Friday, April 10, 2009

Joey D: Friday Recap From Augusta...

Let's cut right to the chase. This is Augusta, Georgia. This is not your average tournament. You're not going to get away with making mistakes. I had high hopes and high expectations for both of my boys, Pat Perez and Ryuji Imada. Both guys struggled this week, with Pat missing the cut and Ryuji hanging on by one stroke.

You can be absolutely prepared for the Masters and still get your business handed to you. The course plays very different depending on the weather conditions and it the wind was howling today. Still, no excuses. Some guys are out there getting it done and others aren't.

Golf isn't even a game of inches; it's a game of millimeters. That's how a Phil Mickelson can go out and win a World Golf event at Doral, yet miss the cut in Houston. That's how Perez can roll into Augusta a week after a T4th finish at Bay Hill and shoot a 79 today.

Same way Zach Johnson won a green jacket in 2007 and still fired a second round 80 today, missing the cut after an opening round 70. This game - and especially this course - will bring the best to their knees. This is a major and a major is going to play much differently than your regular tour event.

I think PP got a little bit tentative this week and wasn't hitting it as well as he'd like to have hit it. Augusta can do that to you. Perez hasn't been here in six years and even fully prepared, things might still not go your way. Pat did everything he needed to in the fitness trailer this week and his swing coach Mike Abbott was happy with his preparation, as well. Still, as you get tentative and weather conditions change, old habits can find their way back into your golf swing.

Thirty-six holes rough holes at Augusta National aren't going to take away from the year Pat's having. This is his best career start in eight seasons out here. This week simply proves why the mental part of golf is so important.

Ryuji fired a 72 yesterday. Even for the opening round after hitting 16 of 18 fairways and one miss by less than a foot. The short game was a little bit off yesterday, which is hard to swallow as he's a player known for his short game. You have to putt well in Augusta and you can't be intimidated by this course.

Patience is a huge, huge benefit. The guys a top the leaderboard are playing smart, patient golf. They're also playing confident golf, which happens when you make your breaks and you get some breaks. Chad Campbell is playing amazing golf right now and when you birdie five of your first five holes, that gets your momentum going and you don't mentally start beating yourself up or overthinking things.

Guys who have played this tournament again and again have an advantage over guys who don't know the lay of the land. They know how mentally strong you have to be. They know you need to remain patient and let it come to you. You're playing against the best of the best and have to consciously remember not to get too aggressive and you can't let each and every shot get to you. It can do that every single stroke out here. You think you're going to make a good putt and all of a sudden, the way these greens slope, the ball rolls eight feet by. For those who watched the tournament these past few days, you saw that time and time again.

I'm not disappointed in the least regarding how my guys played. This was just one of those weeks. It doesn't diminish their accomplishments up to this point and it has no impact on how they'll play next time they tee it up. Look at some of the guys who are headed home. Adam Scott. K.J. Choi. Ernie Els. Fred Couples. Retief Goosen. Stewart Cink. Some great players had a bad week. It happens out here.

Pat struggled today. He knows that. We talked after the round and while he's disappointed, he knows he's close and he knows he has to keep pressing on. He'll work harder on the course with Mr. A and he'll give me more in the fitness trailer the next event he plays. I can guarantee that.

No matter what level you play at, if you're making changes in your golf swing, the old adage applies -- old habits die hard. After a week like this, it's back to basics and more consistency with biomechanics. When Pat I work together in the coming weeks, there will be more focus on mimicking the swing and more work with the Joey D PowerBandz. These exercises will cement the neurological ability for the brain to send a signal to the end result.

This only starts to work after hours upon hours of repeating this motion and getting the body to the point where it's strong enough, flexible enough and balanced enough in your golf swing. You eventually get to a point where these changes are cemented in your brain and you're no longer thinking -- instead it's a reaction of actions.

People have to remember, it's much easier to be a 'fan' of this game and be critical of what you're seeing here this week in Augusta. Unless you've been out here, under these conditions, you truly have no idea the level of talent it takes to complete in this event. It's no joke. Remember that as you watch the the final 36 holes this weekend.

Joey D signing out. More next week from Hilton Head.

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