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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Moving Forward....

As you know, the HP Byron Nelson didn't end exactly as I wanted. I spent Sunday evening staring at the ceiling into the wee hours of the morning. I replayed the entire tournament in my head and unfortunately it kept ending the same way. At 4am, I reached for my phone and read the near 150 texts and emails that many of you sent. I appreciate all the support and to my knowledge, I sent a reply to every one of them. If I missed any, I certainly apologize because my intention was to send a reply to each of you individually.

After a very long night, I woke up Monday morning at 7am and began preparing for my next tournament, The Colonial. Last week was last week and it was time to move on. I definitely beat myself up Sunday evening but Monday was the beginning of a new week. I made the short drive to Fort Worth, Texas, very motivated and determined to improve on my previous finish. I arrived at the infamous Colonial Country Club and eagerly made my way into the clubhouse. Former Fort Worth resident, Ben Hogan, spent a great deal of time at this golf course and his legacy is the face of the tournament. He won the event five times and it quickly became known as “Hogan’s Alley.” The clubhouse is full of his memorabilia and his locker remains untouched from the day he passed away. It is proudly displayed in a glass case for everyone to see. I played my usual practice round with Kenny Perry on Tuesday. He won this event twice and his knowledge around the course is immeasurable. However, it was our conversation about the Byron Nelson that I appreciated more than any course knowledge. He talked about his near wins and mishaps throughout his career and I definitely learned a great deal that day. I cannot thank him enough for his insight and kindness. I am very lucky to have him as a friend.

I entered Thursday’s round determined to not let the Byron Nelson affect how I played in this event. I played solid throughout the day and finished the round in a tie for first place with an opening score of 63. Unfortunately, the putts didn’t fall during the remaining three days and I finished the tournament in a tie for 27th after rounds of 70, 68, 69. However, the support I received during the Colonial was tremendous. People constantly approached me throughout the week and expressed their support for my efforts at the Byron Nelson. This was a very surreal experience and it was odd to have people yell congratulatory remarks across the fairways. It certainly made me realize how many people actually follow golf on a weekly basis.

Immediately following the round, I rode to a small airport with Kenny and his son, Justin. We boarded a private plane and flew to our next event, The Memorial, in Dublin, Ohio. This event is hosted by Jack Nicklaus and everything is first class. He built this tournament from the ground up and it mirrors arguably his favorite event, The Masters. The smallest details are not overlooked and it is already one of my favorite tournaments so far this year. On Monday, Boo and I sat down for lunch and we were immediately joined by Mr. Nicklaus. This was a really neat experience and something I will remember for the rest of my life. I played my Tuesday practice round with Boo and the course was in perfect shape. I was told from several sources that the greens are FASTER than Augusta National’s during The Masters. I believe it! I watched Ernie Els putt his ball off the 10th green during the Wednesday Skins Game. If the greens continue to get faster, it could make for a very interesting week!

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