June 21, 2007
ATLANTA – After spending the last four years wondering whether I was good enough to play professional golf, the time for wondering is over, and the time for finding out first-hand has begun. I drove up to Winston-Salem to play in a Tarheel Tour event (this is like the AA leagues of golf). I was seriously nervous before the first round (naturally I drew an afternoon tee time the first round, so I had to think about it all morning). It’s always easier once you get to the golf course and get after it, the nervousness fades away as the focus shifts to the course.
I made par on the first and was on my way (this is a significant improvement over my first college hole, where I BARELY made double on an easy par 5). All in all the week was good, I shot 66 in my pro debut and followed it with unspectacular rounds of 68-71 to finished sixth and cash my first check as a pro, although a very modest one.
This week I unsuccessfully tried to Monday Qualify into the Nationwide Tour (AAA ball) event in Knoxville. These Mondays are a total shootout, 18 holes on an easy course, but the payoff his high. Playing in Nationwide events is great experience and if you string a few good weeks together you can get some status on that tour, which is a great stepping stone towards the PGA Tour.
So far I’m having an amazing time playing pro golf, even though it’s not the fame and fortune people imagine on the PGA Tour. Golf is a game unlike any other, and historically does not favor the young. My focus right now is on learning and improvement, my game and thinking have a long way to go before they’re at a level to compete on the Tour EVERY week. That is the goal, not simply to get to the Tour, but to get there and stay for a long, long time.
It’s very easy to get totally centered on what you are doing and forget that life goes on outside of golf, so I’ll try to offer some thoughts on other subjects.
* I personally loved the finale of the Sopranos, there has never been a better show at developing characters and capturing the family dynamic. Shame it’s over.
* The U.S. Open was great drama, it was tough to watch The Man (Tiger) have his hands shackled by such a tough course the last 5-6 holes. It takes a special course to keep that guy from making 1 birdie to win the Open. Overall though, he’s phenomenal, and continually proves how far superior he to any other player on the planet.
* How about Anthony Kim firing 67 the last round of the Open? I grew up playing with him in Junior and College golf, and LOOKOUT, he’s stupid good. I would not be shocked if he wins a couple of time before the year is out.
* The cold fact that I’m done with college and out in the “real world” hit me when I had to buy health insurance. Don’t ask me why, but this seemed like a very grown up thing to do.
* If “Getting drenched in a downpour at a concert at Chastain” isn’t on the Things You Have to do If you Live in Atlanta list, it should be.
I’m home practicing the rest of this week, see my coach Danny Elkins for a lesson today, then leave on Sunday for a three-week stretch – Charlottesville, Cleveland, then Columbus, Ohio. Good things are going to happen.