Things have been rather busy recently and I’ve done a lot of travelling within the United States.
After the Chevron Championship at the beginning of April we had a week off. I was going to stay on the west coast because that would have made the trip to the next tournament, the Lotte Championship at Hoakalei Country Club in Hawaii, a little easier. But, having been on the road for seven weeks, I really felt I needed to go home to Florida to hit the reset button.
It is amazing what a week of being in your own home comforts and sleeping in your own bed can do to re-energise you. After six days at home, I flew to Hawaii, which was now a 10-hour flight.
My original schedule did not have Hawaii on it but after I had missed a tournament in San Diego – I didn’t get my US visa back in time – I added it at the last minute.
I have always enjoyed playing in Hawaii as the wind blows and it forces you to be creative. My confidence was still on the lower side after the start I had to the season but my goal for the week was to play to spaces in which I felt comfortable.
Then when things didn’t go well, my mindset was to just be helpful to myself instead of being hard on myself. It is something my sports psychologist and I have been working on, and it helps me stay away from thinking about the result of the shot.
The course we played was an Ernie Els design, which was opened in 2009. Hoakalei Country Club is next to Ocean Pointe, Ewa Beach, about 20 minutes from Honolulu.
The greens played firm and with the last three holes all having water in play and then factoring in a two-club wind, scores were not going to be low.
I found something on the range after my first-round 71 which helped me get my rhythm back. I ran with that feeling for the next few days.
I played steady golf the whole week with rounds of 71, 71, 70 and 70, and it felt even more rewarding to stick to my process and perform well under pressure again to finish fourth.
After Hawaii we had two tournaments in Los Angeles. The first, the LA Open, was at Wilshire Golf Club, which is one of my favourite venues of the year. Although I felt a little drained after being in the mix the weekend before, I hit the ball just as well but struggled on the poa greens and finished 43rd for the week with rounds of 72, 72, 72 and 70.
The second tournament in LA was at a new course, Palos Verdes. It was extremely hilly and while I played steady golf the first two days I didn’t manage to hole anything. But I found a little something with my putter on the back nine of my second round which helped me hole some good putts for par to make the cut on the number.
With another opportunity to play the weekend and having my confidence back with the putter I shot 67, 67 to have the lowest score on the weekend and finish in tie-ninth.
I was proud of myself with the way I stuck with my mental process for the three weeks and add that to the feeling I found with my swing and putting it made me feel so excited to be playing golf again.
– This column first appeared in the June 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!