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.'

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