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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How Close Am I to Something Great????......

I have heard some of your grumblings. A few have been face to face but most come second or third hand. "What is wrong with Blake? He needs to get in gear....Does he realize the season is almost half-way over? Do you think he will keep his card?" While I appreciate the concern, one thing is for sure.....I will be fine. Regardless of how things look to those of you at home on shot tracker, my golf game is headed in the right direction. In fact, it is miles ahead of where I was last year. I am better from tee to green in all aspects of the game and my comfort level out here is very relaxed. Believe me, I am well aware of how I stand on both the Money List and the FedEx Cup Race. However, those numbers are just numbers and can change in a blink of an eye. I am one good finish away from having those grumbles turn into something more positive. Like I said earlier, I am very grateful for the concern and support but things are much better than they appear. I am continuing to work hard and I am extremely confident that GREAT things are on the horizon.

With that said, I know what the last two weeks have looked like from the PGA Tour website....two more made cuts but unfortunately two more mediocre finishes. Both are certainly true and I was definitely disappointed with both of my results. However, when I sit down and look at the bigger picture, it certainly tells a different story. In San Antonio, I was 7th in Driving Accuracy, 9th in Putts per Round, and 31st in Putts per Green in Regulation. My Greens in Regulation were a little higher than normal (59th) but I barely missed a ton of greens by a foot or two. In fact, I putted from off the green probably more times than I chipped! My T30 mediocre finish was, in large part, a result of one lousy hole. During Friday's round I misjudged the wind on a long par 3 over water. After two untimely gusts, I walked off the green with a crowd pleasing 7. This one hole derailed any chance I had of making a run for the title. However, just to let you know how close I was to a great finish...a PAR on this hole and my T30 finish now becomes a T9!! Last week in Hilton Head, I was 9th in Driving Accuracy, 30th in Greens in Regulation, 17th in Putts per Round, and 11th in Putts per Green in Regulation. Not bad. Once again, I burned the lips all week and didn't score as well as I should have. Regardless, I entered Sunday's round in a respectable 24th place and in a position where a great round would leap frog up the leader board. In fact, the eventual winner, Brandt Snedeker, started the day only 7 places in front of me. Unfortunately, I woke up Sunday with a body that didn't want to cooperate and I was limited in what I could do. I struggled to make a fluid and unrestricted swing and my score showed this battle. I finished the day with a score of 73 which plummeted down the ranks. To put it in perspective, if I had just shot one under par on both nine's Sunday morning, my T46 finish now becomes T14. And believe me, that is certainly not asking a lot!

So you see, things are better than they appear. I am very, very close to playing GREAT. Maybe this week in New Orleans is my week. If not, I will try again the following week in Charlotte, and then in Jacksonville, and so on until my goals are reached and the grumblings of concern cease.

On a brighter note, today is my sweet little girl Libby's first birthday. We celebrated her birthday last Saturday in Hilton Head amongst several family members and friends. I cannot believe how fast the last 365 days have raced on by. She has brought so much joy to our family and I couldn't be more proud of her and Jake. They, along with Beth, are the reason I am here, the reason I work hard, and the reason I never give up. I approach each day as my last and I refuse to let mediocrity win. I wake up each morning knowing that even though I play a game for a living, I am truly fighting for the well-being of my family. That is why I am so hard on myself and I expect the best. However, regardless of how things turn out each week, I know there are three people at home who are anxious for my return. And to me, that means more than anything in the world.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh Putter Oh Putter, Where Have You Gone?.....

Since my last entry not much has changed. My putting game is still being treated as a missing persons case and the authorities (Golf Gods) have no clue on its whereabouts. To say the least, it has been pretty much nonexistent this season in comparison to years' past. Glimpses of something resembling a person who can putt has occasionally shown up from time to time but unfortunately, the stay is very short lived. Somehow though, during this dreadful and entirely too long of a dry spell, I have achieved the impossible. I have made four cuts in a row despite finishing each week almost dead last in putting statistics. It makes me nauseous to look at my results and imagine where a decent putter would finish. Oh well. All I can do is continue to work hard and good things will eventually happen.

To be honest, writing about made cuts, mediocre finishes and horrendous putting is getting old. I find it more enjoyable to bore you to death with a few short stories of life outside the ropes. I hope this is ok for a change.

Beth hates lizards. I mean, absolutely hates them. I can understand snakes, but a lizard?? Come on. You would think she could handle all sorts of rodents and slimy creatures, especially since she grew up in the country. Oh nooooooo. She is terrified of them. Well, to her delight, Puerto Rico is covered with huge iguanas. And I mean HUGE ones. I obviously knew this prior to booking her flight but I figured that if I told her, she would cancel the trip. Well, to no surprise, the night before she was scheduled to fly to the tournament, she called me with a panic in her voice. "I heard there were big lizards and iguanas down there. Is that true?" My response….."Well, there are lizards and iguanas down here but they are VERY friendly. They are basically like the squirrels we have at home. When you lay out by the pool they come by your chair and beg for food. In fact, last year this player was laying on his bed watching TV when he looked over and saw a HUGE iguana sitting at the foot of his bed!!!" All that was a lie of course but it was all in good fun. She walked around petrified the entire trip and swore that they were out to get her!

The Transitions Championship in Tampa began with one proud moment. Beth and I flew in from Puerto Rico and met her parents and the kids at the host of that week's event, Innisbrook Resort and Spa. Libby, pigtails and all, immediately gave her proud parents her best toothless grin and squirmed to get in our arms. Jake jumped out of the car and was beyond excited to see us. He gave me a huge hug that was well worth the two weeks that we had been apart. His happiness quickly turned to panic when he saw me wearing my normal attire of jeans and boots. He frantically jumped out of my arms, ripped open his suitcase, and pulled out his Georgia Boots all while taking off his NewBalance tennis shoes. He proudly put on his boots and said, "Look Daddy, we have the same boots on because we are buddies…. best buddies." The look in his eyes was priceless. Can you imagine mine?

During the same week, Jake was a frequent visitor to the driving range. He has grown quite the reputation on Tour among the players and many of them know him by name. We spend most of our "practice time" with him in front of a small crowd and the story is always the same. He tees up his "Big Dawg" (as he calls it) and proudly YELLS….."Now on the tee, from Nunez, Georgia……Jaaaaaaaaake Adams!!!!" He swings as hard as he can and smokes it down the range. It is hilarious. He started doing this out of the blue a couple of years ago while we were at our house hitting balls. Now that people have seen it, they immediately beg him to do it when they see him walk on the range. He very proudly obliges. Is it bad that a 3 year old thinks it is normal to be announced when he hits his "Big Dawg" on the first tee? Probably. Oh well, blame it on me and his attendance to my tournaments since he was six weeks old!

Is it a sign of things to come when your 11 month little girl is SOMEHOW more rambunctious than your maniac little boy when he was her age? Lord, please help me when she is between the ages of 14 and 26. Please, please, help me!

This past week I was in Houston, Texas, for the Shell Houston Open where last year I finished a respectful 14th place. After a 66 with no bogeys on Monday during the Pro-Am, my expectations were high and I was confident I could improve on my previous finish. Unfortunately, my putter only showed up during Saturday's round and I once again finished near the bottom of the putting statistics. However, all was not lost during the week. My partner from the Bob Hope and Pebble Beach tournaments this year, Mr. Jim Crane, lives in the area and graciously offered his guest house for the week. We had a great week together and, as most of you know, the city of Houston was the host of some great sporting events during the week. On Thursday, I passed on an offer to see the Houston Astros play the Boston RedSox. I didn't, however, miss the Houston Rockets play the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. We sat on the 2nd row at mid-court which, as you guessed, are pretty good seats!! Mr. Jim also owns a suite inside the Lexus VIP area which is located underneath the stadium seating. There was plenty of food and drinks and I was able to get close to several NBA legends. Ralph Sampson, Dikembe Motumbo, and Moses Malone were all inside the VIP area during halftime of the game. They are ridiculously tall and at 6'3", I felt like a midget. The Rockets won in overtime to keep their playoff hopes alive. On Saturday, Mr. Jim gave me two tickets to watch the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. I took my caddy, Aaron Wark, and as expected, everything was first class. He had a driver pick us up at the house so we wouldn't have to fight the traffic and parking. We watched the two cinderella teams of the tournament battle it out during the first game. Butler defeated a pesky Virginia Commonwealth team in a close matchup. The two heavyweights fought in the second game and to no one's surprise, it came down to the wire. UConn defeated a young and very athletic Kentucky team in front of a new NCAA Tournament attendance record (over 75,000 people)! Did I mention my seats were once again at mid-court?? Thank you Mr. Jim.

Dear Golf Gods,
Please find my missing putting game and bring it back to where it belongs. I would really like to make some putts before Christmas gets here. I am really enjoying my life on the PGA Tour but when you putt like a blind man, your Tour life expectancy will be short lived. Feel free to return my putting from 2009 to my golf bag ASAP. I will be in San Antonio the week after the Masters. Thank you