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Postcards From Parker - October 25, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007

Time is winding down and it's time to step up my game.

As I was saying last week, it was really nice to sleep in my own bed, and it was nice to be in a familiar place. The course that we are playing here in Florida for the Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoror is a very typical Florida course. It's very target-oriented golf and it's similar to desert golf, but instead there are swamp lands around the fairways instead of cactus.

Last week, my poor start (4-over) on the first day was a bit too much to overcome.

I was surprised by how tough of a challenge the course was, considering so many PGA players live in Arizona and knew the course well. It seemed to be that there was only one low score per day.

The golf course, in tournament conditions, got firmer and faster and the fairways start running out. That's what happens with tournament golf on a weekly basis. At a PGA event, the course that members will see is not close to what is seen during the week of a tournament. The Tour likes to cut the water off, dry it out, get the greens rolling fast, etc.

When you think you have a home course advantage you find that it's really a brand new golf course. The course plays completely different. Phil Mickelson, and Aaron Baddeley, who were both members of the club, missed the cut. That said a lot.

Now I'm back to playing a golf course that I haven't ever seen before, which is good. I'm just out there trying to figure out the best spot to put myself. I played a practice round Tuesday to lay out the golf course. I'll play a round with Matt Kuchar off-site.

We go off-site Wednesday because we aren't allowed to play the tournament golf course that day due to the Pro-Am. So we get the competitive fire started a day early by playing a little match against each other. I'm ready to just get after it this week.

I've been rooting for Hawai'i and UCLA football all fall and rooting for both. The win over Cal was huge for UCLA. I'm telling you, UCLA is a pretty good football team if we don't have our third or fourth string quarterback in there!


 

Postcards From Parker - October 18, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007

It has been crazy at home, even just trying to catch up on four weeks of mail. The time away is harder on the mind than body, I think. You've got to really find ways to keep it fresh and interesting or it gets old pretty quick. That's why you see guys like Tiger and Phil, who don't play more than three weeks in a row. It's hard to stay on that road that long and play at such a high level.

My wife, Kristy, was with me the whole time. We've been having a great time. We really had fun exploring Las Vegas last week. Family and friends came in. It was a really enjoyable week except for missing the weekend.

We usually try to do something Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday — go to a good restaurant or look around somewhere. Last week we went to a place at Wynn that sat out on a manufactured lake. It had something similar to the Bellagio water show. We sat there a couple hours and enjoyed the free entertainment. Once Thursday gets going, I'm usually in a grinding state of mind and not thinking about sightseeing.

This week's tournament (Fry's Electronics Open) is here in Scottsdale (Ariz.). It's easier to be home and sleep in my own bed. There are a few more distractions though, when you're trying to gear up for a tournament. You're not in a hotel routine, more in a home routine ... taking out the garbage, cleaning house, doing laundry. We've cooked every night. We eat out so much it's nice to eat at home, and amazing how good a home-cooked meal can taste.

I think I really need to just start being aggressive the next few weeks. Bottom line is, I need to go out and make some really good things happen. Obviously it's in me after the way I played a few weeks ago. I've had a nice tune-up the last couple days with (instructor) Peter Kostis here. I feel ready to "push-play" and take it low. The thing I like about him is he calls a spade a spade. He said basically the stats are telling him that I'm playing defensive, playing to not miss shots. We went out the last couple days and tried to get me in the mindset of swinging free and aggressively and thinking aggressively."

It always comes back to playing it one shot at a time. As cliche as it is, it's really the best motto to be successful. The purses are so big they give you a million reasons to care every single week, and try on every shot. So, it's not that much different now, just that the time frame is expiring and it's crunch time. I have to get after it.


 

Postcards From Parker - October 4, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007

Aloha from San Antonio, home of the Valero Texas Open.

San Antonio is a pretty nice city. It feels like I'm close to the water, because we're down near Mexico. The terrain, the trees, and the weather all make me feel like I'm close to an ocean and close to home.

My mentality with five tournaments left on the PGA Tour season is to play real well over the next three weeks and not have to go to Florida for the final two tournaments. Over the next three weeks I'll play here, at the tournament in Las Vegas, and the tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz. I want to end my year in Scottsdale well within the top 125 on the money list.

The course here suits my eye. It's a good golf course with a variety of holes. Out here there are some really short par 3s, some really long par 3s, and some par 4s that have been converted from par 5s. So this is certainly a course that will challenge every part of your game.

It's really nice to be back on Bermuda grass. I know that sounds funny, but playing on Bermuda grass comes natural to me. It's like playing at home. It's a huge difference playing Bermuda grass (which is what the Sony Open is played on) and playing golf courses that use other grass. There are actually guys out here on the PGA Tour that don't like Bermuda grass and won't play any tournaments that have it.

When I get to a tournament, it's really important for me to figure out what kind of grass is growing around the greens. Then I can get the speed and figure the best way to chip around the greens. Usually, in every other grass other than Bermuda, there is really thick grass around the green. With Bermuda grass it's different. It really tests you to determine what kind of a lie your ball is in, and then how the ball is going to react after you hit it. Much of Monday through Wednesday is spent around the green using different clubs and finding different shots.

Last week, I played some practice rounds again with Vaughn Taylor and Chad Campbell, and Chad ended up winning the tournament. Earlier this year, I played with Vaughn and Chad (both Ryder Cup players from last year) and to play with them again was another great experience. It's kind of fun to go toe to toe with the guy that ends up winning the golf tournament.

I'm looking forward to checking in with you all next week from Las Vegas!


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