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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Travelers and You Might Be A Redneck...

After my world wind experience at the U.S. Open, I traveled back to Georgia on the always-dreadful redeye flight.  Beth and I picked up the kids and headed North to Connecticut to battle my fellow Tour players in this year’s Travelers Championship.  I entered Thursday’s round excited about the direction of my game and I was determined to improve on last year’s 9th place finish.  I came out of the gates a little slow and finished the day with a semi-disappointing round of 1 under par (69).   Friday was much more exciting as I put myself into contention with a solid round of 6 under par (64).  The weekend didn’t turn out as I would have liked and my rounds of 70-71 slipped me into a tie for 29th.  My inexcusable bogey-bogey finish on Sunday was extremely disappointing and something that has plagued some of my decent finishes of late (ex. Double bogey-bogey finish at The Memorial plummeted me to a 19th place finish).  Two pars on the final two holes at The Travelers Championship would have greatly improved my finish and made the lack-luster weekend of golf a little more enjoyable.  However, all in all, I played some decent spurts of golf throughout the week and if some putts had fallen, my outcome would have certainly been drastically different.

This week I am in our Nation’s Capital for this week’s PGA Tour event hosted by Tiger Woods.  His tournament, The AT&T National, returns to its original site, Congressional.  The two-year absence was required because the course underwent several changes in order to host the 2011 U.S. Open.  In that event, Rory McIlory destroyed the field and “Old Man Par” thanks to the soggy and wet conditions that Mother Nature produced at Congressional.  To his credit, Rory played incredible golf but the soft conditions yielded an uncharacteristic large number of birdies.  Well, as you can imagine, the members of Congressional were NOT happy.  So, with that in mind, who do you think will pay the consequences for Rory’s mindboggling birdie barrage?  You guessed it…this week’s field at The AT&T National.  This course is HARD!  And I mean U.S. Open hard!  Thankfully, I have a history of playing difficult courses well.  The rough is thick, the greens are bricks, and every tee box is a million miles away from the green!  It will be a great test of golf and I am looking forward to my “2nd U.S. Open” of the year!

After playing the course on Monday for the first time ever, my back decided to bow out and forced me to lay low for a few days.  I went to the course on Tuesday but just for rehab.  My team of trainers worked on my old body for over two hours before I headed back to the hotel for movie day.  Wednesday was pretty much the same routine.  I hit about 10 balls today but after experiencing extreme tightness, I Withdrew from the Wednesday Pro-Am and headed back to the trailer for more rehab.  Hopefully, the rest and rehab allow me to challenge Congressional in a pain-free manner.

Before I get to the “Question of the Week,” I have to tell you about my experience last night.  My sister, Courtney, is in town on business and after we ate supper, she drove me to a CVS Pharmacy to pick up some Ibuprofen for my back.   As I began to checkout, the man working the register struck up an interesting conversation with me.  He appeared to be from the Middle East and our conversation went like this…

Middle East CVS Man:  Do you have a CVS Card?

Me:  No sir, I am not from here and we don’t have a CVS in my town.

Middle East CVS Man:  That is Okay, I will use one of ours complementary.  Where are you from?

Me:  Thank you for doing that…I am from Georgia.

Middle East CVS Man:  How long are you here for?

Me:  I leave on Sunday

Middle East CVS Man:  How do you like Washington DC?

Me:  It’s nice.  Little big for me but it’s nice.

Middle East CVS Man:  Well, Welcome to America!

Me:  Ahmmmmm, Welcome to America to you too Buddy!

Middle East CVS Man:  Your accent...Is English your first language?

Me:  Ahmmmmm Yes

Middle East CVS Man:  Hmmmmm.  Do you speak any other languages? 

Me:  No, just English.

Middle East CVS Man:  Wow, I am surprised that English is the only language you speak in Georgia.

Me:  Ahmmmmm.  Yeah, that’s it.

Middle East CVS Man:  Hmmmmm. Your accent sounds really strong and kind of weird.  Sounds like a blend of several languages.

Me:  Okay, Thanks…I guess?

Middle East CVS Man:  I can’t believe you don’t speak any languages other than English in Georgia!

Me:  Sir…Where do you think Georgia is?  I live in Georgia, which is next to Florida…not the Georgia that is next to Russia!  I am an American!

Middle East CVS Man:  Oh!  Sorry.

Me:  HaHa…Welcome to America Sir!

You might be and SOUND like a Redneck if a man from the Middle East thinks your accent sounds “really strong and kind of weird” and he thinks you live in a foreign country!  Wow!  Simply…Wow!

Question of the Week:   Jim from Indiana wrote…Blake, Thank you for taking the time to write a weekly blog.  I follow it and look forward to it every week.  I am sure you have played all the great courses in the United States so my question is which one is your favorite and why?

Jim, Thank you for the email and your continued support and interest.  Golf has been a huge part of my life and I have been very fortunate to play some great courses during my 36 years on this Earth.  I have been fortunate enough to play the extremely private courses like Cypress Point and Pine Valley along with the breathtaking views on courses like Pebble Beach and Whistling Straits.  I have played everything from the fancy country club courses to the small town local courses.  All are great and unique but in my mind, there is one course that has separated itself from the pack and is ultimately…untouchable.  That place, as many of you can guess, is Augusta National.  The aura and history that makes up Augusta National is truly special.  There is no other place like it on earth.  Driving down Magnolia Lane sends chills down your back and the experience of spending time in the clubhouse is incredible.  Television doesn’t do the place justice and a person cannot truly believe how incredible the property is until they step foot on the premises. Whether you are there for the Masters or are fortunate enough to play golf there with a Member, the experience is breathtaking and indescribable.  I have been fortunate to play the course twice and experience the Masters Tournament more times than I can count.  However, I get chill bumps every time I go and I hope that each of you have or can one day experience my little piece of Heaven.

Thanks again for your continued support and please keep the questions coming!

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