I entered last week's event in Mayakoba, Mexico, with very high expectations. I hit the ball well enough to win at Pebble Beach but didn't make enough putts, thus coming up a few strokes short of eventual winner Dustin Johnson. I flew into Cancun, Mexico, on Monday morning and was pleased to see the sunshine and warm temperatures. I practiced extremely hard at the beginning of the week and went to bed Wednesday evening anxious and excited about the day ahead. Thursday morning started like most of my rounds have this year. Lots of fairways and greens and plenty of makeable birdie putts. Unfortunately, only one putt fell on the front nine and I made the turn at one under par. However, missed putts were the least of my concerns. As I walked down the fairway on #7, I began feeling extremely nauseated. I continued to play but my condition got worse and worse. I finished my round at one over par (72) and immediately left the course for my hotel. I took a shower and got in bed with chills, a fever, and extreme nausea. I had food poisoning. I later found out several players and caddies were experiencing the same thing. Several people withdrew from the tournament with similar conditions but I refused to withdraw. I played on Friday and shot even par (71) but felt like I shot 64, given the way I felt. I obviously missed the cut, but only by a disappointing two shots. I got an earlier flight and left Mexico Sunday afternoon and vowed to not return. I followed all the rules by drinking only bottled water and Gatorade but still got sick. I never even left the resort! Oh well, another lesson learned.
This week I am in Phoenix, Arizona, for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This event is played at another great venue, TPC of Scottsdale. If you have chance to watch the event, pay close attention to hole #16. This tournament is known for its rowdy and rambunctious crowds and most people sit around the 16th hole. In fact, the bleachers completely surround the hole, creating a coliseum effect. I was told yesterday to expect somewhere between 35,000 - 50,000 people around this one hole!! To add to the madness, bars and hospitality tents are everywhere for the spectators. Good shots are a premium here too. If you miss the green, they BOO you!! Its crazy but an experience I look forward to later this week.
Yesterday, I played in a Pro-Am at TPC of Scottsdale with Mike Stoops, head football coach of the University of Arizona. He is a really good guy and we talked a lot about both of our passions, family and football. This morning, I got another practice round in on the tournament course. I was joined by Kenny Perry, J.B. Holmes, and Josh Teater. It was great time and I learned a lot from watching and talking with both Kenny and J.B.
All in all, I feel pretty good about the week ahead. I am a few pounds lighter and still a little weak, but things are coming around. I played pretty good today and cannot wait for Thursday and my first attempt at hole #16.