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Postcards From Parker - April 24, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008

Aloha from Dallas.

Last week was the Verizon Heritage. I was out to get even with the golf course. As those of you who have followed my career closely, last year I played very poorly at the Verizon Heritage and it was my worst two rounds of the year. This year, it was all about revenge against the golf course. After eight holes, I was leading the golf tournament at 5-under par. That's the first time in my PGA Tour career I've had the lead at an event. Hey, even if it was for only one hole it was still pretty cool!

Rather than just take the week off because I didn't have good memories of last year, I decided to take the tournament head on and put up some great rounds. I spent some time preparing last week to play the golf course in Hilton Head, and that really paid off. I made the cut and got my revenge.

Hilton Head is an east coast golf destination, and it's a very unique golf tournament environment. It's a very social event. There are houses on literally every hole, and it seemed like on nearly every hole there was a party at the house that was next to the tee box or the green. There was a lot of energy and excitement in the air. The golf tournament is definitely the "to do" thing during the week, as all the girls were in their "Easter dresses" and all the guys were in collared shirts and boat shoes. Everyone was there to dress to impress.

Looking ahead, I have two more weeks of playing as I am scheduled to play the Byron Nelson this week and the Wachovia Championship next week. I'm partly playing this tournament because I have so much respect for what Byron Nelson stood for as a golfer.

While he's no longer with us, this is a prestigious event and this is an opportunity for me to play my way into the Players Championship. If I play well this week, I would earn a spot into the Players Championship, a marquee event. There is nothing wrong with the $9 million dollar purse at the Players Championship, right?

Here's to hoping I can play well enough to get into the Players. I'll check in with you next week.




Postcards from Parker - April 10, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008


Well it's been an eventful few days. On Tuesday, I was in Southern California for the 2008 Oakley fall catalogue photo shoot. When I got to the studio, there was a staff of seven people there to cater to me and the photo shoot: a photographer, stylist, wardrobe expert, lighting person and three other people. Oakley is one of my primary sponsors and I wear their clothing and sun glasses on the golf course. I love their products, and everyone who was a part of the photo shoot treated me incredibly well.

As for the actual shoot, it was a fun experience. It lasted a few hours, as I was photographed in five different outfits. It was like being on "America's Next Top Model." The photographer would use really funny examples to try to get out certain facial expressions. One time he asked me to make a face as if my golf ball had just hit a tree and the ball landed in the water. I tried as hard as I could. One time he yelled "show me that rage!" Another time he said "explore all of your feelings!" It was great.

In the golf world, this is Masters week and this is also the first time in my life where I feel that I should be at Augusta playing. My first thought when I turned on the television was: "I am this close to playing in that event next year." I know the tournament is within my grasp. Previously, that was just a pipe dream. But I know now that I can play with the big guns on Tour.

As for my selections this week, I'm going with three players to watch: Geoff Ogilvy, Brandt Snedaker and Rory Sabbatini. Brandt played there in 2001 when he won the U.S. Publinx Championship. Last year I told you guys to watch out for Brett Wetterich, and then he goes out and leads the Masters heading into Saturday. OK, OK, he didn't play so great on the weekend. But if it was a 36-hole tournament I would have been a genius!

This week I'll be spending some time working on my game. On Monday and Tuesday, I didn't pick up a club. When you are on the road so much, you almost forget how nice it is to just make yourself breakfast, lunch and dinner. My wife and I spend so much time eating in hotel rooms or in restaurants across the country that we try to take full advantage of cooking a great meal when we are at home. I'm also spending some time working with my swing coach and my mental coach setting out goals for my next tournament week and goals for the next month. I really think the next few weeks and months are going to be great, so I look forward to checking back in with you all next week!




Postcards From Parker - April 3, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008

Aloha from Houston and the Shell Houston Open,

Last week in New Orleans was a successful week with a tie for 12th finish.

It was a bit crazy with all of the weather delays and as many of you may have seen I ended up playing 28 holes on Sunday. For the last 28 holes I had a chance to really be in contention there and it was a great experience from me.

Thursday and Saturday nights I was glued to the television hoping that UCLA would pull off a couple victories and get to the Final Four. As many of you know, I love everything about Hawaii, but since I went to UCLA and I loved my time there, I will always have a special place for the Bruins. In a bit of fate, I played the final two rounds with John Merrick, who is also a UCLA grad, and we spent most of Saturday and Sunday talking about how our Bruins are going all the way. When you play with someone you are comfortable with, you don't feel that obligation to spend time early in a round talking to the guy and getting to know him. You just feel good talking about anything. That's what makes playing with John great.

Another reason I like playing with John is that he has such a smooth swing.

It's easy for me to stand there and watch him play. It just helps my tempo watching another player with a similar style. I don't think many amateurs realize this, but there are times when I don't even watch a player who I am playing with because I think it will inadvertently mess up my own game. I played with another player who didn't have the same tempo that I had, and I couldn't watch him swing once because I thought it would actually throw my game off. If I know a guy doesn't have similar tempo that I do, I'll make a conscience effort not to pay too much attention to his swing because it may cause me to either swing too fast, too long or too slow. With John, I don't have to worry about that because we have such similar swings in terms of speed and rhythm.

It was unfortunate to end with a couple bogeys in the last five holes, but another top-15 finish is great. One thing I love about the New Orleans TOUR stop is the culture. Everyone there takes such pride in their cuisine, and it was important for my wife and I to make sure to try out all of the local spots. Another great thing about the New Orleans event is that I really feel like the tournament has such a positive impact on the community. Last year we saw the impact that Katrina had, and this year we were able to see tremendous improvement all the way around, whether it was people coming back to the city or people showing up at the tournament. I heard a rumor that the crowds were actually at a record high this year. That says a lot about the way not only the way the tournament was run, but it also says that the people are coming back to New Orleans.

I'm fired up for this week. It's one of the best-maintained golf tournaments on TOUR. They set it up as a "Masters tune-up" and the greens are firm and fast and there are some similarities to Augusta National.

Last year I met President Bush at this tournament. Hopefully, I'll get to see him again this year. Maybe I'll even get to see him in the afternoon on Sunday. If so, I know it will be another good week.


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