I'll start with a quick recap of the last event. I played nicely at Sea Island, but unfortunately, my off-season started one day early. I made the cut, but hovered near the bottom of the leaderboard on Saturday and ended up getting MDF'd. "MDF" is short for made cut, did not finish. The MDF policy is enacted in events where more than 78 players make the cut. It exists to limit the field to a more managable size so that the everyone can finish within the television window. It didn't feel good to be sent home before the final round, but that end result was not indicative of the way I felt about my game. Playing in windy conditions, I had some of best ball-striking stats ever. I feel like I turned a corner with my driving of the golf ball, and my iron and wedge play were good as well. I hit a very high percentage of fairways and greens, and really had plenty of chances to get something good going, but I was just a little bit off on the putting surfaces. I never did a good job with my pace on the greens, and that made a big difference. I suffered a couple of very uncharacteristic three-putts during the week and never got into a good groove at all. I posted scores of 69, 71, 70 (-2, total) and missed the chance to play on Sunday by a single shot. It was disappointing to go home a day early, but it was nice just to make the cut feeling as "off" as I did on the greens. I'm not the least bit worried because I know that I will usually putt well, and if I continue to the hit the ball the way I did at Sea Island, I will be in contention a lot. Though the end result will show a tie for 75th place for me in the Fall's final event, I feel great about my game and the opportunities that exist heading into the 2016 portion of the schedule.
Those opportunities changed just a little bit three weeks ago. Remember this:
That win changed a lot of things for me. Now, instead of wondering which events I will get into, I need to be pondering some different things, such as, which events will I choose to skip. To answer one of the most common questions I have recieved, my win did NOT earn an invitation to the 2016 Masters. What it did do, however, is put me into the fully exempt winner's category on the PGA Tour for the rest of this season and the next two full seasons as well. That means that I will get into all of the "regular" events and a lot of the special tournaments as well. To put it another way, when I was a rookie on Tour, I played every single event that I got into, and that totalled 18 tournaments. This season, I will have the opportunity to play in neary 40 events. That is really cool, and I love to play, so I may get fairly close to that number, but I obviously need to be smart about it.
I am still really motivated, however. The fact that I have not yet secured an invitation to the 2016 Masters has me very hungry to win again soon. Plus, I really like this feeling:
The post-victory glow looks pretty good, too:
That first win was definitley unforgettable, but I am hungry to have that winning feeling again. I would like to make it a habit, actually!
The way to do that is with consistent, intelligent, focused preparation. That is why I am excited to get back to work. Rest is preparation, too, and I know that, so I am excited to combine all the hard-work elements of preparartion that I enjoy with some quality down time over the next five weeks. I will hit the ground running and ready to compete in 2016. That reminds me of one other opportunity that my win secured for me. I will be starting the 2016 tournament schedule at the Tournament of Champions in Maui the first week of January. That kind of makes me wonder what the post-victory glow would look like in Hawaii. I'm motivated to find out!
It has been a great journey to the milestone achievement that happened this Fall, but I'm still going to sign off with my traditional promise: great things are coming! I will post periodically on here during the off-season, so keep it here to see how I am getting better! Thank you for following and believing in me!