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Postcards From Parker - June 28, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007

Reprinted from the Honolulu Advertiser

Aloha from Michigan and this week's Buick Open.

As the midway point in the season has just passed, I decided to take a look back at some of the things on the golf course I have been doing well, and some things I feel I have room to improve on. The strength of my game has always been the short game — chipping and putting. And as I look at some of the stats from the first half of the year, I realize that my ballstriking is something that really needs consistency. The weeks I have played well were all weeks I hit the ball well.

I had what might be called a "mid-year review" session with my sports psychologist, Don Greene. We, along with my current instructor, Scott Head of Waikoloa, decided that it was necessary for me to have someone constantly there to provide a watchful eye to make sure my fundamentals don't get too far off.

We decided on Peter Kostis because of his talents as a teacher, the fact he resides in Scottsdale, and he travels to most of the tournaments as an analyst for CBS golf. I was able to get a lesson with Peter on my week off during the U.S. Open. My fundamentals (posture, grip, alignment) had gotten pretty far off with how much tournament golf I had been playing. He gave me something to work on for each of those fundamentals and I had a week to implement changes.

As many of you may have seen, I struggled in my first round last week at Hartford with a 79, but much of that should be attributed to me trying to play through the changes I'm making. The next day I came out and shot 69, and realized that the first round was a good lesson for me: When I'm on the course, I need to be comfortable, rather than be "perfect." I noticed that when I was on the course Thursday, I was working on my golf swing, when I should have left the "work" on the range and just gone out and played. My attitude changed considerably on Friday, and I'm sure that's why I went out and played much better.

I am excited about where some of these changes are taking me with my golf swing. This past Monday in Michigan, I participated in the Pro-Am and came out of the gates with five straight birdies, so I'm starting to feel like things are ready to really click.

Off the course, I just purchased a handheld GPS System. This helps me with directions no matter where I am in the country. Due to the amount of travel I do, it has come in extremely handy. I can find places to eat, get gas, find dry cleaners, etc. I think of it like this: If I work on my long-range putting I may go from eight three-putts in a tournament to no three-putts; now that I have a GPS, I've gone from eight U-turns in a week to none.

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