It's strange to think that golf, one of the few things in this world I'm actually decent at, is the one thing that I've always questioned. I have always struggled to believe in myself on the golf course. I always looked at the competition and didn't think I could hang with them. Sure, I've played good rounds before, and been clutch when I needed to be clutch, but I never felt that I totally belonged with the other sticks in events.
Then came Thursday. I wasn't going to announce it here or on Twitter that I was attempting to qualify for the Waste Management Open, because I didn't want to make it a big deal. It's just another attempt to catch lightening in a bottle, as my old pal Greg Hansen once said, but this year is a bit different. I'm trying new things. I'm working with a swing coach. I've been fit, thanks to the great people at TaylorMade, for golf clubs that are perfect for me.
I've been working at it, because at 27, I'm not getting any younger and if I could just trust myself (swing, stroke, etc.) on the golf course, good things could happen. So Thursday, I went out to play in the pre-qualifier for the Waste Management against 101 other players for nine measly spots into the Monday event that could get you into a PGA Tour event.
Just so we don't get any hopes up, I shot a 73, missing out on the Monday by three shots. I made exactly one birdie all day, on the first hole no doubt, and missed two short putts that would have had me bogey-free for the entire day.
Most of the time, you leave this disappointed. You didn't obtain your goal, and in life, we're taught that if you don't win, you lose. But that wasn't the case here. I felt good when I left. I went out, I played fine golf, and the putts didn't drop. It could have been 69 or 70 if a putt drops here or there that looked good for most of the way, but that's every round of golf.
What I did leave with is hope. I have been trying to convince myself that I'm good at this goddamn game, and on Thursday, I left thinking that I am. I beat some good names. I played better than a collegiate player that spent four years at a top university. I didn't embarrass myself. I gave myself a shot.
For anyone that has played tournament golf at this level, they know that it takes time to get comfortable. I haven't played in a serious event since June, and you can't do that. Nobody runs marathons without training, and tournament golf is a type of training. You have to get comfortable in the situation. You have to feel good about where you're at. You have to know that you can play here. After 18 holes, I accomplished some of those, I just need to play more.
So, that's my goal for 2011. I'm going to play more golf like this. I'm going to try and be the type of golfer that others have hoped I would. I'll attempt to take things I've learned from the range to the golf course, and maybe it'll turn into something. Or maybe it won't. But now I got something a lot of those other guys out there don't have; confidence. It's a scary thing.