Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ATB Financial Classic Practice Round

I've completed my practice for this week's ATB Financial Classic and am ready for competition. With its receptive conditions, short yardage and forgiving rough, Edmonton Country Club will yield many birdies this week. The greens are small with enough slope to create significant challenge for players leaving themselves slippery putts.

I had a great practice round today, hitting piercing cuts of the tee and throwing darts at the pin with my wedges. With my new Scotty Cameron in action this week, I feel very comfortable and prepared.

The true challenge as always lies in maintaining that comfort level during competition. If I can go out determined to hit great shots and remain resilient after a miscue, I will have an amazing week!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

ATB Financial Classic

I got into the Canadian Tour's ATB Financial Classic in Edmonton this coming week. I fly into Calgary for a one day Pro-Am clinic Monday, and move onward to Edmonton that evening. The event is held at Edmonton Country Club and features a $250k purse.

I feel fortunate to have this opportunity, as it almost didn't come to fruition and will play to make the most of it. I will report more as the coming week arrives and I'm on the "fertile" Edmonton turf (Not my term...Wikipedia describes Edmonton as having "fertile" farmlands and I thought this word was funny and fitting).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Coming Events

For the coming Canadian Tour ATB Financial Championship, I am the third alternate on the field list. Meaning, between now and next week, if three people withdraw, I will get the magical call. I'm hoping this happens. I've switched putters to a Scotty Cameron Squareback 2 and am putting amazing! The ability to again make 20-30 footers is going to provide a new level of dynamism to my game. I played a skins game in Boca Raton, FL this past week on a 7,000 yard course in windy conditions and made 8 birdies and no bogies, carding a flawless 64 -- the best round I've played in over a year. I'm hoping to get the chance to put on a similar putting clinic at the ATB in 2 weeks!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Round 2, TCO

As the morning rounds ended and I was over an hour away from my 2:20 tee time, I overheard a player that had just completed his round say, "you guys are getting screwed." He was talking to my playing partner Barry O'Neil of Ireland, and he was referring to severe winds that kicked up around midday. The morning saw rain sprinkles and nearly non-existent winds. Then the sun arrived and with it came blustery, swirling winds that held steady at 25 mph.

I was resilient and determined all day, hitting the "low ball" to keep it under the wind. My chipping and pitching from the deep cabbage around the greens was spectacular. My putting improved slightly and although my ball striking was not in peak form, the windy conditions made this aspect of the game very challenging for everyone. I finished with a score of 70, but the total score of 144 for two rounds left me 2 strokes outside the cut line.

I've had tee times that have been very advantageous in the past, but round 2's was not one of them. Those breaks likely average themselves out at the end of a career. All I can do is focus on the fact that I played determined and focused golf in the second round, never quit on myself, and hit some quality shots in tough conditions.

The next event is the ATB Financial Open in Calgary, three weeks from today. Like the Terminator, "I'll be back" with guns ablaze and robotic precision.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Round 1 TCO

I continue to struggle with my putting and suffered three disastrous three-putts on the front nine. I hit four putts that lipped out or burned the edge of the hole on the back nine, but none dropped. The poor putting performance led me to post 74 in the opening round. I drove the ball decently overall, and my chipping and sand play shinned. I will build off those positive attributes for tomorrow's round. A golf cliche says that if the putts don't go in today, they'll all go in tomorrow: this is a brilliant marketing phrase surely created by some golf promoter, but I believe this will hold true for me. I am down, but not out. While it's been months since I've posted a competitive score in the 60s, I've compiled quite a few scores of this caliber over the course of my career and know how to make it happen. I will be well outside the cut when day 1 ends, but a man with nothing to lose and everything to gain is a dangerous competitor. Tomorrow, I will play on a mission to get inside the cut line and have a successful week.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Tournament Book

If a week long golf tournament were a book and every day was a separate chapter, most books would start off similarly: travel, arrival, accommodation acclimation, course study and preparation, practice, rest, etc. But if in some Virginia Woolf stream of consciousness format, the narrative may play out uniquely, as the psychological always provides new challenge.

This week I arrived hopeful yet fatigued: both bad mental characteristics. Hopeful is practical but -20 par requires more than optimism. Thus, my challenge over the past two days has been to mentally transform "hopeful yet fatigued" into "determined, energetic and fearless." This psychological metamorphosis would be the interesting introduction to the tournament novel. The belief system is the baseline from which all shots follow. Deepak Chopra wrote in his Golf For Enlightenment, "don't blame your ball because you've loaded it with hidden and conflicting intentions."

So with less than a day before my opening tee shot in the Times Colonist Open, my technique feels comfortable enough to produce low scores. The course is in amazing condition despite heavy rains in the past two days: greens are true and fast, rough is thick and high, fairways are cut short and narrow.

It's now a matter of continuing to work towards solidifying my week's belief system that exudes confidence and trust. Most players know rationally where their "zone" is and can describe it, but the difference between knowing and feeling, determines success. I must rediscover my zone and work to remain in its flow, leaving behind hopefulness for complete self belief; relinquishing the need to control and surrendering to my own conditioned ability to place the ball where I intend.

While the rest of the book is unwritten, I've prepared myself to succeed and believe the book's closing chapter will be exciting and fun.