Sunday, August 31, 2008

Begining Another Chapter

I was reminded today by a childhood icon's book (Mr. Rodgers), that you are never finished with anything. Anytime one story ends, another begins. This week, my hopes of contending for the Johnnie Walker Open ended on Friday evening. Friday evening was also when I began preparing for the following week's Heavenland Open. This weekend has been a great chance for some self-reflection and tireless practice. I felt positive going into the JW Open, but was not entirely comfortable with new short iron swings I've been working on. Thinking the pieces would come together at the perfect time, I employed them in competition and watched my shots soar (not so majestically) away from my targets. My devotion and commitment to these shots served as a fault on the first day. By the time day one was completed and I realized I needed to utilize more consistent shots and older techniques to shoot lower scores, I was too far behind the scoring curve.

But having a planned weekend suddenly open up gave me the opportunity to practice my new and old shots. As the weekend draws to a close and I am traveling to my next tournament site, I have already begun the next phase of the same journey, and this coming story's conclusion will have a more inspirational finale.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Johnnie Walker Open Rd 2

I finished with a -1, 71 today for a +3 two day total. When the final putts are holed today, my score will leave me just outside the cut line and a weekend bid. I'm obviously disappointed with the results, but see some light at the end of the tunnel. I positioned myself well off the tee for the vast majority of these two rounds. From that point to the hole, I did not hit the ball close enough to have many birdie opportunities. When I did play an approach shot into a potential birdie distance, it added pressure on that shot to be successful because there were so few of them. So I will continue to practice over the coming days for my last event of season before the start of PGA Tour Q-School. These tournaments are simulation training for that main event and my ultimate goal, so I will keep my reaction to these results lighthearted and move forward to the next series of preparations.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

RD 1 Johnnie Walker Open

I had a disappointing round of +4, 76 today. I hit the ball well off the tee, but really struggled with the swing changes I worked on in my short iron play. My approaching left the most room for improvement, which will have to work itself into my game by tomorrow if I am to find my way inside the cut line. All other facets of my game (Driving, chipping and putting) are on the verge of being very strong. A few solid shots early in tomorrow's round should direct me towards a great day and a chance for two more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Raon Country Club

Traveling to Raon Country Club requires a flight from Seoul, South Korea to the island of Jeju. Jeju is a tropical, volcanic island off the mainland's southern coast. As I stepped out the Jeju airport entrance, the steeply ascending volcano in the center of the island towered over the swaying palm trees. I thought it was a perfect image for me to use for the week: while the wind blows my competitors off balance, I'll remain unwavering and focused, existing in a superior form.

As usual, the journey to the golf course was adventurous and this week, my departure port was in the US. Following 4 Bus rides, 3 plane rides, a major car crash and coffee with an Iraq veteran and a government major at Harvard, I made my way through the lobby of Raon CC. The course opened in 2004 with an inaugural tournament featuring Tiger Woods, KJ Choi, Se Ri Pak and Colin Montgomerie. Tiger's pictures and signatures line the clubhouse walls. As I studied the dinner menu consisting of options like "fried hairtail in kimchi soup," I wondered whether Tiger brought his own chef.

I played my practice round yesterday around the wind battered track. The course is very challenging with nine holes set amid large undulation changes and carved out of thick jungle. Any shot not finding grass in between the tree lines, is doomed. The other nine holes titled, "The Stone 9" (stone caves and pillars are set around the course) is my favorite of all courses I've played in South Korea. It is difficult, but very fair and offers numerous birdie opportunities. This is the most well maintained course we have played on the Korean Tour with tightly cut fairways and soft greens.

I controlled my shots as if directing them at will yesterday. I have perfect ball flights and strategies for the wind and course challenges this week. I'm employing a 2-iron this week as a "go-to" club for the narrow, nerve rattling shots with howling winds. A perfect 2 iron produces a shot that might as well be singing MC Hammer's 'Cant Touch This' as it pierces through the wind. At the weekend's finale, I hope I tower above my competitors like the volcano over the palms. I know if I bring my best game to bear on Raon CC or any course I compete on, very few scores boast a chance of catching mine.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

24 hour flight, 25 years old

Back at it! This post comes to you from Narita Airport in Tokyo. I am preparing for the final leg of this 24 hour journey, during which time I turned 25 years old. My birthday realization is I am ready for success. I am leaving any hesitation and lack of trust behind with my 24 year old status and headed into the next two tournaments with a new found supreme confidence and ability to win. I arrive in Seoul, Korea tonight and will spend the next three days getting used to the 13 hour time difference before heading to Jeju Island for the Johnnie Walker Open. I am creating a video journal of my travels that will be posted on my website sometime following the conclusion of the first event. My new MasterCard commercial goes as follows:

1 New Blog Post: Interesting

1 Picture: Worth a Thousand Words

1 Moving Film: Priceless

Keeping you updated....again,