play at 10:24 tomorrow and plan on hearing the perfect music of the ball falling into the hole frequently.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I've played two practice rounds at San Juan Oaks in Hollister, Ca. and spent the past two years preparing to qualify for the PGA Tour. This is the beginning of the most grueling, demanding and pressure packed tournaments in golf and I couldn't be more excited.

The course this week will play about 7200 yards and is set in the rolling hills of the Silicon Valley. It requires precise iron play and deft touch around the greens. Off the tee it gives me an immediate advantage as it begs long drivers to unleash their drives in the generous fairways. The challenge comes between holes 14-18, where split fairways, multiple hazards and desert await.

I couldn't have asked for a higher quality of play during my practice rounds, nor could I have asked for a more beautiful region of the country to make my life long dream a reality. This should be a very special week.

Round 1 begins at 9:18 tomorrow morning...


I've played two practice rounds at San Juan Oaks in Hollister, Ca. and spent the past two years preparing to qualify for the PGA Tour. This is the begining of the most grueling, demanding and pressure packed tournaments in golf and I couldn't be more excited.

The course this week will play about 7200 yards and is set in the rolling hills of the Silicon Valley. It requires precise iron play and deft touch around the greens. Off the tee it gives me an immediate advantage as it begs long drivers to unleash their drives in the generous fairways. The challenge comes between holes 14-18, where split fairways, multiple hazards and desert await.

I couldn't have asked for a higher quality of play during my practice rounds, nor could I have asked for a more beautiful region of the country to make my life long dream a reality. This should be a very special week.

Round 1 begins at 9:18 tomorrow morning...

Sunday, October 19, 2008


In the last month since my Q-School pre-Qualifier, I have traveled south to Atlanta, Birmingham, Chattanooga and New Orleans. I practiced with a college teammate on a similar path as my own in Atlanta. I made my way over to Birmingham to work on my swing with my coach. Chattanooga hosted a Monday qualifier for a Nationwide Tour event in which, I shot 68 and missed qualifying by one stroke. I am writing this post from New Orleans where I will practice until I leave for my next Q-School stage this Thursday.

My ball striking has improved since I've returned from the Korean Tour and I am banking on a few closer birdie opportunities lead to lower scores in Q-School. I will embark to San Juan Oaks in Hollister, CA for my coming Q-School stage. I will get out there and being writing regularly with a full course scouting report and daily updates.

It is "crunch time" in the world of mini-tour golf with everyone vying for a spot among golf's elite. This fall, I intend to elevate myself to that status.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Moving On

I finished 26th at qualifying and am moving onto the next stage. The final round was grueling as it got more windy than any other tournament day with final round tournament conditions. Without my A or B game, I grinded my way to a round of 74, which beat the field's average score. I will find out when and where I am playing on September 30. There are two more stages similar to last week before the finals in December; "It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll." Until then, I'll be working hard towards being ready for my PGA Tour debute. Thanks for the support!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Early Q-School Heat

After three rounds, I sit inside the cut line with one round to play. I've hit many high quality shots, but uncharacteristically, have played the par 5s very poorly (out of the 12 I've played, I'm +5. In an average tournament, I might play par 5s -5 or better, a difference of 10 strokes.) Thus, I've left some work to do tomorrow. A solid round with minimal mistakes will have me advancing to the next phase of PGA Tour qualifying.

I made some great saves today to get my ball around the course in 72 stokes. Tomorrow I will try to get off to a quick start to give myself further breathing room. Should that not happen, I will focus my attention on staying relaxed and patient, utilizing tactical prowess, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

I have a bit more pressure to perform in the final round than I would have anticipated, but it will be perfect preparation for the next phase of this grueling qualifier that extends through December.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Q-School Rd. 1

On a blustery, rainy day at Jennings Mill CC I posted +2, 74 to open the tournament. The low score of the day was 70, which leaves me within striking distance for round 2. This stage of the tournament is played in 4 rounds with 39 players and ties advancing to the next stage. I performed well in a few areas today and chipped in on the final hole to leave the course with some joy. If I can play the par 5s better tomorrow (I played them +2 today) and get some momentum going with my putter, I will find myself headed into the final two rounds at the top of the leaderboard.

Monday, September 15, 2008

PGA Q-School

Q-School is here. The most grueling test in a golfer's career.

It doesn't matter what's happend in the past. All that matters is with a few months of great play, my future can change dramatically. I can take the largest stride of my life towards creating my dream with 18 rounds of amazing golf. 4 of those rounds are played this week at Jennings Mill Country Club outside Atlanta. The course is challenging with many long par 4s and deep, bermuda grass rough waiting to pull player's shots down to the depths.

I've hit a new stride in the last two days here. My ball striking is very solid and I have acute control of my shots. I've put alto of effort into preparing around these greens and I know opportunities will transform into success this week.

My first round begins tomorrow at 9:50. You can follow the results at

I believe this week I wont make you scroll down from the top of the leaderboard.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another Brick Wall

I am coming home for PGA Tour achieve the first major milestone of a life-long dream. My ball striking is continually improving and the US style of golf suits my game.

I unfortunately moved from the penthouse to the outhouse this week in a mere 27 holes to miss the cut. My putting let me down today. This is the first round I can ever remember where I have not made a single one putt. I finished at even par for two rounds and it appears I will be missing the weekend by a stroke or two.

I will be leaving Asian golf behind without a first place check. If I can make up for it by picking up a few on the US PGA Tour though, it will have been worth it.

A terminally ill professor at Carnegie Mellon said in his 'Last Lecture': "brick walls are placed in the way of dreams to weed out those who don't want them badly enough." I am going to keep climbing and pushing on those walls until I reach the other side, break through, or both.

See you at home.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hot in Round 1

I finished with -4, 68 today to begin the Heavanland Open. It was highlighted by 7 birdies in 8 holes with 6 of those coming consecutively on the front nine. I struggled a bit finishing the round off when the tv cameras made me the center of their broadcast, but it was a really fun day. I'm looking forward to a better one tomorrow. Talk to you then.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


It is the night before the Heavenland Open starts. My comfort level and swing tweaks have progressed every day since I arrived in South Korea nearly two weeks ago. This will be my final event before PGA Tour Qualifying begins and has the potential to be my final event in Asia for the year. I'm playing this week with full intention to leave with a win, to go out in style. The golf course is called Heavenland and it is nearly as special a place as it's name indicates: set on top of a mountain, surrounded by waterfalls with multiple on-course locations from which one can look out and view the entire course.

Three holes, all par 5s, resemble bowling alleys: the most narrow holes I've ever played. The holes make players want to walk side-ways down the fairway, as if hugging a cliff wall on a ledge. I will stand over these shots and swing as freely as I can tomorrow. In my preshot routine I will remain hyper-focused on my bulls-eye in the fairway. I will see my ball flights carved out of the sky as if traced with a fine paintbrush. Then I will stand over my ball and swing with confidence and freedom.

It is going to be a successful week. When it draws to a close, I'll have a few more pounds of hardware to add to my luggage as I prepare for the next leg of my journey: taking on the PGA Tour.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Begining Another Chapter

I was reminded today by a childhood icon's book (Mr. Rodgers), that you are never finished with anything. Anytime one story ends, another begins. This week, my hopes of contending for the Johnnie Walker Open ended on Friday evening. Friday evening was also when I began preparing for the following week's Heavenland Open. This weekend has been a great chance for some self-reflection and tireless practice. I felt positive going into the JW Open, but was not entirely comfortable with new short iron swings I've been working on. Thinking the pieces would come together at the perfect time, I employed them in competition and watched my shots soar (not so majestically) away from my targets. My devotion and commitment to these shots served as a fault on the first day. By the time day one was completed and I realized I needed to utilize more consistent shots and older techniques to shoot lower scores, I was too far behind the scoring curve.

But having a planned weekend suddenly open up gave me the opportunity to practice my new and old shots. As the weekend draws to a close and I am traveling to my next tournament site, I have already begun the next phase of the same journey, and this coming story's conclusion will have a more inspirational finale.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Johnnie Walker Open Rd 2

I finished with a -1, 71 today for a +3 two day total. When the final putts are holed today, my score will leave me just outside the cut line and a weekend bid. I'm obviously disappointed with the results, but see some light at the end of the tunnel. I positioned myself well off the tee for the vast majority of these two rounds. From that point to the hole, I did not hit the ball close enough to have many birdie opportunities. When I did play an approach shot into a potential birdie distance, it added pressure on that shot to be successful because there were so few of them. So I will continue to practice over the coming days for my last event of season before the start of PGA Tour Q-School. These tournaments are simulation training for that main event and my ultimate goal, so I will keep my reaction to these results lighthearted and move forward to the next series of preparations.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

RD 1 Johnnie Walker Open

I had a disappointing round of +4, 76 today. I hit the ball well off the tee, but really struggled with the swing changes I worked on in my short iron play. My approaching left the most room for improvement, which will have to work itself into my game by tomorrow if I am to find my way inside the cut line. All other facets of my game (Driving, chipping and putting) are on the verge of being very strong. A few solid shots early in tomorrow's round should direct me towards a great day and a chance for two more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Raon Country Club

Traveling to Raon Country Club requires a flight from Seoul, South Korea to the island of Jeju. Jeju is a tropical, volcanic island off the mainland's southern coast. As I stepped out the Jeju airport entrance, the steeply ascending volcano in the center of the island towered over the swaying palm trees. I thought it was a perfect image for me to use for the week: while the wind blows my competitors off balance, I'll remain unwavering and focused, existing in a superior form.

As usual, the journey to the golf course was adventurous and this week, my departure port was in the US. Following 4 Bus rides, 3 plane rides, a major car crash and coffee with an Iraq veteran and a government major at Harvard, I made my way through the lobby of Raon CC. The course opened in 2004 with an inaugural tournament featuring Tiger Woods, KJ Choi, Se Ri Pak and Colin Montgomerie. Tiger's pictures and signatures line the clubhouse walls. As I studied the dinner menu consisting of options like "fried hairtail in kimchi soup," I wondered whether Tiger brought his own chef.

I played my practice round yesterday around the wind battered track. The course is very challenging with nine holes set amid large undulation changes and carved out of thick jungle. Any shot not finding grass in between the tree lines, is doomed. The other nine holes titled, "The Stone 9" (stone caves and pillars are set around the course) is my favorite of all courses I've played in South Korea. It is difficult, but very fair and offers numerous birdie opportunities. This is the most well maintained course we have played on the Korean Tour with tightly cut fairways and soft greens.

I controlled my shots as if directing them at will yesterday. I have perfect ball flights and strategies for the wind and course challenges this week. I'm employing a 2-iron this week as a "go-to" club for the narrow, nerve rattling shots with howling winds. A perfect 2 iron produces a shot that might as well be singing MC Hammer's 'Cant Touch This' as it pierces through the wind. At the weekend's finale, I hope I tower above my competitors like the volcano over the palms. I know if I bring my best game to bear on Raon CC or any course I compete on, very few scores boast a chance of catching mine.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

24 hour flight, 25 years old

Back at it! This post comes to you from Narita Airport in Tokyo. I am preparing for the final leg of this 24 hour journey, during which time I turned 25 years old. My birthday realization is I am ready for success. I am leaving any hesitation and lack of trust behind with my 24 year old status and headed into the next two tournaments with a new found supreme confidence and ability to win. I arrive in Seoul, Korea tonight and will spend the next three days getting used to the 13 hour time difference before heading to Jeju Island for the Johnnie Walker Open. I am creating a video journal of my travels that will be posted on my website sometime following the conclusion of the first event. My new MasterCard commercial goes as follows:

1 New Blog Post: Interesting

1 Picture: Worth a Thousand Words

1 Moving Film: Priceless

Keeping you updated....again,

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's Going On

I've played four tournaments since coming home. 2 Golfer's Warehouse Tour events, the NH and Greater Bangor Open. I've finished 6th, 9th, 14th and 8th respectively. I've been somewhat disappointed with my results although I've played the majority of my rounds between 68 and 71. For the first time I can remember, I went two consecutive competitive rounds where I did not make a score over par. I believe that new found consistency is due to smarter choices in the heat of battle as a result of playing Korean style golf. On the courses in Korea, if you cannot play holes as chess matches, setting yourself up for you next shot, you cannot score successfully. I've continued to use that strategy on courses around New England and although all the facets of my game have yet to align, I've managed to remain competitive.

After only playing in 2 of the 3 events on the Golfer's Warehouse Tour, I find myself in a position to compete for top spot on the money list in their final 2 tournaments. The top 2 positions are given a Q-School bonus covering the entry fee expense ($4500-5k). I leave for Colorado tomorrow for a training camp with my sports psychologist, then come home for the first of those 2 final events. When all goes according to plan, I will go back to Korea August 20 for two more Korean Tour events before returning to qualifying for the PGA Tour and achieving my lifelong dream.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Northeastern Mini-Touring

I've spent over two weeks back home now and it has been amazing. I enjoy sleeping in my own bed more than ever and during the first week back, my bed was about the only place I hung out. I was recovering from more than a 12 hour time change and a 24 hour flight; I was rebuilding energy lost from 9 months of globe trotting. It honestly took that entire first week before I began to feel normal.

After that recovery period, I played two Golfer's Warehouse Tour events on minimal preparation and finished 9th and 6th, raking in two checks for a total of about $2700. It was unfortunate not to have my "go low" game ready for those tournaments, but I took pride in knowing I can remain highly competitive in a scrambling mode. It was a relief to be able to scramble again after 8 tournaments in Asia on courses with twice as many out of bounds areas than holes. There is no scrambling when you're out of bounds.

In the Providence Open last week, I opened with 72 (E), a score that would have amounted to minimally, 4 strokes less than had I played that round on a Korean course due to wayward tee shots. I played a bogey free round in 68 (-4) stokes on day 2, and came off the course feeling that there were many improvements to be made in preparation for the coming stretch of events. It re-energized my motivation and commitment to shooting low scores.

Beginning tomorrow, I will compete in three straight State Open events: NH Open, Greater Bangor Open and RI Open. I've made a few leaps this week toward improving my ball striking and chipping and am very confident I will contend for wins in the coming events. Heading into these tournaments, I have a renewed energy for tournament golf and a new appreciation for the comforts of home. Both of which should aid making a few extra birdies.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

It has been a week since my last post. During this time, I made my way across the globe and back to where the heart is. There is a lot of love back home. I've spent these past days trying to get acclimated to the time change and catch up on rest missed out during eight consecutive months of travel and competition. I think in response to that, I have been slow to adapt. I've only realized how exhilarating, yet exhausting this past year has been in the last few days.

I am home until mid-August before I return east for the second half of the Asian golf season. With 4 events between $500k-$1 million and appearances being made by KJ Choi, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk, infinite success is offered. A win or two would be the ultimate weapon to yeild at PGA Tour Q-School at the end of the fall.

I will play a few tournaments while I am home: NH Open, Bangor Open, the new Golfer's Warehouse Tour, (potentially) Nationwide Tour Qualifier. Competition is always welcomed, but is not my main purpose for being home. This month, I intend to visit my golf coach and make improvements in my swing. I want to learn as much about my swing as I can cram into this spacious brain of mine. The more knowledge I have, the easier it should be to manage my swing as I move through the second half of the season.

Goal Two consists of rebuilding my body. I lost strength and weight in Asia and intend to challenge myself to reach a peak fitness level.

Goal Three, but not of least importance, is creating the financial security to bring in the new year as a member of the PGA Tour. Pro golf is an expensive endeavour and while I have been making enough to pay my expenses on the road and am on the verge of reeling in two victories that yield financial stability, it is crucial to have the financing that allows me to pursue all these career goals until those victories come. That will be another priority.

It is spectacular to be home. The difference between sleeping on Taiwan's hard, cold bamboo and my home matress is the differential between a day's life and death; between productivity and a zombie-like state of sleep walking. Until you leave, you never know Dorthy was right: "There's no place like home."

Monday, June 23, 2008

World Golf and 'Family' Dinners

I was hoping to update the blog after the final round yesterday, but chaos and a lack of internet service won out over that idea. My apologies if this post lacks cohesion as I just arrived in San Fran and the light and time change is leading me into zombie mode.

I finished the Acebank Montvert Open tournament with 74 for a 32nd finish and made about $2k. As with the previous tournament, the final round outcome was not as I had envisioned, but after I opened the tournament with +5, 77 and hit my tee shot on the second hole of my second round out of bounds, battling back to make the weekend was an accomplishment.

After my finish, a Korean player told me how impressed many of the Korean players were with my performance in the first half of my rookie year. He said during the first hald of the season, where international players are trying to acclaimate themselves to food and culture change, extreamly unique and stressful golf course styles, while trying to manage transportation and accomodations in a land of limited english, very few are able to make cuts. Even most Asian Tour players who also have exempt status on Korean Tour, struggle to adjust to all the factors a player has to manage outside the golf course. He said my ability to make 5 cuts to start the year was impressive. It only gets easier from this point forward.

This week my gallery consisted of members of 'the family;' 'the dragon brothers.' I ate dinner with members of the Korean mob every night, one 'brother' was my transportation and caddy for the week, and another invited me to play an extra practice round on the tournament course. As the week rolled on, I had a few more spectators every day with dragon tatoos covering their upper torso. This nuance with the gunfire and explosions coming from the North Korean training camps a few miles away made for a unique week of golf.

"You in Korea, my family...caddy, hotel, car...give you," Mr. Lee continuously said to me. "No money, no problem, Brother," he continued.

On my way back to the airport I was concerned I was going to have to bump someone off to pay my tab. I breathed a sigh of relief when I unpacked the back of the 'company car' and said my goodbyes.

Before I left this morning, I met a hotel manager who had seen me play on t.v. and told me anytime I was in Korea, they would see to it I was taken care of. One fantasic component to playing here is the t.v. coverage. I get to play in primetime every week. It is great simulation training for my PGA Tour debut. It will be a few months before it's back to the SBS Korean Golf Channel, ordering 'Bugoggi' from the local soup holes and being a guest of 'the family.' I'll be home for two glorious months of preparation towards taking on the golfing world.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Good Day

Today was the best day I have enjoyed on the Korean Tour. After my morning cut saving, 7-foot putt followed by an elated, tension releaving fist pump, I shot -3, 69 in the afternoon to get my total back to even par. I have moved up from 116th place to 25th in two rounds. It has been a grueling week. Day 1 was a 7:45 round of golf, the longest I've ever played. Day 2 carried over into Day 3 due to darkness, and my 3 am wakeup this morning made this afternoon feel like evening.

I kept my mobster caddie on his toes all day. I think he was more nervous than I. Everytime I'd hit a good shot he would yell "Good Shotie!" He had more enthousiasm than the entire 10 person gallery that followed our group.

It has been an exciting day. I am completely wiped out tonight. I left all emotions and energy on the course today. As I moved through the day, they lept from me with every swing I made and every putt I rolled in. I leave Monday to come home for the summer months. Monsoon season shuts asian golf down. A brilliant round tomorrow will be a fitting end to eight months of world travel, culture shock and hard work.

My scores this event reflect the journey I've been on: It began with high aspirations, took a few detours and left me feeling overwhelmed and came around to reveal success and fullfilment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Walk the Line Cont'd.

There is nothing quite as unsettling as sleeping on the cut line. After being taken off the course yesterday due to darkness on the 17th tee (a 230 yard par three surrounded by water), I went to bed at +3 (the cut line). I was the last player on the course. The other players that did not finish, withdrew because they did not have a chance to make the cut this morning. Par-Par would get me a minimum check of $1300 on my morning holes. Any score over par and I go home empty handed. I woke up at 3am and was restless until I went to the course at 5:50 to finish.

I hit a pure 4 iron to the back pin and left myself a 25 footer on 17...two putt. One par down. 18 is a 460 par 4 with o.b. left and right and water surrounding the green. Needless to say, these were not the two holes you wanted to have to finish with pars on at 6 in the morning to make a cut. But that's the job sometimes.

After two nervous swings and a misread chip, I had 7 feet straight downhill for make the cut. My hands shook a bit as I stood over the putt. There could have been a million things that went through my head, I tried to focus on only one: my target. I struck the putt and watched it fade towards the right edge. It hit the edge, spun around the side and fell in the back of the cup!! I threw a Tiger-esque fist pump in front of the tour officials who cheered. I had made the cut. The putt was worth over a thousand dollars and I had come through in the cluth. It may have only been to make the cut, but it was an epochal personal victory.

I Walk the Line

When the darkness set in tonight, I was -2 with 2 holes left. My total score is +3 (the cut number). I will tee it up at 6:30 am on the 230 yard par three and need an even par or better finish to continue playing the weekend. I'm begining to play well again. Today I hit some flag busters and I am on the verge of going low. I will write more tomorrow after I finish off my second round. Good night!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Long Round

I hit solid approaches into my first three greens today, narrowly missed my birdie putts, then the fog set in. It left five groups stuck on the fourth tee for an hour and a half. By the time we teed off, two hours had elapsed. I stepped up over my tee shot and pulled one o.b....double bogey. As we arrived at the fifth tee, five groups again waited on the short par 5. It took an hour for the groups to clear. I layed down for a 40 minute nap. When I stood over that tee shot, it had taken us 4 hours to play 4 holes.

I eventually found my smooth tempo, but my putting left me with a single one putt all day and 36 putts for the round. A weekend golfer cannot beat his buddies with similar putting woes, let alone a pro golfer on an international tour. As frusterating as it is to miss the hole time and time again, I hung tough. I stood on the final tee and said, "I am going to make birdie."

I lasered a wedge into 5 feet and snuck the putt in the right corner of the hole for 77. The only thing good about 77: it is better than 78. The round finished after 8 hours on the course, twice the amount of time it takes to play a normal round.

There were an abundance of opportunities I gave myself today. Although I wasn't able to capitalize and had some adversity on the greens, I am pleased with a few facets of my game. I struck many pure iron shots and mentally, continously reinforced that I would find a way to score my ball.

It is a fickle sport and while 10 or more strokes between one round and another can seem like a huge differential, I know the game I brought to this tournament can post a low score. It will have to tomorrow as I will start the day well outside the cut line. That is one of the many reasons golf is so addictive though; there is always the possibility that tomorrow will be better than today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dragon Brothers and Afganistan Taekwondo

It's a new week on the Korean Tour...a fresh slate. It doesnt matter whether you finished 35th, 1st or missed the cut at the last tournament, you have the potential to win this event. As the last tournament finished, I found myself without a way to get from the small Korean town, back to Seoul. I asked around, and eventually met up with Mr. Lee, a "boxing promoter" and golf aficionado. He offered to drive me to the nearest town to catch a bus back to the city (It took half an hour to work this out with my inability to speak any Korean and his to speak limited english). As we exchanged words and arrived at the bus stop, he generously offered to drive me back to Seoul Airport (2 hours away). En route, we stopped to meet his "brother" for dinner. As we sat over the Korean barbeque, I inquired about their family tie and a piece of tatoo I noticed underneath the short sleeve of Mr. Lee's shirt. Both men showed me the begining of a dragon tatoo that extended around their entire upper torso and took a month to complete. Mr. Lee said all his "family" had the dragon tatoo.

I asked further. "Mom and Dad have tatoo?"

He pointed to the sky and responded, "Mom and Dad."

"Oh, not alive?" I continued.

"Um," he nodded. "No sister, no brother. Solo." He pointed to his "brother." "He my brother. Many, Many brother in Korea. Many, Many brother in Japan."

I'm starting to get the picture.

"In Japan, call Yakuza," he said.

"Korean mob?" I asked.

"Mafia. Italy! You know? Al Pacino? You know?" He asked.

"Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Marlon Brando. Yeah, I know. You Godfather?" I joked.

I know he didnt understand the reference, but he shook his head and said, "Korean Mafia. Many, Many Dragon brother. Many, Many family. Many, Many nightclub."

I'm thinking, "no way this guy could hang with Brando."

"Gun? You shoot people?" I'm joking at the time.

"No gun. Big, eh, sword. Cut. Big, eh..." His friend came to the rescue, "Knife."

A bit primative. Now I know why all the new gang movies I see on tv here involve Crocodile Dundee's Knife battles.

So here I am in the midst of the Korean mob. We ate a great beef dinner and he dropped me off at the airport unscathed.

I am traveling with an Asian Tour player from Taiwan, Lien Lu Sen. Today, we were trying to figure out how to make the three and a half hour journey from Seoul to a small town on the North Korean border. We phoned Mr. Lee for some advice.

"You want go to Korea Tour Tournament?" He asked.

"Yes, very far. How go?" I asked as basically as possible.

"No problem. I come airport. Together, go." He said.

We reluctantly accept and 30 minutes later, Mr. Lee shows up in his black Hyundai and takes us three hours up to the North Korean border. In a country where getting a tee time is impossible and expensive, he has arranged a tee time for us tomorrow for free. I'm sure my mom is reading this now and shaking her head. I am about to get an email that says "Be Careful."

As I wrote that, a guy just sat down next to me, maybe 18 or 19 and asked me to help him with a computer problem. I'm messing with his wireless networks and making conversation, asking him what he is doing in the middle-of-nowhere-Korea. He tells me he came to Korea to train with a great Taekwondo master for the Olympics, which he qualified for. I said, "great man, congradulations. Where are you from?"


An sudden chill ran down my face. "You are competing for Afganistan?"

"Yes. And you? You are from where?" He asked.

A thousand things ran through my mind in the split second before I replied, "The US." The one thought that emerged from the thousand was, "here is a very rare opportunity to bridge a gap."

We spent the next twenty minutes talking about our goals, our homes and computer problems. I never did fix his computer. My efforts fell a bit short. But maybe fixing a computer problem wasnt the point of our meeting.

Here I am, a few minutes south of the North Korean border, using a Korean mobster for transportation and connections, and befriending an Olympian from Kabul. Fantastic.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Final Round

I finished off the tournament at even par 288 for a t-35 finish. I actually played well this week, but wasnt able to hit the shots in succession that led to the lowest score. I hit three wayward shots, all of which cost me double bogeys. Every hole on this course had out of bounds on the right side and out of bounds on the left. Any wayward shot left you with a two stroke penalty. I made one other double bogey after hitting a perfect shot, but misjudged the wind. Those four holes cost me minimally, 8 strokes (a difference of about $9k in the final distribution). I've got my solid shot outfit on and if I can find my scoring cap, I may put a matching outfit together this coming week. After a long day on the course, I had a crazy adventure that led me into the back seat of a Korean mobsters car. That is a story for tomorrow's blog. For now, I am safe and my golf game is improving.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Round 3

I played solid golf for 14 holes today. I was -2 for the day and -6 for the tournament, had made it up around the top 15 and hadn't yet received my step dad's email that said, "just forget the score." I wanted to get myself in contention for the final round and as the south Korean heat beat down on my visor, I pushed myself...too hard. It was at this point where my ego began writing checks my mind and body weren't ready to cash and I played the last four holes in a disasterous +4. I left the course disappointed, feeling like I had just hit a concrete wall at full speed. Another lesson experienced the hard way. I'll take the feelings from the first 14 holes and my step dad's advice into tomorrow. A solid finish will give me some momentum to take into the next tournament.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

RD 2

I posted -1, 71 today for round 2. I am at -4 for the tournament headed into the weekend. I have yet to make a putt over 10 feet in this tournament so I know if I can get the blade rollin' tomorrow, I will find myself in the top 10 come sunday. I hit a perfect shot and misjudged a wind gust today, which cost me a double bogey. I flew a five iron 220 over the pin and back of the 12th green and into the forest. It's a game of shoulda, coulda, woulda, but despite a few mistakes and putts that have yet to find the hole, it's fantastic to be back under par in competition. I would love to write more, but the hotel made me commit my first born son in exchange for use of the 'net. Thanks for the support!

Opening Round

I posted 69 (-3) to open the tournament today. The course played very easy with minimal wind and very accessible pin positions. Besides one double bogey, I was back in Baldwin-esque form making six birdies and giving myself many opportunities. I am on the verge of a breakout performance this week.

Lots to say, but I have a 5:30 wakeup coming tomorrow for an early tee time. Congradulations to two of my best friends, Eric and De, who became engaged this week! On that note, lots of great times ahead, both on the course and elsewhere.

Good night from South Korea.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Philos Open

I made the day long trek from Taiwan to the northern part of South Korea yesterday for the Philos Open. We are 45 minutes from the North Korean border, which is where next week's tournament is. After taking a bus two hours through Seoul, I was dropped off in a small town in the middle of nowhere. I had been "holding it" the entire ride and couldn't wait to find a place for relief. Most asian countries have public bathrooms in the middle of a town. In my experience, you can't just run into a restaurant and use their bathroom unless you find a KFC or McD's. I ran around from store to store in an effort to find an english speaker who knew the whereabouts of a public hole in the ground. No one seemed to have any clue what I was asking. My golf clubs in one hand, a laptop bag on my back and duffel bag in the other hand, there I was playing cherades, and apparently, not being a good actor.

"Hey! Park Lee-Jong, come check out the goofy foreigner pretending he's sitting on the can!!" I imagine they got a good laugh. When I finally found a place, the feeling was equivalent to making 9 straight birdies!

I am staying at a ski resort, 30 minutes from the golf course. This place is like the Bates Motel on horror pills. Not a sole in the place but me and no restaurant within 15 minutes. Luckily, my bathroom adventure led me into a small Mart where I picked up a few cans of tuna and eggs. In 1762, when they most likely built my hotel room, they invented the stove and threw it in. My diet this week will consist of tuna omelete two-a-days. Protein loading.

This morning, I replied to some questions sent to me by the Union Leader (so look for that back home in the coming week)and rushed off to my practice round. I played with Atonori Tori, a player from the Japanese Tour. Our caddie spoke fluent Chinese and Japanese, but no english, so I was at least able to communicate with a bit of "Zhongwen." An increadibly impressive attribute many asian people have is their language skill. I have met handfulls of people that speak 3 or 4 asian languages. When you've tried to learn one yourself, you have a huge appreciation for anyone able to utilize multiple tongues (my phrasing sounds like an exotic french kiss).

The golf course is short and tight. As usual, O.B. lines both sides of nearly every hole. I am hitting my driver as straight as I did on Borneo Island, when I picked up a victory at Asian Tour Q-School. I drove three-340 yard plus, greens today. I hit all but one faiway and never had more than a pitching wedge left for any approach shot. It was fun. If I am able to take that same dominating, fun mentality into this week, I will surely contend for a victory. My mentality and execution since the last event have improved every day. Today was the most aligned my body has been with my mind since December. If this trend continues, I may turn a vision of walking down the 72nd hole at 20 under par into reality.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Coming Home and Finding My Essence

Whew! What a week! I've spent every second of it walking, talking, acting and swinging as though I won my last tournament and will win my next. Golf is getting easier. Thank you Universe!! It has been a challenging few months since beginning my quest for Korean Tour glory. What I began to uncover in the last event was the tension that escalates over every shot in competition. It is partially due to narrower golf courses riddled with white o.b. pegs everywhere and technique that has been sub-standard, but to be successful as a pro golfer, those factors have to be handled with enhanced relaxation and enjoyment. I have known this all along, but the difference between knowing it in your conscious mind and subconscious mind equates to many strokes.

I have spent every day waking up and feeling the jubilation of winning; the roars of the crowd as the winning putt falls over the front edge of the hole; the tremendous fist pump I will throw to the gallery; the smiles I will give during my victory speech; a bank account with enough green to swim in. I've held onto those feelings as I go through my daily routine and it has yielded more fun and precision in practice and lower scores on the course. I posted 66 this week in a match; the lowest score I've posted in two months. My game is headed to a higher level. The last two months of trials have brought new appreciation for great play and less blame and guilt when that play is not present; I have more love for myself and my golf game. It may have seemed like a step back, but by the end of the year, this phase will have sent me three steps forward. I could not be more excited for the coming successes and I will love them one swing at a time.

Beginning next week, I play two consecutive events in Korea before coming home for July. I have to say, I am almost as excited to make a mouth-watering cheese burger on the grill and sleep on a non-bamboo comprised mattress, as anything else. Until I get to savor that juicy, sweet and fatty flavor, it is back to work. This time, I am armed with the ultimate weapon: the love of the game.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Long Road Home

I played better today, but never got my assault jump started with any momentum. I only made 1 birdie in a round of 74, which leaves me 3 strokes out of weekend starts. It is disappointing, but this is the nature of being a pro golfer, or having a job at all. It has it's highs and lows and if I can feel as confident in imminent success during the low periods as I do during the high, those peaks will reveal themselves far more frequently. Back to the drawing board this week in Taipei, before hunting more victories in the following two weeks. That wraps up my tournament commentary tonight, the best is yet to come.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dawn of a New Era

Things were going fine today. I pared my first 8 holes before a run-in with Mr. Three Putt on the ninth hole. I surged back with a birdie on 10 and pared 11. The 12 is the hardest hole on the course and I took an aggressive driving line that I did not commit to prior to the swing (huge mistake). I blocked the shot way right into trouble. On the next hole, water lurked just off the fairway to the right and the bouncer at the door to my mind, gave Mr. Fear a VIP card. By the time I got myself back to the present moment, I had carved two shots o.b.

My scorecard did some heavy lifting again today as there were some big numbers to weigh it down. I breathed away the tension, enjoyed the last oppotunities of the journey and played the rest of the holes at even par for a total of +7, 79. I am encouraged by some very solid shots and saves I made today. With as much disregard for my past results and current standing as I can have, I am going to put this to the universe here and now: tomorrow, I AM going to have the best day of my life! I AM going to shoot the best score of my life. This moment is the first of an endevour to live every moment in the present and take advantage of the greatest potential of all: to make each day the best of my life! From this moment forward, I AM the fearless, golf ball-slinging stud from the Granite State.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Film Major's Golfing Analysis

I awoke this morning to a healthier self. It seemed I had won the night battle with the sinus infection that has weighed my head down for the last week. I went my first adventure with Asiana C.C.. Ski resorts surround the course. Pictures of the course covered in snow are hung on the walls of the locker room. The connection between the 7th green and 8th tee is made on a Gondola. The driving range tee box is so highly set above the landing area, I could hit a 4 iron to the 300 yard sign. The mountain air lends itself freshly to this spectacular venue. The greens are slick as a great scam artist; one second your prized golf ball is in front of you, and with slight nonchalance, the next you are waving goodbye to it as it speeds away. Their massive slopes made me question whether they were built over elephant graveyards. Being on the wrong side of the hole this week will cost players thousands of dollars. The tee shots are narrow, but relative to last week's tournament site, it felt like there were vast oceans of grass to play into. The game will be won this week from the approach into the hole.

As a result of watching The Empire Strikes Back last night, I am very happy to report, today was the best I played in months. A strange inspiration although, I was a film major. Allow me elaborate. Today, I was very relaxed and hit the ball extreamly solid. I didnt give into the 'dark side of the force'; the fear and anger. After watching the film, it occured to me that the jedi (the ultimate controller of mind and power) is able to thrive because of blatent disregard of fear. The force cannot flow through you if you are afriad. Fear is its greatest inhibitor. George Lucus is a genius! There has been a tension that has arisen in the past few events. It's emanated out of concern for standing, well-being and finances. All of it has taken the flow out of my game. My swing isnt strong with 'the force' due to this tension.

One of my friends on the tour asked me if I thought I would hit the ball out of bounds, if I didnt know it existed. It occurs to me now as it did when I first made the trip to Asia: I am here to rid myself of all fears and worries. I am here to redefine myself as someone without fear; a player who may not know the exact outcome, but does know he will succeed under any circumstance. That ideal has been lost in the past month along with the definition of me as an "ecclectic person and great golfer." My life and self definition has become far too connected to the scores I shoot on the course. I need to continue my transformation toward a completely fearless golfer and revert back to knowing myself as having many interests and talents. These affirmations will make golf more fun and change the numbers on the scoreboard from black to red.

May the force be with you, always.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Asiana C.C.

This is a link to a friend of mine's video on Youtube. In this video, he is practicing at this week's tournament site on the Korean Tour. These are the scariest greens in all of asia and this video will show you why. Copy and paste the following link into your address bar.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Two Days in the Life

It was an adverse week here in Lakehills, South Korea. I've always believed that a successful professional golfer should be able to cope with multiple negative situations and despite them, play well. Although I was unable to come out on top of the circumstances I battled this week, I know I will be in better form for the coming tournament next week.

The 'Love Motel' I am staying in is a cheap dive situated around 'alternative nightclubs;' the kind you can go in and rent the company of a female for the evening. Besides the nightclubs, the town only has korean restaurants and one 7-eleven. I dont want to knock the culture over here, but the food is burningly spicy or extreamly pickled and rarely looks edible from a western standpoint. Since no restaurant owners in Lakehills speak english and restaurants do not have picture menus, it was impossible to eat a real meal. My meals consisted of canned tuna, ramen noodles and vitimans for breakfast, lunch and dinner; not exactly the meal of champions (You dont see Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods next to the 'dolphin-friendly' moniker on the tuna cans).

About halfway through the first round, I began feeling dizzy and lightheaded. When the round ended, I had the chills and felt all my energy was gone. I spent the night on $4 matress with a fever, aches and felt almost every minute of it, as sleep eluded me. When I got to the course this morning, I continually reminded myself of the great rounds I had played in my life when I was sick. I went into the locker room and lay down, visualizing great shots I had played on Malaysian Borneo during Asian Tour School and reminding myself I had shot well under par with mononucleosis in my college days. When I got on the course I tried to focus on nothing else but the task at hand.

I played the first 6 holes in -1. The 7th is a 222 par three with out of bounds five yards off the right side of the green (part of the korean's sick obsession with on-property o.b.). I hit a cut that landed on the right corner of the green, took one bounce and went o.b. After a double bogie I told myself I could remain patient and pared the next four holes. But with 6 to play and being where I estimated to be 3 strokes over the cut line, I needed to make something happen. Hole 13 is the narrowest 600 yard par 5 a golfer will ever encounter. I had planned on hitting two long irons and a 9 iron or wedge into the green, but due to a tucked pin that would be impossible to get it close to with an approach shot, I opted to hit a driver off the tee. If I hit a good drive in the fairway, I would have a chance to go for it, if not, I would punch something down the fairway and play my third onto the green (This is a hole that no competitor on the Korean Tour can reach in two, thus, an advantage of mine).

I hit a magical tee shot that soared over the fairway's center, against the light blue sky and came to rest 260 yads from the green's front edge. The green has two ponds gaurding the front of it and with a pin located almost 40 paces in the back of the green and only a few behind a very large slope, my only concern was hitting the ball over the water. After two days of hitting irons off the tees in between the o.b. posts, I could finally utilize my length. My stomach fluttered a bit with excitement as I took the 3-wood out of my bag. I studied my lie: the ball was sitting down in the long fairway grass, making it more difficult to hit up in the air, but I could not reach the green with a rescue wood. I decided to try to get some serious club head speed behind the shot and fade the ball onto the green. I pulled the trigger and watched the ball roll 100 yards down the fairway into a fox hole-like fariway bunker, with massively high sides. I had just duffed the shot like an anxious 15 handicapper. Two chops in the bunker later, my cut-saving finish was doomed.

I am obviously disappointed, but recognize that this will give me two extra recovery days before it is onward to the next tournament. The travel to the next tournament is going to be long and tedious, so I am seeing this as a positive situation. This will give me time to freshen my mind and body for the coming week. It would have been great to sneak inside the cut line, but ultimately, two more days of punishing myself before a draining travel day and another tournament could yield another dismal tournament finish. This was just a warm up for a better, more lucrative opportunity next week and I intend to be ready for whatever grass is in the fairway and whatever food 7-eleven has to offer. I will handle next week perfectly and have some inspiring results to share with you then. Until those birdies accumulate on my scorecard, have a great weekend and make some birdies of your own.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


It wasnt my best today as I birdied 2 of my last 3 enroute to 78 today. I'll write more tomorrow after a cut saving round. Thanks for checking in and your support!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Golf and Dinner

I arrived in Pusan, Korea on Monday night and was greeted by a horde of blood thirsty taxi drivers. They assured me the distance from the airport to the golf course was an hour and a half on the highway and the best price I could get was $120. I negotiated that price down to $100 and hoped in the Hunyadi with a non-English speaking driver who liked Michael Jackson and Britney Spears music. We drove over the dark, empty roads that wove around the Pusan mountains listening to 'Bad' and 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' on cassette. As we finished the King of Pop, Queen of Rehab mixed tape fifty minutes later, we rolled into the tournament hotel. "50 minutes" I said, pointing to the clock. "No, eh, no...traffic," he replied. He continued, "Pay now." "Oh yeah, now you speak English!" I laughed.

I played my practice round yesterday on Lake Hills GC, the most narrow and out of bounds-ridden golf course I have ever seen. One pro who played his college golf for UCLA, said "well, if you hit it perfectly and putt it in the hole all day, you should be okay out here." Many of the holes have O.B. directly off the fairway and 2 yards off the green, creating some potentially daunting shots. The course offers spectacular views as its' holes are cut up and down the side of a mountain, leaving few flat lies for a golf ball to rest on. As I reached some of the elevated tees, I could look over the entire course, the mountains beside and the lakes below.

While many players are deterred by white-peg (o.b.), undulating style, I have come to love these challenges. I hit one driver in the practice round yesterday and have plans to do the same in the tournament. I will hit more 3 and 4 irons off the tee this week than ever before to get the ball on the fairway and let my short game sing great songs of birdie triumphs.

After the practice round, some of my aussie 'mates' and I went for dinner. As we took our shoes off and bowed to the hostess/waitress she leapt off for the kitchen. We sat on the floor in front of the two foot high table and were greeted by a plate full of pig entrails: stomach, intestine, liver and other items that should have remained inside the pig's body. We decided it was best to hit the road hungry and found a 7-Eleven with some canned Tuna and Ramen Noodles to feast on.

Off the course it will be boiled eggs, canned Tuna and Ramen Noodles this week. On the course, it will be carved Filet, laced eagle and birds.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sunrise Golf Course

To view my pictures of my practice course in Taiwan, copy and paste this link into your address bar:


Friday, May 16, 2008

Lakehills Open

The past few weeks have been great; refreshing, rejuvenating and all the other adjectives that the teeth whitening commercials use. I've improved my short game, analyzed recent results and prepared new strategy. My swing remains inconsistent, but I am very confident its on the right track to hit a new high in the coming week. An updated course management strategy I will employ at the next event will take some pressure off my swing, allow me to utilize my length advantage while beating the Korean players at their own game of "short and straight." Ultimately and most importantly, being successful playing this style of golf will yield great improvement.

This Monday I will head to Pusan, Korea for the Lakehills Open. I will follow that with a week in Seoul for the Asiana Kumho Tournament at Asiana CC-- a famously diabolical course with the fastest greens on tour. They are two extremely important weeks from a financial outlook and a breakthrough into the winner's circle couldn't come at a more convenient time. As the week progresses, look for the usual updates with lower scores included.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Korea Photos

Photos from the last Korean Tour excursion are now on my website. You can copy and paste this link into your address bar:

Hope you enjoy the South Korea sights.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A New Phase

I have never been more excited to be a professional golfer than I am right now. I started my morning off helping some fearless, junior Taiwanese players on the driving range. Then I hit a bucket of majestically-soaring shots, had lunch and am now heading out to the course for a match. There are a few select players my age on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia, the leader at this week's Player's Championship, won 6 times on the PGA Tour by the time he was 25. There are many highly-skilled, professional golfers in the world. A fact I have discovered first hand since coming to Asia. Some are younger than I, most are older, but few actually accomplish the dream they set out on. The sheer odds of winning on the PGA Tour in a professional's lifetime being incredibly minute. Most players get distracted, or lose their passion; burnout. Some pros are held back by lack of funding, others by lack of confidence or skill. Some of these roadblocks used to phase me, even until as recently as the last tournament. Every day in which I practice properly and prepare productively, my passion, confidence, drive and mindset improves. These fears have waned dramatically in a short time period. Ultimately, to win on the Tour, you must be fearless. Ridding your subconscious of these tensions is more imperative than working towards your perfect golf swing. "90% of golf is mental...and the other 10% is mental," said Chi Chi Rodriguez when asked to reveal the secret to winning. These fears that have made my stomach timid or my hands tense in the past are beginning to fuel my passion for succeeding. This is why I am more excited and a better pro golfer today, than any other day in my career. This is why I am on the verge of something highly coveted and very special.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Help in Myanmar

If you can afford to donate $1-$5 and get a few friends to do the same, we can save lives after the catastrophic natural disaster that has befallen the impovershed nation. There is a projected 100,000 people dead with over 50% of them being children.

To read more, copy and paste this into your address bar:

To connect/donate to UNICEF, the leading aid organization on the ground in Myanmar now, copy and paste this link:

I try not to make a habit of getting political, or philanthropic on this blog, but we can save people from half a world away, without having to do much. Thank you for your concern and help.

Total Alignment

It's been a week and a half since I wrote my last post and for that I apologize, but, it's been an amazing week and a half. Three of my best friends from Notre Dame came to visit in Taiwan. Two of them played on the golf team with me all four years. I took a few days off from golf and went backpacking around the island starting down the west coast and then back up the east. The natural beauty of the volcanic-created island is unmatched in my world. Down the east coast we saw an idyllic, tropical beach scene and the west coast mountains in the background. When we found those west coast mountains wound around a deep gorge dubbed 'Toroko,' we decided to drink it in. We hiked 19km through the gorge on the most narrow, windy roads I've ever seen. We detoured on forest trails, found old temples located on rock cliffs, through pitch black caves armed with a single flashlight and over creaking, suspended bridges. All the while on either side of us, were mountains that seemed to push through the clouds and touch the heavens, redefining spectacular.

After our adventure concluded, I had the opportunity to hit some golf shots with my former teammates watching my swing. While they are not swing coaches, they have seen me play more than any other golfer I know. They made some basic observations about my balance and address position that have me hitting the ball closer to where I intend for it to go. Although it has only been two days since I began working on these fixes, I find myself more confident and relaxed over every shot. These little tweaks have allowed me to simplify my swing and my concern for anything but my target.

Maybe it is more than that. Pro golf halfway across the world gets lonely. Especially when my golf has not been down to par and I've been battling challenging courses in difficult weather conditions. Their visit, our journey and my subsequent improvement has as much to do with great companionship as slight tweaks in my golf swing. The improvement feels holistic. My golf swing is more aligned as is my life. I believe my golf swing is more aligned because my spirit is content and fulfilled. It is great care, kindness and love exchanged in the past week that has my spirit swinging my club. A perfect shot is perfect alignment: not just between my mind, body and club. Without the essential component of love, of spirit, no good swing can be perfect. No good shot can be complete. Maybe a few minor swing tweaks brought my swing to where it is today, or, maybe those narrow, windy roads between the heaven-reaching mountains of Toroko Gorge were my fairways, my greens and my church.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Final Round

I finished the tournament with another even par, 72 today and will cash about $1400, or 1.4 million Won...I had to come all the way to Korea to become a millionaire!! It was an extreamly challenging week on the narrow, 7500 yard golf course with rock hard greens and whipping winds. With this being the last of a four tournament stretch, I am a bit worn and really looking forward to taking the next few weeks and improving my self and getting a few bucks together for the remainder of the season. This year is off to a promising start. There are alot of factors that go into getting myself in perfect alignment for success over here, but when I overcome these challenges in the comming months, I will be taking great strides toward the end goal. I will write more in the comming weeks leading up to the next series of adventures. As always, thanks for the support and enjoy every shot you hit.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Round 3 and Weather Songs

If there was a song that could be playing over loudspeakers on every hole today, it would have been Bob Seager, "Against the Wind." It didn’t matter if you were downwind, crosswind, or into the wind, you were against the wind. The greens became so rock-hard, that perfectly struck wedges were bounding from the front edge of greens and rolling 40 yards to the back. My best wedge shot of the day came on the last hole. The pin was cut 34 yards past the front edge on a green that was 45 yards deep. The wind howled left to right. I hit a crispy, low shot with as much backspin as I can put on a punch shot. The ball landed around one or two yards on the green and by the time it was finished bouncing and rolling, I was chipping from five yards off the back of the green. The challenge was fun for about 7 holes, and then it became overly exhausting. The Gail blew harder than day 1 today, getting up to 40 miles per hour; nearly unplayable. A poorly struck shot into this gulf stream left you scratching your head.

I shot the same score as day 1 with a triple bogey and two double bogies. The low score of the day was 75, and it is NOT because there is a severe lack of skill in the field. One of the best players in Asia shot an 89 today. Excessive wind accentuates golfer's flaws, multiplying mistakes and making them slap you over the head with a shovel. I've played 4 out of the last 6 weeks in tournaments and during that stretch, my swing has plagued my scores. I've never struggled with hitting the ball in play like this before in my short professional career. I hit a few shots today that made everyone in the group and a few spectators cringe.

Despite these troubles though, I am very encouraged by my chipping and pitching, which has been very impressive this week. It allowed me to make the cut and will allow me to make a paycheck. I have seen some of my potential unveiled in the last 6 months and I know I have the kind of game that can contend for a victory on a weekly basis. These first 6 weeks on tour have been wild and inconsistent and my body and the golf ball are not performing the way I expect. I look at making the cut in three of the four first events, with a malfunctioning golf swing, as hugely motivating. I know that my 'D' game can remain competitive with the many of the tour players out here and can make cuts. When I find a swing in the next stretch of tournaments beginning in three weeks, my 'A' game could make a few players bury their heads in the bunkers.

I think this entire experience, however frustrating it can be at times, will yield something truly special. I will finish this event tomorrow and have a short break, before returning to action next month with a fresh outlook and a scarily effective golf swing. There is still storm to weather, but sunshine is on the way. "Sun, Sun, Sun, Here it comes..."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Grinding it Out was anything but pretty, but I made the cut one chip and putt at a time. The conditions were much calmer today. I had the best pre-round warm up I've had since I qualified for the Korean Tour. I got off to a promising start with a birdie on my second hole. I was striking the ball solidly again or so I thought. Then I hit a few dead pulls and off-cue slices and found myself scrambling again. I bunkered, chipped, pitched and lobbed my way to parland. Standing on the 13th tee I was +1 for the day. I knew I very near, possibly over the cut line.

I fired my tee shot up into the air. I watched it soar wayward into a hazard. On a golf course that has not yielded many birdies to the field, I knew having to make birdies on my closing holes to get back inside the cut line was going to be a tough position. I dropped my ball 139 yards from the pin after taking a penalty stroke. My ball sat down in the rough. The pin was back. There was 24 yards and a large slope between the front edge of the green and the hole. I needed to allow the ball 15 yards of bounce and roll after it landed. I struck it well and watched it land between the front of the green and the flag. It bounced and rolled up the slope. It was headed n a collision course to the hole. "Get in baby!" The ball broke towards the hole and improbable birdie after a penalty. It was the exact surge of momentum I needed to finish off my round and make the cut.

I improved on my first round score by 10 strokes and advanced 50 positions in the field, to make the cut by one stroke. If I can continue to improve in my last two rounds, a great tournament finish lies ahead.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beaten Not Broken

Today was the most challenging and exhausting first round of golf I have ever played. The steady 30 mph wind battered the golf course all day making the greens about as receptive as ice. A high, majestic ball flight was doomed to never be seen again. On a hole, one player in my group could not putt for five minutes because the wind kept moving his ball down the green inches at a time. This combination of adverse elements makes golf very difficult and it was reflected in the scoring. This is the only professional tournament I have ever played in where no player shot under par in the first round.

I am not making excuses for my poor play. My game has really struggled as of late and today was no exception. I hit a few exciting greenside bunker shots, and a few 380 yard drives, but there was very little celebration in the Baldwin camp. I double bogied my final hole for an 82.

The cut line today is at +7 and I find myself outside that by three shots. A positive of this is that the lower scores were all shot in the morning today, meaning those players tee off in the afternoon when the wind is the strongest tomorrow. Because I played in the afternoon gail today, I have an 8 am tee time tomorrow morning. This will give me an opportunity to play nine holes before the wind begins to peak. I plan on taking advantage of that time and inviting the Jeju birdies to nest in my scorecard.

I'll have some better news to report tomorrow afternoon. Until then...


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Taking it Easy at the Tomato Bank Open

This week I am on Jeju Island off the southern tip of South Korea. It is a beautiful place complete with crystal-clear turquoise ocean, volcanic mountains, palm forests and Saint Four Golf Course. The course is the hardest venue I've seen since my arrival in Asia; a 7500 yard monstrosity with rock hard greens from ocean winds and hazards on both sides of nearly every hole. As with any tournament, a course will play as difficult as its hole locations and tee positions dictate. The tournament committee should make holes more accessible and friendly for the first two rounds, but the hole yardages will play their maximum distances, which plays to my length advantage. A player from England who played the practice round with me yesterday, said he felt this was my week.

In the last two days I've found that my downswing gets very fast, throwing off the synchronicity of my swing, when find myself under pressure. In the last two days, I have worked towards "making it look easy," as Dan Wilkins once told me. He said the best compliment you can receive after a shot is someone saying you made it look easy. His swing is the epitome of this statement. One thing I always noticed about his swing is that despite bad weather conditions, his tempo always remained Sean Connery-smooth. That thought has me hitting the ball very solidly and opens up shot making options. The round at Asian Tour Q-School where I shot 64, it felt like my swing was in slow motion. It didn’t just look easy, it was.

This could prove to be one of those tournaments that drains every sense because there is so little room for error on the course. The more difficult the course, the shot and the situation, the more in control, confident and relaxed a player needs to be to perform. So when I am teeing off on one of the numerous 480 par fours with howling winds, I am going to tell myself to 'make it look easy.' My goal at the outset is to make this week the 'easiest' difficult week I've ever had.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Looking Back to Move Forward

I've spent the last few days thinking about different mental approaches to various situations in the last event. The one I encountered that was the most alarming was when I stood next to Retief Goosen for the first time. I've seen him before, but it was from an observatory standpoint. I watched him practice at a PGA Tour event on the driving range. Here he was next to me and we were playing in the same tournament. Although it never crossed my mind in pink flashing lights, playing against a player who has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the world since the beginning of this century is a hop, skip, jump, leap and then bound, from playing state opens back home. That specific message came in the form of the feeling I got at that moment. I didn’t know whether to kiss his ass or try to kick it on the course. I did not let that thought in my mind for the remainder of the event because I felt it was a sign of weakness. That neglect, which I pushed from my conscious thoughts, was a first instinct. Initial reactions are your subconscious views expressed through natural reaction. Whether this view of my standing in the golfing world had anything to do with my tournament results, it certainly gives me something to work towards improving, and that will come with further experience playing against better competition.

At this time last year, I had just missed the final cut at Canadian Tour Q-School, had no tour to play on and was pretty low on confidence by my standard. I would say I've made great strides in a short year and despite a poor performance this week, am exactly where I need to be. I leave tomorrow for Jeju Island off the coast of South Korea for the Tomato Bank Open. I am approaching this event not so much as an opportunity to breakthrough in the Asian golfing world, as a chance to improve and move closer towards the ultimate goal.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Coming into the tournament I felt very confident: the golf course was tailored to my game; I felt I had made strides improving my swing and I was excited I had the opportunity to compete against a skilled field. But following two days of poorly executed shots, I find myself taking an early exit from the tournament. I wish I could say I wasn’t disappointed.

In my favorite story, a boy leaves his life as a sheppard in search of great treasure. He journeys from everything he knows in search of dream. The adventure takes him far beyond the bounds of familiarity. The farther he goes and the physically closer he is to his treasure, the farther away from his dream he feels. To move beyond the adversity he faces at every step, he must learn something about himself to help him overcome the challenge. He is nearly driven to hopelessness; like he should have never left what he knew and what was safe. But it is these moments where he comes to know himself, and without them, he could never discover his treasures.

I will keep this in my thoughts today as I take something from the two days that better prepares me to play to my potential on the next journey. Onward to the next event.

Round 1 SK Telecom

I dont feel I played as poorly as my 75 today reflects. I began hitting the ball more solidly and stayed positive all day. I actually felt like I had a fighting chance out there and I would come out the victor. I felt that way until my last putt fell into the bottom of the cup for a suprising 75. I executed a handful of putts poorly, made one bad decision and was thrown a couple tough breaks from the Golf gods, but am very upbeat about playing a strong round tomorrow. Although my game is not as finely tuned as I expect, I know I am on the verge of a breakout performance. Based on my standing after round 1, tomorrow would be ideal timing. I'm going to hold my head high and wait for the birdies to stack up tomorrow's perfect round. Keep watching, prouder moments await.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Living the Dream

I had my first thrill of a promising week today when I met up with two players ranked in the world top 10, who came from the Masters to this event. As I came down the final hole of my practice round, I noticed the 9th hole (which runs parallel to 18) had drawn quite a gallery. Emerging from the crowd were KJ Choi and Retief Goosen. 'The Goose' has the same tee time as I on day 1, but off the 10th hole. I have the opportunity to compete against and beat an impressive field this week that includes two of the world's elite. It's one of those rare opportunities for true competitive brilliance.

The golf course is beautiful. One side is bordered by the ocean, the other lined by Incheon Airport. It is a long course with extremely deep, undulating greens. It is a course style similar to a Nationwide Tour Stop; a course that rarely takes driver out of your hand and provides room off the tee. I recently changed to a Titleist D2 driver. That combine with a few swing tweaks since the Japan event have me hitting the ball longer and straighter than I have for a few months. I was positively psyched after leaving the 18th green today, not only because I was about to walk past KJ Choi and 'The Goose,' but because I knew this course helps me utilize my length advantage.

This is a tremendous opportunity for me to butt heads with some world beaters on a golf course that suits my game. I've envisioned making birdie on the final hole of a professional tournament to beat the world's best since I was a long-haired, pull cart toting kid. I believe this is my week to live that dream.

Friday, April 11, 2008

SK Telecom Open

I will be heading for Seoul, South Korea on Monday to tee it up in the 600k, SK Telecom Open. From what the veteran players have told me, golf in South Korea is like football and baseball back home -- it is their entertainment bread and butter. Golf is far more expensive in Korea than the US with an average round costing about $200 USD. Despite the excessive cost, golfers find it nearly impossible to get a tee time. I've been told even if you have the funding, reserving a time play is very challenging bordering impossible. Golf in South Korea is revered, which is why the Korean Tour is so well sponsored and run. Therefore, one of the biggest events on the Korean's professional tour coming to their capital, is like the Sox vs Yanks at Fenway. This event is supposed to attract a great crowd and have a an enthusiastic following. It is the perfect setting for a breakthrough performance.

The last two weeks I have faced a few insurmountable challenges, but am excited to conquer them this week. I've been able to find some swing help in the past two days and know I am back on track in that area. Like the past two tournaments, this will be my first visit to the host country and with that comes new culture, food and language barriers. How I handle these aspects, factor into my final outcome. Last week, I was given a caddy I am sure was a very kind person, but she couldn’t get my bag up the course's hills on her own, lost my umbrella and rain pants and tried to offer advice without being able to speak a word of English. No offense intended, but I would have rather carried my own bag. This week should be a bit easier being in a major city. I should be able to navigate with less stress and eat with less reluctance.

Although my results from the first two events were not up to my expectation, I made both cuts and am learning how to place these unfamiliar pieces into the puzzle. Initially, I was disappointed in myself. I need to keep in mind that no art is mastered without pains and practice and no goal too easily attainable, is worth pursuing. It's like the line in 'Jet Airliner' from Steve Miller Band: "You know you've got to go through hell before you get to heaven..." I am really excited for this week's opportunity and know great success is imminent.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Joyless in Japan

The person that came up with "a bad day at the golf course is better than a good day at the office," has never met anyone who's office is the golf course. I am extreamly disappointed tonight after another terrible round where I had no control over my golf ball and very little over myself. After hitting the ball out of bounds four times today and hitting 6 greens in regulation, which I think ties for my worst stats since sophomore year of college, it's time to get a golf lesson. My swing has been hanging by a thread for a while now and after 6 months without any golf lesson, I can't continue to improve without help. Days like this in the life of a professional golfer are pretty lonely. But this is all part of the experience and makes the journey's story so inspiring when you tell it from the PGA Tour winner's circle some day.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Round 3

Round 3: 71

69-73-71- 213

While I waited for the shuttle to the golf course ten minutes after its scheduled arrival time at 6:40 this morning, I grew concerned it may come very late . 15 minutes later, I got the impression it wouldn't be showing up at all and had to hail a cab for the thirty minute journey through the mountains. Like yesterday, I got to the course with just enough time to find my caddie and make it to the first tee before my name was called.

This is all part of the adjustment I am making to a professional golf in Asia. The travel can be difficult, the languages, food and cultures are extremely unique, the golf course styles and grass varies dramatically and in my case, scheduled transportation to the golf course shows up late or not at all. I always hold myself to high expectations on and off the course and have become overly frustrated with my results recently. Amid the shuffle of this morning's confusion though, I realized I have never dealt with all these factors before. It is important for me to be patient and have way more love for myself and this process as I learn to adjust.

I can't recall playing any tee or approach shots today that would be categorized as "good." Some were mediocre, while most were poor and put my chipping and putting to the test. Fortunately, my putter decided to be the hero and save my scorecard from the bowels of bogeyland. I'm in 26th going into tomorrow's final round and although it isn't an impressive position and I am not satisfied with my results, it is an improvement from my first tournament and with a good round tomorrow, I have a chance of moving into the top 10. I can take encouragement from performing at the mid-level of my ability and still having the chance to post a good finish. So I'll swing tomorrow towards better shots and come out one day more acclimated to the rigors of this new tour life.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Round 2

Round 1: 69
Round 2: 73

I was reassured by my course and game management yesterday, so today, I tried to take a similar approach. But, I lacked the imperative self management that needs to be in game management's corner...

When you get an afternoon tee time before a tournament round and have to spend the morning waiting, your routine during that time can be as important as the time spent on the putting green. I played at 12 today and after an early wakeup, had an early breakfast. I tried to spend the morning in hibernation to avoid building anxiety. The tournament transportation came twenty minutes late, left 25 minutes late, and got caught in traffic, leaving my plan to have lunch prior to warming up, abandoned. Instead, my warm up consisted of practicing my 100 meter dash with a golf bag on my shoulder, from the parking lot to the tee.

I started off steadily with three pars. Number four is a 180 yard par 3 with water a few yards from the green's front edge. The green slopes severely towards the water. After playing an approach shot 30 feet past the hole, I putted my ball down the slope to two feet past the hole where it nearly came to a stop and then started picking up speed. It rolled faster until it was off the green, rolled down the slope and stopped just short of the water. I had putted it off the green; a dreaded scenario for any golfer and finished the hole with a double-bogey.

I was back in grind mode on cut day. I was able to make three consecutive putts from over 10 feet on 12,13,14 that saved my round from excessive disaster. On 15, my body began to feel like I had just spent a few hours in the gym and not eaten after. My hands began to shake, my legs felt lacked stability and my swing responded accordingly. I dropped three shots on my final four holes; a costly reminder that without gas in your tank, you can't drive anywhere.

So it was another disappointing second round, although still better than Shanghai. My two round total is even par, and inside the cut line by three strokes. Tomorrow, I play at 8:10...the perfect time, right between breakfast and lunch.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Emerson Pacific Open RD 1

Cutting to the chase: I posted 69 (-2) in the opening round this morning. It was an up and down round needing to save par, after missing the green in regulation on many holes. After taking some important lessons from the Shanghai tournament to the first tee this morning, my initial goal was to build momentum. As with many courses in central Asia, there is no driving range. Standing over driver on the first hole of an important tournament is nerve racking, even with a range warm up. I wanted to get a bunch of pars on my card early and get some comfort under my feet. I had plans to make confident swings to safer positions. After some early, arrant drives, I kept my driver in the bag for the duration of the round. I focused on playing to the safest parts of the fairway, on a course that has out-of-bounds on both sides of every hole on the course. It made my tee shots less stressful, but it also left a few longer approach shots that weren't as successful. Today I was paying homage to the Allman Brothers Band and "was born a scramblin' man."

I'm pleased with my patience and strategy today. It leads me to believe I am learning with every competitive experience. I will continue to build momentum and confidence tomorrow through the final stroke, on the final green.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Little Fuji Pictures

SBS Emerson Pacific Open, Yonago Japan Photos: Copy and paste this link into your address bar --

Soaring in Japan

I arrived in Yonago, Japan on a small propeller plane with three other passengers Monday night and was greeted by a pleasant taxi driver and a quickly skipping meter. 20 minutes and almost 5,000 Yen later (nearly $50), I was at my hotel. The receptionist spoke English about as well as the taxi driver, so we used sign language and a calculator to get me situated in a room.

Yesterday was an unintentional sightseeing day. I scoured the city of Yonago on foot, looking for an ATM. Armed with a few coins that equated to less than $10, I traveled from bank to bank only to have my ATM card rejected by non-English speaking and accepting, machines. Around mid-day I ordered a piece of chicken off a picture menu to refuel. The journey proved fruitless and I returned to the hotel with no money, no further understanding of the Japanese language and an ATM card that might have well had a prayer on it.

Yonago is situated with ocean on either side. It looks like the landing strip of southern Japan. The massive mountains tower over the countryside. From just about anywhere, you get a view of what the locals call "Little Fuji." The name is misleading; there is nothing "little" about it. It is a gigantic peak with a snow cap covering half the mountain.

It also serves as a backdrop for Hole 1 of the tournament course. This week’s course is situated on the side of a smaller mountain, giving players one of the most spectacular places to hit a golf shot. The tee shot on #1 is elevated a few hundred feet in the air making it more dramatic. The hole is 375 yards. Today I hit a towering drive that soared towards Little Fuji and appeared as if it may not come down; it was that shot you dream of hitting. The ball finally came down on the front of the green, which caused quite a stir with the leading group. I will post a picture of the scene on my website later.

The rest of the golf course feels like coming home. It's nothing close to as breathtaking as the opening tee shot; you could say it's all downhill after that. But because the course winds through dramatic elevation changes, I am reminded of my high-school days playing the back nine at Owl's Nest. It is a bit nostalgic despite being thousands of miles from home, which adds a little bounce in my step.

My tournament officially beings Friday at 8:03 off the tenth tee. I found an ATM this morning and if I can keep my ball majestically soaring, am looking forward to seeing a substantially larger balance in my account at this time next week.

Friday, March 28, 2008


The week did not get off to a good start when I pulled out my driver for the first time since Shanghai and the head was dangling off. The bag handlers at the airport must be able to get more club head speed out of it than I can! Another pro living in Taiwan, who owns the same driver, has lent me it to me for the coming week and Titleist is building me a new one, so I should be covered. I don’t think I will use the same two driver strategy Phil Mickleson utilized in '06 though.

I have been focusing on freeing play this week. When a player competes for a week with the wind cutting across holes with water on both sides of the fairway, their golf swing tends to become tight, immobile and slow. I received great advice that I should make my practice week as unrestricted as possible and play fun shots: the majestic ones; the high shots that move both ways on command. To hit these shots, a player must utilize their athleticism and make fuller, freer movements. The same principle applies to putting. Keep it really simple with the only thought being the ball going in the hole. It is a superior mentality to play golf with and makes the journey around the course exceedingly fun. In between shots I've worked towards breaking apart the 'score box' that golf locks its players inside. I've played with only a handful of players in my life who are able to do this...

We measure ourselves relative to this conceived score and word dubbed, "par." A shot that moves away from our intended lines and places par in harms way, creates tension and a sense of lack of accomplishment. To destroy this model, I've been trying to view each shot as uniquely individual. I do this by reminding myself, "I did not hit my shot to this point, I walked out onto the course and placed it here because I wanted the opportunity to play this shot." Thus, no matter where the ball is, I've made the conscious choice to play from here and there is only that shot. Everything becomes rendered perfect in my world. Every swing is not related to every other swing. Thus, If you have missed a few 6 foot putts in the previous 17 holes, those strokes have no bearing on your ability to make the one on the 18th.

My focus now needs to be on winning. I have come to Asia to gain valuable experience reinventing myself as a man not connected to a past of ups and downs, but a present moment focused only on success. I need to move beyond thinking about how much potential I have and live up my ideal self image on a daily basis. There is no such thing as par or time, there is only this moment. As Sports Psychologist Diana Mcnab says, "every time you look at your watch, it should only say 'NOW.'

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pictures from Shanghai

Visit this link to my website for Shanghai and KEB Invitational Pics:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Final Round KEB

The wind HOWLED today...To illustrate: on two parallel 440 yard holes, one played into the wind and the other down. On the hole playing into the wind, I hit a full, solid driver to 177 from the front edge of the green and proceeded to bash a low flighted 3 iron, coming up short by two yards. On the following hole, I hit the same drive to 51 yards from the front edge of the green.

On my first hole of the day I was left with a 133 yard approach shot straight into the gail. I stood over the ball with a 7-iron and as the gusts nearly blew me over, I changed to a 6. From this distance into a light breeze I would normally hit a low-flighted 9 iron...this was before the wind was even near its peak! The scariest part of today was standing over putts positioned on slight slopes and hoping you didn’t look down at the ball to find it blowing away.

I finished with another disappointing round of 76 today. My first paycheck from the tour wont quite cover my week's expenses but I suppose after the struggles my game has experienced in the last three days, I should feel fortunate I made a check at all. The best news of my week was finding out today I was invited to next month's SK Telecom Open -- a co-sanctioned event between the Korean and Asian Tours that KJ Choi, Jim Furyk and Chris Riley played in last year.

I'll head back to Taipei tomorrow and spend the week grinding down the glitches in my game. I leave for Tottori, Japan this coming Sunday for the next Korean Tour tourney. I'll reflect further in the coming week. Tonight, I am tired from a week of too many strokes and too few smiles. No worries, fewer strokes and more smiles are imminent.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Adapt and Overcome

Aside from 10 holes in the first round where I was able to ride a wave of momentum, this has been the worst week of golf I have played since I've been in Asia. I nearly picked up today's round where I left off yesterday's. The weather has posed a serious challenge as it has been 45 degrees with 20 mph winds and off and on rain and usually, I welcome that weather. So despite terrible play and a barely made cut, I need to learn from this event so I am more prepared for the next and it can be a positive experience.

I started the tournament in the correct frame of mind wanting to have a personal best tournament. I had my heart set on double-digits under par for a number. I visualized shooting it and my great play in the second half of the first round made me believe I could get that done. See a problem with this thinking yet? I was already in a score-oriented frame of mind. I went into day two with visions of grandeur and a head-snapping, low round. I started off the round by hitting two shots on a par five over the green and into a nasty hazard. It was position Z. It may not have been quite cold enough to snow at 7 am yesterday morning, but I had built a snowman on my first hole anyway, racking up an 8. I was devout to my thought process at this stage and here lies the problem. I watched my name come off the leaderboard in one hole and I was determined to get it back up there quickly, so I pressed.

It was tunnel vision with the flag stick; there was nothing else in my head. It didn't matter where the pin was, I needed my name back on the top of that leaderboard. When the aggressive play got me in trouble because I couldn’t execute, I found myself further away from the leaders and I pressed harder. I pressed so hard I went numb. The feeling was toxic, it was like a pressure poison in my veins. It was in the mid-forties outside and I was boiling. The only reason I have improved at golf is because I have been able to make par my friend and remain patient. In the last two days, I regressed to a time when I was an incredibly inconsistent and unpredictable player. To make things more problematic, I let the disappointment of yesterday take away my hunger for success today. I was like a car running on its last fumes. My ZONE is just above a positive, neutral state of mind and I missed it on the extreme high and low side. Both of these corners of the spectrum are horrible places for a golfer.

What can I take out of this? Discussing this tour's tournament sites and weather conditions this week with the veteran players, I have discovered that out here, par is a great score. Par makes you money. The courses are difficult, the tournament setups and course styles are different and the weather, adverse. I need to adapt. Some of the oldest knowledge are planet has says that if you cannot adapt, you cannot survive. This week is a perfect example of that. If I could have made par my friend yesterday, stayed patient and played as if it were a chess match, setting myself up in this moment for success in the next, I may have a very different blog post tonight.

It's the first event of my rookie year on the Korean Tour and I will try to find my ZONE tomorrow and chalk this one up as a great debut learning experience. If I can continue to learn and implement that knowledge into every journey around the course, this will be a successful year and a great career. The journey continues into better days...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

KEB Invitational Rd. 1

Some rounds of golf are amazing because of how great they are while others because of how humble they can make us. My round today was amazing because it contained both. Through 7 holes I was +1 after blowing two great opportunities on par fives. This course's challenge lies primarily in the undulating slopes that comprise every green and secondly, due to water hazards in play on 14 of the 18 holes. Hole 8 was one such hole and my tee shot went swimming, leading to a double bogie. I was +3 through 8 holes and felt the noose tighten.

Walking to the ninth tee, after seeking relief in profanity, my caddy said, "we're not even half finished the first round of a four day tournament." As obvious and repetitive as that comment can be by someone trying to comfort you during a humbling round, it unlocked a string of images that made me believe I was ready to handle this situation. So I went to work.

I picked away at the black numbers one moment at a time and birdied the ninth. Then I birdied the 470 yard par 4, 12th. I followed that with a tap in birdie on 13 and 15. The 17th has a KIA Sportage just off the tee, which is given in the event of a hole is one. I rifled a six iron at the flag 190 yards in the distance. A player from China in my group used the only English I heard him speak all day, he was enthousiastically saying, "go in!" The ball landed a few feet in front of the hole and led to another birdie. I capped off the round by making a downhill, 20 footer on 18 in front of the tv cameras, for one final birdie and a back nine of 31. In 10 holes, I had altered my future moving from +3 to -3; from prisoner, to executioner.

I go into round 2 in solo third place, three strokes away from the leader and will look to burn up the cold morning air at 7 am.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tournament Masks

The tournament put on a player's dinner tonight. One of the entertainment acts was a traditional chinese performance where a dancer/magician changes faces over the course of a song. The performer begins with one type and color mask and without ever touching his face, and in the blink of an eye, can change masks: one comming off, one going on and the transition is too fast to witness, appearing seemless. It is puzzling and spectacular. From what I was told, there are only a small number of performers who can do it successfully and no one outside their tightly formed circle knows their secret method.

It was a fitting act because the night before a big event begins, I try to put on a different mask. I try to lay the idea of tournament golf aside and focus on anything else. At this point, I've put in my preparation and there is nothing more I can do tonight to enhance tomorrow's play beside rest, relax and sleep well. So the pink elephant that looms is my tee time tomorrow at 11:30, but it is my job to put on the mask with the pink elephant blinders. It is one of the only times during the course of a tournament week that I will really try to get away from anything having to do with golf.

The weather has been very cold for the last two days, not getting above 50 and that is not supposed to change for the comming weekend. Tomorrow will be spent bundling up to stay warm and finding a rhythm to get hot. If you are awake late tonight and happen to be around the computer, go to and click on 2007 Korean Tour Schedule in the left hand column...the schedule will pop up and click on KEB Invitational for live scoring. Otherwise, you can read about my first round tomorrow on the blog. If all goes well, the next time you hear from me I will be wearing my red, under par mask. Over and out.