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Postcards from Parker - May 29, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008

Aloha from the Memorial!

I'm here at the Memorial (in Ohio) and it certainly feels like an elite environment. It's the first time I've played this golf course and the fans here make you feel like you are playing in a major. The field is small — only 120 players — instead of the normal 144, so I'm finding myself playing in better tournaments with the best players in the world.

The course is set up very challenging. The rough is about 6-7 inches long, which is really long out here on the PGA Tour. So the guys that hit the fairways this week will be in really good shape.

We are two weeks away from my fifth-place finish at the AT&T Classic and I'm still getting comments about my play at that tournament. It's really nice to see people recognizing your good play.

This is my sixth tournament in the past seven weeks, and the AT&T Classic in Atlanta felt like it lasted about a year. I'm tired, but this is part of the grind where I need to make enough money to keep my PGA Tour card.

Last week was a special event to be a part of. It was one of Ben Hogan's tracks back in the day. I found myself playing in cruise control after coming off an emotional week in Atlanta. I made the cut and played well, but never really got any momentum going. But it was a good week because we enjoyed Fort Worth, Texas very much. It was like a small Western town with lots of cowboys. Everyone had a truck.

One of the nights we went to place called "Billy Bob's," the world's largest honky tonk. They had bull riding and line dancing. Let's just say I didn't do either.

After this weekend's event, I'm scheduled to tee it up at the U.S. Open qualifier on Monday. I'm doing that here in Columbus with a bunch of the players from this event. Last year I didn't even get through the first stage, so it's nice to already be in the final round of qualifying. If I do make it, it's off to Torrey Pines, where I'm sure I'll see family and friends.

Mahalo,

Parker


 

Postcards from Parker - May 22, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008

Aloha!

As many of you saw, last week was a great week for me out on the PGA Tour. It was my first time having the lead at any point on the PGA Tour. Being in serious contention to get my first win on Sunday was thrilling. On Sunday, I didn't strike the ball as well as I would have liked to off the tee, and wasn't really as precise with my irons, but kept finding a way to make some magic happen out there early.

After I hit two great iron shots in a row on holes 6 and 7 (after bad tee shots), I thought to myself, "Wow, I'm not really hitting the ball that great, but I'm scoring great. If I can just find something here on the last 10-11 holes I have a chance to win the AT&T Classic."

Golf is a funny game. Sometimes you feel great and you shoot even par, and other times you aren't sure where the ball is going to go and you find yourself shooting 65 or 66. Last Sunday was one of those days where I didn't really feel like I had my best stuff, but I was just scoring. I think I had four holes early on where I could have walked up there and kicked the ball into the hole.

FINISH LINE IN SIGHT
Everything was just coming together at the right time for me. With my birdie-birdie-eagle run on 11, 12 and 13, I moved to 15-under with five holes to go. At the time, I didn't know that I had a three-shot lead, but after I holed out on the 13th I figured that maybe I was leading by one shot. Once the CBS cameras started showing up, I figured I must really be doing something good!

Making a bogey on the 14th hole on Sunday was tough, because that wasn't a very difficult hole. When you get in the lead of a golf tournament like I did, you start to see the finish line a little bit more than you would if you were playing a normal round. When you see the finish line you sometimes forget to pay attention to each shot. I started to peek at the finish line a bit too early. But that's OK, because it was one great learning experience.

I'm sure you are all interested in my 18th hole so I'd love to talk about it. When I got to the tee, I figured I was one shot back, so I hit a great drive and had 221 yards to the front edge of the green (water was in front) and it was 238 yards to the hole. My ball was basically within a yard of where I played from the two previous days and on both Friday and Saturday I hit my Titleist hybrid club onto the green and made a birdie on Saturday and an eagle on Friday. Immediately I pulled out my hybrid, knowing that it was the right club as the wind was blowing softly from right-to-left. After watching the two guys in my group hit the green, the wind switched completely into my face and it was at least 10-15 mph stronger.

I couldn't believe my golfing gods. Now, I take a step back and figure it was just a gust of wind and that I should let it pass through. I waited and waited for the wind to die and it never switched back to its original soft right-to-left movement. So, I put the hybrid back in the bag and reached for my 3-wood. After pulling out the club it just didn't feel right. It felt to me like my shot was either going to balloon up on me and go into the water, or if I pierced one through the wind I'd be in the back bunker facing a downhill shot with the green sloping to the water.

Since the wind was still blowing into my face, I went to my next best option, which was to try to lay up and make birdie with my sand wedge. I knew birdie would allow me to be the first player on Sunday to post a 14-under par and that would give me a shot at winning. After hitting a good lay-up shot I approached the green from 88 yards. Immediately I pulled out my 60-degree wedge and had a nice visual on the shot. I thought it was the perfect club. My caddie pulled me off and told me that the shot may come back into the water with the way the wind was. So then I pulled out my 56-degree wedge. I hit the shot about 30 feet past the hole, and realized the minute I hit it that I never had fully committed to that third shot with my 56-degree club. I was still thinking about whether or not my 60-degree wedge shot was the right club. A lesson to us all: Make sure you are fully committed to your shot before you hit it.

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Overall, given the exact situation, I'm still 100 percent comfortable with laying up on 18. I learned, however, that if I trusted my gut feeling for my third shot I would have taken the 60-degree wedge and played that.

On a side note, I have received a ton of great responses about those pants that I wore on Sunday! All I can say about my thought process Sunday morning was: Parker, if you wear these you better play really well! Thankfully, I did.

I really want to thank everyone in Hawai'i for the text messages, phone calls and e-mails. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, from my friends and fans across the Islands, as well as my fellow Tour pros. All the players, even Kenny Perry, who finished in second, told me that I made the right decision on 18. Being in contention doesn't always work the first time out, but I always strive to keep moving forward and this is another big step for me in the big picture. This is a weekend that I will learn from.

And the messages just keep coming. Just now as I write this I received a text from Michelle Wie: "A belated congratulations," she said. "You were so close." She couldn't have said it any better.


 

POSTCARDS FROM PARKER - MAY 8, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008

Aloha from Phoenix, where I've just returned from the Wachovia Championship. Last week was the end of a three-week stretch that culminated with a 3-under par 69 in the final round.

I've started to play really well early in tournaments. Last year, I always finished strong but this year I'm putting myself in contention Thursday and Friday a lot more, and I'm learning how to deal with that. I started off strong at the EDS Byron Nelson and finished strong at Wachovia. That shows me that putting all four rounds together is right around the corner for me. I know it's right there. It's all about putting four together.

You might have noticed that guys my age have started winning on Tour. Anthony Kim did last week and Adam Scott did the week before. Johnson Wagner, who is also in his late 20s, and Anthony were rookies on Tour with me last year and have both won this year. All that really does is cement my belief that I can win out here. These guys are all guys in their 20s and so am I. I think it's really encouraging that the 20-somethings on the PGA Tour are doing well. There's a youth movement going on this year on the PGA Tour and I want to be a part of it.

Here's an interesting story from the road. After the tournament ended in Charlotte, I drove down to Jacksonville with my wife, Kristy, just in case I would get the call to play in The Players Championship this week. I was listed as the ninth alternate to play and I had never seen TPC Sawgrass before. The first 10 alternates are allowed to practice and play, so Monday I played the back nine.

It was a special moment, playing the famous 16th, 17th, and 18th. I knocked it on in two on par-5 16th and made birdie. Then, I hit a smooth 8 iron on the 17th (the island green) and made par. On 18, I hit a great drive right up the middle and hit a perfect 7 iron to 6 feet to make birdie.

So there I was, standing on the 18th green on Monday of a tournament week feeling great about my game, and I didn't even get in the tournament. So I flew back here to Arizona to get some rest in before next week's event in Atlanta, where I will be filming some new videos for www.ParkerMcLachlin.com. Enjoy your rounds out there on the Islands, and look for me at the AT&T Classic in Atlanta.

Mahalo,

Parker


 

Postcards From Parker - May 1, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Aloha from Charlotte.

Last week was the EDS Byron Nelson in Dallas. It is one of the premier events on tour, in my opinion. This tournament is so prestigious because it is one of the few events on the PGA Tour that has the name of a player in the title. Only Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods can say they have a tournament named after them. So needless to say, it was a great tournament with an electric atmosphere.

I started the week well, shooting a 68 on Thursday and a 69 on Friday. It put me into a great position going into the weekend tied in fifth. Since it was only my second year to play in that event, it was a great situation to be in. Two weeks ago at the Verizon Heritage in Hilton Head, I went into weekend play in a good position as well, finishing Friday tied for 15th. Every time I'm able to get a good first two days under my belt, it's always a good learning experience regardless of the outcome. When you are near at the top of the leaderboard on Friday, you tee off with the last groups on Saturday and Sunday, which is always a great experience. Even though this week's end result was not exactly what I wanted, I took a lot away from the experience. Those experiences help build your memory bank for the next time you're in that situation.

Kristy and I were able to slip away from the golf course on Friday evening and went to the Dallas Mavericks' playoff game. Since we are huge basketball fans, we always love the opportunity to go to a basketball game, whether it's a high school game, college game or an NBA game. We both played basketball growing up, so it was really cool to experience that playoff atmosphere.

Monday after the Byron Nelson was over, I went to San Antonio for an outing for the Valero Texas Open. It was my first time to do a golf event like this where I didn't actually bring my clubs and play. Three other PGA Tour golfers — Rich Beem, Rocco Mediate and last year's Valero Texas Open winner Justin Leonard — and I met with sponsors and charities from the event. After we were done, Valero flew us from San Antonio to Charlotte on their corporate jet. It was the first time Kristy and I have flown on something that nice!

Now we're here in Charlotte getting ready for the Wachovia Championship this week. It is one of my favorite events to play on the tour for several reasons. Quail Hollow Country Club is one of my favorite courses. But the greatest part is that the fans here are welcoming and very knowledgeable. The spectators always give you great ovations. It has the feel of a Major championship. Also, my courtesy car this week is a Mercedes Benz, which is an incredible car to drive for the week.

A couple of my coaches are in town this week to help me keep my fundamentals in check. After three weeks in a row on tour, I need to make sure I've got my mind in the right place and my swing in line. It's great to have sessions with my coaches while I'm on tour and in the mix of things, rather than back home. Overall, I feel great this week and I'm looking forward to another productive weekend.

Mahalo,

Parker


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