Is there a price tag for spending more time with your family when your job requires so much time on the road? My answer is simply, no. As I look back over the past three years of Jake's life and the short two months of Libby's life, I cannot help but think about all that I have missed. From first steps and words to skinned up knees, I have missed a large part of Jake's life. And as I wrote about last week, I missed the first four and a half weeks of Libby's six week life. Pretty tough to swallow. However as much my job has taken away, it has also allowed Beth to spend everyday at home. And for that, I cannot complain. I will gladly trade my time on the road for the positive influence that my wife has on our children on a daily basis. Please don't misunderstand this, I love my job and I am very excited about the state of my career and the path in which it is heading. But at the same time, is anything worth missing your kids grow up? Definitely, no. Fortunately, I believe that I have found a solution that will allow me to see my family more often. My "solution" will allow me to travel to and from tournaments a lot more quickly and will immediately eliminate the aggravation of long lines, endless waits in terminals, and the almost always delayed flights.
My first "solution" test began last Monday as I prepared to leave for the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. As you know, I took the previous two weeks off from tournament play in order to rest and rehab. I spent both weeks at home and barely even practiced. In fact, I never stepped foot on a golf course. My "practice" consisted of a few wedges in the yard with Jake and I for one, am not real sure if that qualifies as practice! However, I needed to rest my body for the long season ahead and I accomplished that goal. I felt great on Monday and I was anxious to get back to work. Fortunately, my family decided to make the trip to Connecticut with me. My "solution" was about to be tested and I couldn't wait for our trip to begin. Normally when I fly to a tournament, I have to drive almost three hours to the Atlanta Airport or just over an hour to the Savannah Airport. However, on Monday morning my family and I drove 10 minutes to the Swainsboro Airport and boarded my "solution", a private airplane. This particular jet was big enough for five passengers and for once, we didn't have to fight traffic, long lines, or security. We boarded the plane and headed to Connecticut. The flight lasted a little over two hours and Jake really enjoyed having his tractors, trucks, and planes all around him as he watched a movie. He was able to walk around and do as he pleased. When we landed in Connecticut, a courtesy car from the Travelers Championship was waiting only a few yards from the plane. Not a bad way to travel. However, my "solution" definitely opened a huge can of worms! Beth couldn't quit smiling and kept commenting on how easy and smooth the plane made our travel. And of course, Jake told me he didn't like big airplanes anymore! Great. How will I ever get them on a Delta again??? Although there still will be times that we will fly commercially, Beth sure is grateful to my agent for helping us with this amazing deal so that she and the kids can fly more regularly. Traveling by yourself is no easy task especially when Jake gets motion sick so badly. I hope that we will be able to continue to use this company to ease the travel for my family.
The week began as expected. My golf game was full of rust and I had a two week layoff to thank for it. I practiced hard on Monday and Jake had a blast hitting balls on the range late in the day. On Tuesday, my normal practice round pairing welcomed a new member. Vijay Singh joined Kenny Perry, Boo, and myself. Somehow, the Rookie in the group took home the most number of Skins and his wallet was rewarded. We had a great time and there were a ton of laughs. I practiced hard on Wednesday but unfortunately I couldn't quite shake the rust by Thursday. I made a lot of silly bogeys and ended the day with a wonderful round of 76. Definitely not the start I wanted. I played a little better on Friday and after a round of 68, I failed to make the weekend. However, dispite my frustrations on the golf course, I had more pressing issues on my mind. Jake began feeling bad on Tuesday night and woke up Wednesday morning with a fever and the throw ups. To make matters worse, his throw up was full of blood. We rushed him to the doctor and he ran several tests on Jake. He determined Jake had an ear infection and the blood was a result of drainage and irritation in his throat. He ran a fever off and on for the remainder of the week and his ear gave him trouble everyday. The initial plan was for the family to join me for three weeks. However, due to Jake's situation, I scheduled us a flight home Saturday morning at 8:30am. We flew for about two hours before landing back at the Swainsboro Airport. I spent the night at home and then boarded the same plane Sunday morning for Philadelphia. I hated to leave my family behind but I knew Jake would rest better under his own roof.
This week I am just outside of Philadelphia in Newtown Square, Pennsylvannia for the AT&T National. This tournament is referred to as "Tiger's Tournament" because he oversees everything and it benefits the Tiger Woods Children's Foundation. We are playing at Aronimink Golf Club and the course is phenomenal. The greens are lighting fast and the rough is some of the thickest we have played all year. I played the course on Monday and walked away excited about the layout and the difficulty that this course brings. I still have a little rust but not near as much as last week. Hopefully this week will be better and I will return to my old form. However, if for some reason I don't play well, I know my family is just a short flight away. A flight that thankfully, will be without the long lines, endless waits in terminals, and the always, always delayed flights.