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.

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