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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bet You Didn't See This on Shot Tracker.....

The week began as usual with three days of great practice and a solid game plan. I studied and analyzed every mound, bump, and detail of the infamous TPC Sawgrass. Preparation for my first Players Championship was complete and I was anxious for Thursday morning to arrive. However, in a blink of an eye, things quickly changed. On Wednesday night, Jake and I embarked on our daily ritual of walking up and down the beach on our man-made golf course. Without warning, and certainly by mistake, my excited three year old swung his "big dawg" (driver) at a large sea shell laying in the sand. His club exploded the shell and continued until it greeted my innocent left heel and ankle with a mighty thud. As you can imagine, this didn't tickle! After a minute on one knee and a choice word or two under my breath, I managed to stand on two feet. It took everything I had to not lay there until the next morning! The concerned look in Jake's eyes forced me to instantly play Mr. Tough Guy, even though I could barely walk. I slowly and politely explained the danger of swinging golf clubs around people and how careful he needed to be in the future. Needless to say, our evening of golf on the beach was cut short.

When my alarm began buzzing at 4:45 Thursday morning, my left ankle and heel were not excited to start the day. I gingerly made it around the house and to the golf course. Pressure was definitely an issue but I was determined to not let it bother my opening round. After a shaky and painful front nine, I managed to shoot even par, which under the circumstances wasn't too bad. In fact, if I could have erased the 3 three putts during the round, I would have been in great shape. Unfortunately, though, a balky putter has been my norm this year. I disappointingly signed my scorecard and headed for the practice green. After a few hours of work, I made my way to the house, and as you guessed it, Jake and I played golf on the beach again. This time, my ankle avoided his "Big Dawg."

Friday morning brought both good news and bad news. My ankle was much improved thanks to a night of ice and medication. Unfortunately, though, there was bad news. I was sick....and when I say sick, I mean sick. I didn't eat breakfast at the house and once I got to the course, lunch was definitely not an option. I walked to the driving range and tried to warm up normally. However, I couldn't. I was extremely queasy and my body felt terrible. By the time the round started I was in a mess. I had a fever and I was forced to kneel down in between shots to conserve energy. I threw up three times on the ground during the round which, as you can imagine, was not a pleasant sight. I also was forced to swallow a countless amount of throw up to avoid being embarrassed on National TV. In fact, one of these "special" moments occurred right before I hit my putt on the treacherous 17th island green in front of tens of thousands of people. Obviously, I have given you a visual picture that you probably wish you didn't have right now. And for that, I certainly apologize. A second round score of +4 cut my week short, but at the time I didn't really care. I just wanted to go home! I spent Saturday in pretty much the same condition but to my surprise, I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a champ. Unfortunately, though, my lovely wife was already in the bathroom throwing up!

Even though my first Players Championship didn't go as planned, it was one I will never forget. Can you imagine how much airtime I would have received if I didn't swallow all that junk on the 17th green??!! Would you have been embarrassed for me or just embarrassed that you know me? Regardless, it would have been awful.

This week I am in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. This event provides one of the most hallowed grounds on tour and the history at this tournament is breathtaking. All the greats have played at Colonial and most of them have won this event. To be invited to play here is a huge honor and privilege. To win this event, would be legendary! Ben Hogan's presence is everywhere and his memory is celebrated around every corner. We are expecting some rough weather and high winds throughout the week. The course demands great ball striking and the "horseshoe" (holes 3, 4, and 5) is considered one of the toughest stretch of holes on tour. I am expecting a great week.....well that is as long as I can avoid the "Big Dawg."


  1. Avoid the "Big Dawg"! Looking forward to seeing you play Blake! Keep it up!

  2. Good luck to you Blake. Quite a step from hitting jumpers at Gatewood to smashing drives on the tour. Glad to see you've done well.