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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"So you're saying there's a chance!"

My last post was written a few days before the Transistions Championship in Tampa. This event was located at Innisbrook Resort and once again, the course was in perfect shape. I played and practiced very well during the first part of the week. My practice round on Tuesday was played with Kenny Perry and Josh Teater. Josh and I have known each other since around 2002 and he is a great friend. Kenny and I have become good friends as well and he has taken me under his wing so to speak. I am very blessed to have someone of his stature and experience to play and practice with each week. He is truly one of the nicest guys on Tour and despite being one of the top 10 players in the world, he acts like a normal guy. He lives in Kentucky and is a small town guy like myself. I really respect him and I am very grateful for all his guidance and advice. I was glad that Beth and Jake got to meet him and we all went to dinner one night. He loves watching Jake hit golf balls and laughs whenever he is around him. I cannot wait for the day when Jake realizes how many great players have watched him hit golf balls! Its amazing to think that he is two years old and has hit golf balls at Pebble Beach and four other great venues on the PGA Tour. Unfortunately, when Thursday rolled around I didn't play as well as I did at the start of the week. I missed the cut by one lousy shot but I certainly played well enough to make the weekend. I was paired with two great players, Justin Rose and Bob Estes, but once again, I walked away from an event very disappointed.

I went home last week and spent time with Beth and Jake. I checked on my new house and hopefully they will install the cabinets and floors this week. I also went turkey hunting a few times and played golf with several of my friends. I am currently in Houston, Texas for the Shell Houston Open. This course is geared as a warm up event for those players in next weeks field at the Masters. The greens are lightning fast and firm and the area around the greens are shaved down low. The course committee does a great job emulating Augusta National. As always, I have practiced very hard this week and look forward to the days ahead. I ate dinner on Monday with several friends including current U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover. He invited me play a practice round with him on Tuesday and we were joined by Woody Austin. Both of these guys were very helpful and offered a ton of advice on how to attack this tough golf course. I had a blast with them and look forward to playing with them again. After we finshed, I continued to practice and was the last man standing on the practice area. I found myself putting under the lights well into the darkness.

To steal a line from Jim Carey and the movie Dumb and Dumber, I walk into this weeks event hearing him say "so you're saying there's a chance". If I were to win this week, I would be in the Masters next week. The thought makes me nauseous. Not because of nerves or the fear of competing in the greatest tournament on earth, but simply because I would achieve a lifelong dream. I have been fortunate enough to play Augusta National twice and have attended the Masters as a spectator more times than I can count. However, to actually play in the tournament would be ridiculous. Obviously, the Masters is my World Series. I remember as a child, my friends and I would gamble for cokes because we were broke and didn't have any money. The golf course let us charge the drinks to our parent's account which obviously didn't make them very happy when the bill came at the end of the month . However, during every bet, I fondly remember having a putt to not only win a coke, but to win the Masters. I have always dreamed of playing in the Masters and even though this season has been a struggle by my standards, I still have a chance. One good week. That's all it will take and I can walk on hallowed ground as a participant in the greatest golf tournament ever. "So you're saying there's a chance!"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sorry for the disappearing act...

I first want to apologize for my absence on this blog since my disaster trip to Mexico. I have played in two events since my last post and my lack of communication is due to the continued frustration I am having with my game. I am still struggling with my putter and my scores are reflecting this ongoing battle. I have gone through countless putters trying to find a similar weight and feel to the one that broke during my tournament in Hawaii. However, as much as I have tried, nothing seems to look and feel the same. I certainly will not give up on these efforts. The most frustrating part of this ordeal is that my ball striking has been solid enough to play well each week but my efforts on the greens are holding me back. I am missing a lot of easy putts and the opportunities to score well have been slipping away. My statistics on the greens aren't terrible and my rankings on tour are respectful. But as most of you know, I don't accept mediocrity and I set high standards for myself. I have heard a thousand times to "be patient and the putts will fall." However, time is money and opportunities have been lost. I will find an answer and hopefully this is the last time I have to discuss my putting issues.

To backtrack a little, the Phoenix Open was a great experience. The atmosphere was everything advertised and I highly recommend a trip to the desert for those of you who enjoy watching golf. The crowds were enormous and the 16th hole was insane. One guy that I played with, Derek Lamely, made the ultimate mistake while playing the 16th. He took offense to some of the comments from the crowd and yelled back at them. Big mistake! Several highly intoxicated guys got out of their seats and heckled him all the way to the clubhouse. It was hilarious and they really got under his skin. Obviously, the language was not G rated and he only fueled the fire with his smartellic remarks. All in all, the week was very positive but it was my cold putter that led to rounds of 72-71 and a missed cut.

After my round on Friday, I took a red eye home and slept in my bed for the first time since January 1st!! I got to spend the weekend with Beth, Jake and my black lab, Bo. It was great to be home and certainly nice to see how far along the builders have gotten with my new house. I also got to drive my new truck for the first time since I bought it back on December 30th. I canceled my flight to West Palm Beach and drove the seven hours instead. It was a great drive and I certainly didn't miss the hassle of flying.

The Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was another great event on the PGA Tour. The golf course was very difficult and the wind blew hard everyday. This golf course demands great ball striking and it never lets up. Birdies are hard to come by and even good shots can lead to double bogeys or worse. For the most part, I hit the ball well enough to have some pretty low rounds. However, a cold putter made this impossible and the entire week was a struggle. The highlight of week came on my final three holes on Friday. I found myself standing on hole 7 (my 16th hole), needing three birdies on the last three holes to make the cut. I was very frustrated at this point because I was playing much better than my score indicated. I couldn't believe that I was in this predicament and forced to make three birdies in a row on a golf course that refused to yield birdie opportunities. However, I didn't quit. I hit a 6 iron to five feet on the 225 yard par 3, 7th hole. I made the putt and actually got some airtime on the Golf Channel for once. I went to the next hole, a 455 yard par 4, and hit a 8 iron to around 10 feet. When this putt fell, I had a chance to play the weekend. I walked to the difficult 430 yard par 4, 9th hole, and the wind was dead in my face. I hit a good drive and hit a hard 9 iron to around 20 feet. The putt was a double breaker and since I was the last group of the day, the green was beaten up with both ball and spike marks. I watched the putt roll and bounce toward the hole and when it fell in center of the cup, I felt as if I had won a tournament. I couldn't believe what just happened. I, Blake Adams, a man who has battled with his putter this entire year, just made 3 putts in a row!! I couldn't believe it. I had played 15 holes earlier that day and missed every putt and every opportunity I had. All of sudden, the putts fell when my back was against the wall. What a crazy game! I made the cut and felt like I won a million dollars!! I played the weekend and I wish this story could continue with the words of made putts but it wasn't the case. I struggled on the greens but all was not lost. I made a check and I can, and will, learn from the experience.

I am at home this week for a much needed break and family time. Beth and I had our 5 year anniversary on Friday, March 5th, but unfortunately she was at home and I was in Florida. We will celebrate it sometime this week and I am looking forward to spending time around the house. I will practice throughout the week and hopefully work out the kinks in my game. Next week, I am playing in the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida.