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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Aloha from Toronto,

Last week, I was in Milwaukee for the U.S. Bank Championship and started off with a strong round of 67 on Thursday. It was one of those days that I have been waiting for over the past four weeks. It seemed like the things that I have been working on really started to come together on a short, tight golf course. My swing was really solid and the execution was right where I had seen it in practice. I just played one of the easiest rounds of 67s I have ever shot. It was all fairways and greens, and the one time I took out a wedge I ended up holing that shot from the bunker.

On Friday I was anticipating more of the same. The course was playing a little bit more difficult, the greens were quicker and pins were cut tighter, and I got off to somewhat of a slow start. While not playing my best, I was still making it easy on myself to have birdie opportunities. On my 17th hole, I hit my drive down the fairway, but it ran through about a yard into the rough. I got one of the worst lies I've had on Tour all year.

My playing partner, Craig Bowden, hit his drive 10 yards shorter of where I was, and he was able to hit a hybrid club to about 6 feet. Because of my lie, I had to hit an 8-iron as hard as I could, and wasn't able to advance it more than 60 yards. Sometimes there are things that are out of my control that the game of golf throws at you.

I made double bogey on the hole, and all of the sudden I went from one ahead of the cut line to one below it.

Despite missing the cut, that night my wife and I went to see Barry Bonds play the Brewers, thanks to tickets I received from Career Sports & Entertainment, my agency. It was amazing to see half the fans booing him, and the other half taking pictures of him. I've seen Barry play in San Francisco, where the fans love him, but to see him play in a visiting ballpark was something I won't forget.

Another thing I'll never forget is seeing Monday qualifier Tony Finau hit golf balls. He's a 17-year-old from Utah who just turned pro, and it's interesting to see him out here on the PGA Tour after hearing of Tadd turning pro.

On Wednesday, I was flying my drives into this net at the back of the range, which is about 260 yards. I was hitting it right into the middle of the net. About 10 minutes later, I noticed Tony hitting 3-woods past where balls hit off my driver were going. I stood there in awe watching him, and then noticed that about 20-25 other players and caddies were watching this kid smash balls. Right then I started to think that I might be seeing a young John Daly or an ever longer hitting Tiger Woods in his first PGA Tour event.

To see players who have 15 years of Tour experience stop and watch a kid hit range balls doesn't happen every week.

This week I'm in Canada. It's my first time in the Toronto area. I'm looking forward to a good week. There are only a couple more weeks until the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs start, and I feel like my game is coming around at the right time.




Thursday, July 19, 2007

Aloha from Milwaukee, host city for this week's U.S. Bank Championship.

While I'm getting ready for this week's PGA Tour event, it's clear that the big story back at home is Tadd Fujikawa deciding to turn pro. I found out after my round last Thursday at the John Deer Classic, when The Golf Channel asked me about Tadd's decision.

As everyone knows, Tadd's a tremendous talent, and I'm very excited for Tadd and his family. I'm looking forward to seeing Tadd playing great golf for the next few years, and then hopefully joining me on the PGA Tour in 2009, when he becomes eligible. It would be a special moment if one day Tadd, Dean Wilson and I could all play in the final group on a Sunday.

Speaking of young golfers, I played a practice round earlier this week with the current No. 1 junior golfer in the USA, Phillip Francis. Phillip, who is 18, is playing in this week's PGA Tour event on a sponsor's exemption, and is headed to UCLA, my alma mater.

We spent a good deal of time talking about life on the PGA Tour, as well as life at UCLA. It was interesting playing a practice round with someone who was asking me about life on the Tour. Just three or four months ago, I was playing practice rounds with Zach Johnson, Chad Campbell and Vaughn Taylor, asking them about what to expect about life out here.

I feel good about this week. Whenever you make swing changes, you want to do them in the off-season, but I'm playing through some right now. It seems like every time I play, I'm learning more about how my swing reacts under the pressure of the PGA Tour lights. I'm starting to get on track with my ball striking, and I've had some great practice rounds this week. I think this week I could really come on strong.

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