I want to apologize for the last few months and the disappearing act since my last post. Things have been pretty hectic since the Canadian Open. The circumstance that ultimately halted my dedication to this blog was completely unexpected. My family and I are dealing with the situation the best we can and hopefully things will be resolved in the near future. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal all of the details at this moment. I will say that the situation wasn’t provoked by anyone in my family. It involves a (formally) trusted NON-family member, who was very dishonest and is doing his best to take advantage of me and my family. I am doing everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. I promise that over time I will open up about the events that caused this disturbing distraction and everyone will understand the reason behind my blog disappearance. I know that I am leaving everyone high and dry but I promise that one day, everyone will know the truth.
A lot has happened since my last entry. Rather than play catch-up and bore everyone with a weekly summary of past tournaments, I would like to “bore” you in a few other ways. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the black cloud situation that burdened my family back in July (and unfortunately continues to linger today) didn’t put a damper on my rookie season. However, like any other obstacle or adversity that I have faced during my career, I will deal with the situation the best I can. Regardless, my rookie season on the PGA Tour was somewhat successful. I achieved several of the goals that I set at the beginning of the year but to be honest, I disappointingly fell short of the majority of them. Even though the goals were extremely lofty, they were still reachable. I set them with the intention of success, not failure. I will enter this season with the same mindset and similar goals. I certainly expect better results this time around.
As I look back at the success and failures of 2010, there are three events that will forever stand out in my mind. The first event took place on April 27th with the birth of my sweet little girl Libby. She has been such a blessing to our family and it is a rarity to ever see her cry. I don’t believe I will have much to worry about when it comes to her. She is going to be tough as nails thanks to the constant tackling she receives from her older brother. She just shakes it off. I thank God everyday for allowing her to look like her beautiful mother rather than her father. It is unbelievable how identical their baby pictures are to each other. The only feature that Libby has to my credit are her blue eyes. Thank goodness. The second event took place during the PGA Tour event at Disney when Jake and I played in the Parent-Child alternate shot golf tournament. For those of you who don’t know Jake, he is a golf nut. Throughout the week, Beth carried him to the various parks and to no surprise he wanted to leave and “go practice with daddy at the golf course.” That’s my boy. And besides, Mickey is overrated in my opinion! Disney doesn’t have a chance with a kid whose world revolves around John Deere, golf, airplanes, hunting, fishing, and UGA football. By the time Wednesday arrived, Jake was beyond excited. We alternated shots (which can be very difficult with most 3 year olds!!) and Jake played great as usual. He almost drove every green with his tee shot! The tees for his age division were at or past the 100 yard marker on every hole. We shot 5 under par on 6 holes and WON the tournament by 11 shots! Not bad my boy. Not bad. The last event that really stands out in my mind was my near victory at the Byron Nelson. Since that tournament, I have been very critical and hard on myself. Not only for the last hole but also for the mistakes that happened well before my shot hit that fateful limb. Regardless of how poorly the ball was sitting in the dirt, the fact that I didn’t pull off the shot continues to haunt me today. I learned a lot from the situation and I truly believe that it just wasn’t my time. Hopefully, the cards will play out differently next time.
Over the last few months I have really enjoyed my time at home and the “normal” feeling of being a father and husband. Make no mistake, I love my job. However, life on the road and the weeks I spend away from my family is a tough gig. I enjoyed being “normal” as I took Jake to school almost every day. I was even successful a couple of times when I convinced Beth that he needed to stay home and play with his daddy. I enjoyed being “normal” as I put my little girl down for naps, fixed bottles, and changed a countless number of diapers. However, like most husbands I know, I called in reinforcements for the major diapers!! Beth didn’t like that. I also enjoyed being “normal” as I spent every day with my wife. She has a tough job raising two kids when I am gone and I cannot thank her enough. She is the backbone of our family and I am very lucky to have her in my life.
Just like last year, on January 3rd,I left my family and traded in the cold weather of Georgia for the sunshine of Palm Springs, California. This was by far the most emotional departure I have had since turning professional in 2001. You cannot imagine how hard it is to tell your 3 year old son that you won’t see him for a MINIMUM of three weeks! The begging and tears of “daddy please don’t go without me” absolutely cripples you. Think of how hard it is to hold him as he cries himself to sleep while knowing that in the morning when he wakes up, you will be gone. To add to the misery, my little girl Libby, who over the last few months quickly turned from a momma’s girl to a daddy’s girl was unaware of the whole situation. And my poor wife, watching her eyes fill with tears just sealed the deal. However, my job is to provide for my family and in order to do so, I have to work from the road and at times leave them behind. I flew from Savannah bright and early Monday morning and spent this past week at my good friend, Mr. Larry McNabb’s house. He lives at PGA West, home of the Bob Hope Classic and the site of my second tournament of 2011. He was kind enough to let me invite a few of my friends to stay at his home during the week as well. Boo and his caddy Joe arrived to the desert on Wednesday. This was their first time meeting Mr. Larry and it couldn’t have gone better. I also invited my good friend and Head Golf Professional at Milledgeville Country Club, John Tillery. We have known each other for years and recently began working together to improve my swing for the upcoming season. I haven’t had an “official” instructor since I was 16 years old when I worked with the legendary Lowell Fritz of Dalton, Georgia. Sure, over the years, several individuals have been an “eye” for my golf swing and seldom, if any, changes were ever made with their instruction. I have built this “homemade” swing on my own and so far, it has held up decently well. However, in order to take my game to the next level, I know a few tweaks are necessary. I trust John and his incredible knowledge of the golf swing. We spent the entire week in Palm Springs and attempted to remove the rust off my game. We made some big strides and were even able to creep into some future adjustments. For the first time in a while, I was able to swing without restrictions in my body. I worked hard during the off-season with a personal trainer three days a week and I actually feel pretty good. Hopefully, my body will survive the long season ahead and I can play each and every week pain free.
I apologize, once again, for my disappearance from this blog. Lots of time has passed since my last entry and I promise that if there is enough interest, I will continue to post throughout the season. Feel free to submit your comments, suggestions, and thoughts. I sincerely appreciate all the support. You cannot imagine how much it means. Life on the road is tough, especially when your family is far away. However, having friends who support your journey is truly a blessing. My hopes for this season are to make you proud. I will do my best to achieve this.
**By the way……it’s 78 degrees here in Hawaii !!!