According to the statistics that were complied during my first event of 2011, I looked as lost as one of last year's Easter eggs!! Thank goodness this wasn't entirely the case. Statistics are gathered each week by volunteers who graciously donate their time and energy. However, as volunteers, they learn while on the job and are certainly trying to do their best. I am a firm believer in statistics and I use them as a measuring stick, as well as an indicator for areas of improvement. Unfortunately, in most cases, they don't tell the whole story and at the end of the day they are just numbers. So because the volunteers are the ones gathering the numbers, they sometimes get confused and mix up the players. This happens every round and in reality it really isn't a big deal at the end of the day. Then again, when looking at it from an educational standpoint, it can mislead a player and send false hopes for an area where improvements need to be made. With that in mind, after every round of golf that I play, I compile my own statistics. I break down each and every hole and analyze shots far more than I probably need to. However, I think it is important to learn something from every round of golf I play. Good or bad, statistics help dictate my practice schedule each week. I learn from the information and hopefully improve on where I made my mistakes.
As I analyzed the first two rounds of the Sony Open in Hawaii, several things stood out. The first and obviously most important piece of information was the fact that my two day total (rounds of 72 and 69) finished outside the cut line. As you can expect this didn't sit well with me and it obviously wasn't how I envisioned my 2011 season beginning. I also noticed that the statistics I gathered didn't match the ones that were posted on pgatour.com. This certainly isn't a big deal but it is a little bit misleading. I hit several more fairways over the two rounds and my putting stats were better than reported. I actually drove the ball extremely well, especially when you take all the circumstances into consideration. When I arrived to the golf course on Monday morning at 7am, I noticed that the shaft in my driver was cracked! This happened as a result of the always gentle bag handlers that chunked and slammed my golf bag around the airport. My driver was in perfect shape when I practiced last week in La Quinta, California, and it certainly was when I packed my things to leave for Hawaii. If you remember last year while I was in Hawaii, my putter fell off the cart during a Wednesday Pro-Am and broke. Since golf clubs are extremely difficult to duplicate, this unfortunate break lead to several months of searching for a similar putter. Thankfully, the TaylorMade staff was there to help. They did a great job with my driver and almost matched it perfectly. Another positive note is that I probably putted the best I have in a tournament since joining the PGA Tour last year. I didn't miss a putt inside 11 feet during the entire tournament! It was great to see the ball FINALLY fall in the cup over and over again. Unfortunately, though, my irons were horrific and they were the culprit of my first missed cut of 2011. Usually they are a strong point but, for some reason this past week, they let me down. Hopefully I can make a small tweak or two and things will be back to normal.
All in all, Hawaii was a great week. Sure I had some rust, a broken driver shaft, and a rough few days on the golf course but you will not hear me complain. I spent eight days on a beautiful island where I could hear the waves crash as I hit golf balls. That is very hard to beat, especially when my friends and family are freezing back home!! Sorry to rub it in.
This week I am back in La Quinta, California, for the Bob Hope Classic. This event begins on Wednesday and is a Pro-Am format. It is played on four different courses throughout the desert and there is a cut following Saturday's round. I have been practicing very hard this week and hopefully the rust will be gone by the time I tee it up on Wednesday morning. The weather has been around 80 degrees every day and yes, I am once again rubbing it in. I am looking forward to a great week and hopefully I will have better news to report from a golf standpoint next time. However, regardless of how things turn out, the sun will shine and I will continue to work hard. Stay warm back home and please don't be mad when you see us on TV sweating out here in the desert!