2019 Finale in Sea Island
This is the last event, my 30th, of 2019… and I’m not going to lie, it definitely felt like it. I flew from Cancun to Naples, FL on Sunday night for an all-day corporate event, and then got up early Tuesday morning and drove to Sea island (7.5 hours in a car, with a 4pm arrival at the golf course). I got there just in time for a quick range session at sunset, and then drove down the road to Southern Soul BBQ, which is my new favorite BBQ place on the planet. I even brought some of their Sweet Georgia Soul BBQ sauce home… and am still dreaming of their deep-fried Oreos. Yup, you read that right.
Another strange sight was the capsized shipping vessel right next to the golf course- approximately 4200 KIA cars were dumped into the ocean! All the crew was extracted, and most of the fuel was removed to minimize environmental damage. But I have heard estimates that the accident (supposedly caused by a malfunction in the ballast of the ship) will cost up to $800 billion…
On the golf course, the challenges began with the first round. Because of my late arrival, I did not get to play a practice round on Tuesday. I also was not in the pro-am, so I could not play on Wednesday either. There were also two golf courses this week, which meant that my first 36 holes were going to be blind. Travis, the reins are yours!!
I shot a very conservative (-1) 71 in the first round. I drove the ball beautifully, which made my life easier, but I only made three birdies all day. I felt like I was 2-putting from 40-50’ all day; and finally this caught up with me on my back 9, where I narrowly avoided three 3putts in a row by making a good birdie putt on the 8th hole. Not having seen the golf course before, I did not have the confidence to play aggressively to the pins, and ended up with a lot of balls in the middle of the green with a challenging 2-putt par. But I managed to escape with a decent round.
The second round, on the Seaside course, was much more successful. This golf course was a lot more visually apparent, though Travis still had to coach me through a target on nearly every shot. In perfect conditions I shot a very good (-4) 66, again driving and striking the ball beautifully. However, fatigue began to be an issue. There was a backup on the 4th hole, and I remember almost falling asleep sitting on my golf bag. However, I feel like being unable to prepare properly for these golf courses must have cost me at least a few shots, and it was all I could do to not let this fact frustrate me further.
Despite making the cut, the weekend was fairly lackluster. Based on how I felt my first few days back at home after the tournament, I put it down to fatigue. My 30th event of the season (30 out of 46 weeks on the road), a 36 hole day Sunday, long corporate day Monday, long travel day Tuesday, and trying to hold my game together, I didn’t have much left in the tank for a good weekend.
But all in all, this was a very successful fall season. I finished with 118 FedEx Cup points, moving me into 78th position for the season. This sets me up for most of the West Coast swing (I should get into the Sony Open, American Express, Farmers Insurance, AT&T and possibly the Genesis Open if I play well the first few weeks of January!). I am also on the cusp of qualifying for a few of the invitationals if I climb high enough in the FedEx Cup rankings.
I also can’t help but think how crucial the 3rd place finish at Stonebrae was back in August. This was the event that locked up my PGA Tour card, and took all the pressure off my Korn Ferry Tour Finals events. This let me catch some semblance of a breather and set me up for a solid fall on the PGA Tour!
My plans for the offseason include a two-or-so week break, where I have two corporate outings but otherwise may let my clubs gather a bit of dust. I plan to work out and get back in shape (after my annual first-week-of-offseason-cold wears off), and hopefully get back on the ice as well. I also am going to make a trip down to the Eli Callaway Performance Center to get my set dialed in for the upcoming season and test out the new products they have been working on all year for us.
But until then, I’m going to shut things down, enjoy some down time and will be back on the grind in a few weeks.
Happy Holidays everyone, and so long until Hawaii!