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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Respectable but Definitely A Disappointment...

In only three years of existence, The Greenbrier Classic has quickly become one of the Tour’s favorite spots.  The hospitality at the Resort is second to none and the activities away from the golf course are truly special.  Concerts fill the night air while fishing, off road driving, skeet shooting and kayaking occupy the daylight hours.  There is a casino inside the infamous Greenbrier hotel, which as you can imagine, can make or break a person’s week!  Luckily for me, I walked away from the tables with a little more in my pocket than I had when I arrived. 

Beth flew up to The Greenbrier on Wednesday alongside my former UGA roommate Davis Thomason and his wife Lynn.  We had a great time during the week and the 4th of July concert of Lionel Richie and Toby Keith was definitely a highlight.  Davis would probably say that his “highlight” occurred when I introduced him to the legendary CBS announcer Jim Nantz.  The two of them spoke for a while and I can still remember the time I met Mr. Nantz three years ago.  His voice is one of the most recognizable sounds on television and it is the centerpiece for almost every high profile sporting event.  He is a walking encyclopedia and I am very fortunate to have spent a good bit of time with him over the last few years.  

Even though a tie for 17th place was certainly respectable, I definitely walked away from the hills of West Virginia a little disappointed.  I hit the ball well the entire week and after shooting a bogey free round of 64 on Saturday alongside my playing partner Vijay Singh, I entered the final round in a tie for 7th place.  However, from the very first hole on Sunday, things seemed a little out of whack.  Weird and crazy bounces are a part of the game of Golf and not only are they unpredictable…they are expected.  You will never hear me complain or whine about a bad bounce or break because I understand that the game is played with a round ball and on a surface that isn’t perfectly flat!  However, my final round at The Greenbrier was one of the strangest and most frustrating rounds of Golf that I have ever played.  Great shots some how turned into good shots and good shots unfortunately turned into mediocre shots.  Sudden switches in wind direction and strong and unexpected gusts left me scratching my head throughout the day.  As I walked off the 18th green with a disappointing round of 70 I couldn’t help but wonder “what if.”  I played well enough to win but once again the week belonged to someone else.  I will continue to work hard because I know that MY time is coming…and it is near!

This week’s question comes from Wes in Georgia.  He writes:  Blake, Do you look at the Leaderboard during your round?

Wes, Thank you for the email and question.  I ABSOLUTELY look at the Leaderboard during my round.  As an athlete who played every sport growing up, I think it is only natural to “check the score.” Golf is very different from the other sports I used to play because I cannot directly effect how someone else plays.  Unlike those other sports, I cannot play defense on anyone and prevent them from making birdies!  The golf course is my opponent and I can only control MY golf ball.  However, I use the Leaderboard as both motivation and a guide.  It shows me to either “get on my horse” and make up ground or try and create a bigger lead.  The Leaderboard also shows me how difficult the course is playing each and every day.  The scores paint a very telling picture of course conditions, pin locations, and good Ol’ Mother Nature.  The Leaderboard is a very valuable tool and as you can see, I use it for a variety of reasons.  

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