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.