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...

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