2015 Goals

Monday, October 5, 2015

2015 Web.com Tour Season Wrap-Up

I'll start with just a quick update from the last event. I posted rounds of 73, 71 (+4 total) and missed the cut by four shots at the Web.com Tour Championship last week. I actually felt great about my iron play, and I started to drive the ball much better on Friday, but erratic play off the tee on Thursday and a very poor putting performance doomed me in what could be my last Web.com Tour event ever. It certainly stinks to finish the season in a rough patch and to end on a missed cut, but I am feeling really good about my game. 

As I hinted above, I did not have the closing stretch that I wanted to the year. If you include the one PGA Tour that I got into back in mid-July, I collected just one top-ten finish over my final ten events and I missed six cuts in that stretch. Those numbers sound painful, and I really do not like them, but I think that stretch of golf could fall under the cliche "two steps forward and one step back." The off-season work that I did preceding the 2015 Web.com Tour season definitely yielded two giant steps forward for me, and as I continue to improve, I can accept taking one step back. I know that the work I am doing will continue to produce great strides forward, so I am at peace with the temporary step backwards. 

It is a shame to end the season on a down note, but I can assure you that my memories from the 2015 Web.com Tour season will be great ones. Let me review what I accomplished this year. I checked off two of my three Outcome Goals: 

1) I have earned my PGA Tour Card for the 2015-2016 season.

2) I won a tournament in thrilling fashion with birdies on the final three holes to claim the biggest event of the Web.com Tour's regular season. 

I could stop there it would clearly be a successful year, but there is much more about which to be excited. I set two statistical goals for the season. I wanted to average greater than 66% of Greens in Regulation. The Web.com Tour statistics say I averaged more than 70%. According my my records, which are more accurate, I was actually at 67.005% for the season, but I am very strict and don't count any fringes as a Green in Regulation even if it was a great shot and close to the hole. In any event, that was mission accomplished for the year, and I feel like I am just at the tip of the iceburg in terms of where my ball-striking is heading. The other statistical goal I set was to have a par-five scoring average of less than 4.6. I ended up at 4.66 for the year, so I came up short of that goal, but I am so pleased with the way my driving of the ball and wedge play are continuing to improve. As those two areas keep getting better, I am confident that I will be able to feast on the par-fives moving forward. My game is continuing to evolve and improve, and my accomplishments from this year's Web.com Tour season are certainly strong evidence that I am on a great path. 

The most important thing (other than my PGA Tour Card, of course!) that I will carry from the 2015 Web.com Tour season into the future is a commitment to and belief in the value of my Process Goals. I know that "Process Goals," "Practice Schedule," and "Fitness Routine" are things that I talk about way too much on my blog, and I know that they are boring concepts compared to making birdies on Sundays to win tournaments. I truly believe, however, that having focused, goal-oriented preparation is the single most important element of my success. As I look back over my practice journal from this season, I can see that I was very disciplined in my work. I am proud of the dedication that I showed to my Process Goals, and I am excited to carry that commitment with me to the PGA Tour.

The 2015 Web.com Tour season is over. It was a great one! Now, it's my one-week off-season to get ready for the 2015-2016 PGA Tour season, which begins next week in Napa, California. It is time to regroup, recharge, and get ready to go. In the next few days, I will come up with new goals for the new season, and I'm really excited about that. Keep it here to see what I want to accomplish over the next twelve months and the plan that I will follow to get it done. 

Thank you very much for following me, supporting me, and believing in me on this journey! Great things are coming!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ready to Turn It Around

I am in a bit of a slump. I still feel really good about the work I am doing and the general state of my game, but I am shooting lousy scores. I let it get me down a little bit in the first round. After opening the tournament with a two-birdie, no bogey front nine, I struggled on my back nine and posted an opening round 73 (+3). It felt bad to let the round get away from me on the back nine, and I was feeling pretty bummed into the evening, but then I remembered how much progress I have made lately. Golf is a hard game, and there will always be rough stretches, but overall, I am still improving. That is really exciting. I am ready to go out there tomorrow and continue getting better. I really do believe that I am close to playing great golf, and tomorrow's round just might be the turning point. Either way, I am still very encouraged and know that I am heading in the right direction. Thank you for following me and keep it here for another report after round 2!

Quick Catch-Up + A Cool Thought for This Week

I am long overdue for an update on here, but I'm not going to give a very thorough one this morning. Here's the over-arching picture. I played with a great attitude and felt good all week in Columbus, Ohio, last week, but I posted scores of 76 and 75 to miss the cut. It is always disappointing for me to miss a cut, but I honestly felt great about many aspects of my performance. I traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, for this week's Web.com Tour Championship feeling very good. My preparation for this week's event has actually been a little scattered and hasn't felt all that great, but I know that I am ready to play well. My work has been on point for the three week's leading up to this, and though I haven't been getting the results I want, I am following my plan well. I had a motivating thought this morning. If I continue to follow my plan well and stay on my path of steady improvement, this week could very well be my final event ever on the Web.com Tour. That is pretty darn cool, and I'm ready to make it a great one!

Thank you for following and rooting for me! I'm sorry for the lack of updates over the past several days. I'll do better moving forward. Keep it here to continue enjoying the journey with me!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ready in Columbus

This week the Web.com Tour Finals event is in Columbus, Ohio, at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course. It is an amazing golf course, and I am ready to tackle it. My preparation has been on point again this week, and I am feeling great about everything. I wrote two messages to myself myself on my gloves this week. One is a very simple reminder of my plan and says "confidence, freedom, trust." The other says "use today to be better tomorrow." That doesn't mean that I don't want to be focused on the moment; rather, it is my way of reminding myself that whether I have an off day or win the tournament by ten shots, I still need be focused on steady improvement moving forward. Golf is unpredictable, and you can never say for certain what will happen on any given day, but I can say with near certainty that I am going to continue to improve and be very successful over the long haul. For now, I'm ready to play with confidence, freedom, and trust and have a great tournament in Columbus. Thank you for following and please keep it here for updates through the tournament!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Motivated and Ready To Be Better Mentally

This one is tough to swallow. I have had a great week of work, and I felt very prepared to play well on a course I really like, but I posted scores of 70 and 74 to miss the cut by one. I let myself down by reverting to some old, poor thought patterns and that is what makes this particularly painful. This week's result, and the shortcomings that let to it, have prompted me to do some serious introspection. I am still really disappointed, and this one really hurts, but I will be stronger mentally and better than ever because of this week. 

Here is the truth: I still face severe cut anxiety. I have focused strongly on my mental game, and I really feel like my routine is healthy and powerful, but I still let anxiety from the cut line dictate my mood on the golf course sometimes. This week, I played some of the best golf of my life in the middle of my opening round. I had battled back from a rough start over the first four holes and was four-under-par through 16 holes. I didn't do anything terribly wrong, but I bogeyed the last two holes of that first round. Given the great golf that I was playing, it should have been no big deal, but after that poor finish, I immediately allowed thoughts of the cut line to dominate my mind. When I teed it up on Friday, I still felt prepared physically to play well, but I definitely had anxiety in my thoughts. I was executing my shots very well, but a misjudged lie on the third hole led to a bogey, and that brought the anxiety to the front of my mind. I stayed committed to my pre-shot routine and still hit a lot of quality shots, but rather than playing with confidence, freedom, and trust, I played with fear for the rest of the day. That fear caused me to feel uncomfortable over some big shots and kept me from delivering the great skills I have worked so hard to develop. It is very hard for me to admit these mental shortcomings, but from this place of honesty with myself, I can make a great plan and move forward to be better. 

Here is another truth: The success of my golf career is never dependent upon any single week. I have long held the belief that steady improvement will ultimately lead to the achievement of all of my goals in golf. Therefore, the thing that I fear the most -- a missed cut -- is really nothing to fear at all. Neither my unspoken goal of steady improvement nor any of my written goals are impacted by a missed cut. But, I have allowed a missed cut to symbolize failure to me. In reality, the only way I can fail at golf is if I stop improving. My success will be defined by a long-term process of continuing to hone my mental and physical skills. I know that I have a great plan in place for long-term success, and I am not going to let the cut line control me. 

Whether I am near the cut line on the first two days, coming down the stretch with a chance to win, or battling to climb from the middle of the pack, I want to approach my golf shots with the optimism that comes from knowing I am on a successful path. To help me in times when negativity and fear are trying to overtake my thoughts, I am going to keep a reminder in my golf bag of all the reasons I can hit every shot with confidence, freedom, and trust. I have worked way too hard and am on way too good of a trajectory to let fear of anything control my thoughts on the golf course. 

I am still disappointed with what happened this week. I think I might have needed this reminder, though. I still believe in my plan. I am going to continue to prepare well and to play with confidence, freedom, and trust. The only difference is that I will have a reminder in my golf bag to make sure that I do so even when things seem difficult. I still believe that all of my goals are attainable, and I know that I will continue to improve. A missed cut is a set back. It does stink. But, it is not something to be afraid of, and it will not derail my progress. 

I believe that great things are in store in the very near future, and I know that great things are in store in the long-term. Thank you very much for believing in me and supporting my career. Please keep it here to enjoy the progress with me. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

North Carolina Round 1

I had a wild ride in the first round of this week's Web.com Tour Finals event. My opening tee shot of the tournament hooked violently to the left of the tenth fairway, and though it stayed in bounds, I was forced to play my second shot laterally. I chopped my way up the hole and eventually one-putted for a double-bogey. I had to execute a great recovery shot on the next hole after another poor tee shot. Then, on my fourth hole of the day, I again drove the ball errantly into a hazard and advanced my second shot about two yards. I saved a good bogey there and then flipped a switch. My game has felt fantastic in my practice this week, and after shaking off some early nerves, it looked beautiful on Thursday as well. I played holes 15 through seven (I started on the back nine) in six under par and really felt that all areas of my game were clicking. I finished my round on a down note, but that doesn't change the way I feel about game. On the eighth hole, I made a mental error which led to a bogey, and then a pulled drive and a poor chip resulted in a closing bogey on the ninth. I opened my round poorly and closed it in disappointing fashion, but on the middle 12 holes, I reaped the benefits of my hard work. My swing was clicking. I was smashing the ball confidently down the fairway off of the tee, delivering precise iron shots, and putting very well. My game is in good shape, and my plan is working. I'm going to keep following it: prepare well and play with confidence, freedom, and trust. My preparation has been on point this week, so I'm excited to continue to play with freedom on the course. I tee off at 12:58 on Friday, and I'm ready to get back out there and get it grooving again. Thank you for following me, and please keep it here for more updates.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wrap-Up from Indiana

I had a great week in Ft. Wayne, Indiana to begin the Web.com Tour Finals. I put together three solid rounds on Friday (69), Saturday (68), and Sunday (69) to climb the leaderboard everyday after a cold-putting but steady opening round of 72. My even-par first round had me just outside the cut line heading into Friday, but my consistent play over the next three days netted a T-10th place finish. I'm very pleased with the way I followed my plan last week, and that finish is a great start toward achieving my goal for the Finals. 

Although my play was very consistent over the final 54 holes, there is still plenty of room for improvement. I gave myself a mental challenge on Friday. After playing the first 11 holes bogey-free and 4-under-par, I hit a great drive and had a good chance to go for the par-5, 12th hole in two. Unfortunately, I hit a poor 3-wood that rattled around in trees right of the green and ended up bouncing into the hazard short and left of the green. I thought I got a good break because my ball was playable, but I hit my next shot deeper into the hazard and ended up making a double bogey. When I saw my third shot land in the water, my head began to spin a little bit, and I must admit, I immediately thought about the cut. However, I am really proud of the way I responded, and despite feeling some nerves for the next several holes, I remained focused and trusted my routine. I ended up playing the last six holes one-under-par to keep myself in the tournament heading into the weekend. I made another double bogey on Sunday. The par 3, 11th is a tough hole, and I hit my tee shot into the bunker, but that was actually a pretty good miss given hole location. I recently made a slight change to my bunker technique, and my results had been great throughout the week in Indiana. However, I think I got a little bit too excited with this bunker shot. I thought I could make it but ended up chunking it badly and left it in the sand trap. It was painful to make the double bogey in the middle of what felt like a final round charge, but once again, I responded very well and birdied the next hole on my way to playing my last seven in 2-under-par. I definitely made some mistakes in this tournament, but it was very encouraging to see my mind and my game recover well. 

After the week in Indiana, I feel like my game is trending strongly in the right direction. I feel like I am driving the ball as solidly as I ever have, and though my iron play was still a little bit erratic, I am starting to hit them very well. In addition to that, my short game was very sharp, and for the first time in several weeks, I started to putt the ball with a lot of confidence. The only area of my game that was disappointing was my wedge play, but even that was great in practice, so I know it's going to be dialed in soon. After a few frustrating weeks to end the regular season, this past week was a great way of getting back on track for the Finals and the upcoming Fall Series. 

As Alicia and I travel from Indiana to North Carolina, the thing that has me feeling the best about the way I opened the Finals is the way I followed my plan. Though my goal for the Finals is big--WIN!--my plan is simple: prepare well and play with confidence, freedom, and trust. I had a great week of work in Indiana. I was very efficient, and I completed my Full Fitness Routine and my Full Practice Schedule. 

When my practice journal looks like this, it usually means I have prepared well. As for the mental aspect of my plan, I am not going to lie. There were times when I felt nervous, uptight, and results-oriented out on the course this week. But, I was able to stay focused, and for the most part, I trusted my routine on every shot. My formula works, and I am excited to keep it up moving forward. 

The next stop in the Finals is River Run Country Club in Davidson, NC (just north of Charlotte). It is another golf course that I really like, and I am excited to have another great week. Thank you for following me and keep it here for more good stuff!!