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.