Sunday, May 24, 2009

Joey D checking in from the Byron Nelson...

It's been a high-energy week here in the Dallas area, as expected. This event reminds me a bit of Charlotte, with a similar type of fan base. Enthusiastic. Hospitable. All in all, some great sports fans and lovers of golf. It's something that the players and us coaches feed off of.

If you want proof, look at some of the names who didn't make the cut, yet are still kicking around Las Colinas and taking in the experience. I saw Adam Scott playing tennis with his coach. I saw Vijay Singh out there doing the same, as well.

The Four Seasons has provided an overall relaxed environment for everyone involved with the Tour and this event is a real tribute to Mr. Byron Nelson, who I want to take a moment to recognize. Golf was a passion, not a job for the legend. He did it with lesser equipment, a flawless swing and natural ability.

I had a chance to sit down with Lord Byron years back when I was still working with Vijay and he won this event in 2003. He was a kind, passionate gentleman and the short time we got to spend together was a big golf moment for me.

My guys actually played pretty well this week. Tom Pernice Jr. and Ryuji Imada were right there. The cut line moved as so many guys got bunched up, pushing it from even to one-under, just like that. Tom's second round 66 looked like it'd be good enough, but in the end he was out by one. Ryuji had a respectable 70-71 in the first two rounds, but missed by two.

Charlie Wi actually made the cut by one, after opening with 73-66 and came back with a Saturday round of 64 to put himself in the thick of things T17th this morning. Charlie stumbled down the stretch, three-under after thirteen and giving it back to finish even. Still, the fact that he even saw the weekend and made a run - that's what I want to focus on with today's blog.

Charlie and I had a very spirited conversation after Friday's round. After an opening round 73, he had his work cut out for him if he was going to see the weekend. A second round 66, even with a late bogey, thankfully was good enough.

We spoke about Charlie's lingering mindset and how he was letting one bad shot bleed into his next three or four shots. That was the case on Thursday where he went from -1 to +6 in an eight hole span. He closed with three straight birdies, getting back to +3 and giving himself a fighting chance.

I often talk about Charlie's attitude and commend him for it in this blog. There aren't many guys on this tour like Charlie Wi. I get a lot of post-round phone calls from Charlie, where we dissect what happened earlier in the day. This week Charlie was a bit hard on himself, talking about how he needed to get out of this funk.

He knew what he needed to do and I was nothing more than a sounding board. Charlie knew that he was letting one bad shot impact his next several shots and he had simply had enough. I could definitely tell that Mr. Wi has been spending a lot of time with his guy Joey D when he delivered a line that sounded like something that would've come out of my mouth, not his -- "Coach, I need to start playing golf like a warrior, not a wimp."

Over the next two days, Charlie had a span of golf where he posted eleven birdies and fourteen pars in twenty-five holes. He didn't close the deal on Sunday, but again he was close and again he got his head right. Never underestimate what a positive attitude can do on a tour where everybody has game.

We say it time and time again here; golf is a mental game. Charlie again proved that this weekend and I hope that's something you weekend warrior types take from this week's column. Charlie told me days back that he believed in the process. Everything we're working on in the trailer. Everything he's working on with his swing coach. He knows where his game is at and he knows his abilities. When things go wrong, it's extremely obvious that he's losing the battle between his ear. He's at a point where he can acknowledge that and he's working through it, which is always the first step.

Challenge yourself next time you're on the course and follow Charlie's lead. Play like a warrior, not a wimp.

More next week. Same place, different tourney.

Joey D.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog, Joey. Really enjoy hearing the behind the scenes comments. Most of us watch on TV, while locals head out to weekly tourneys. We see guys making and missing cuts and never think much about what goes into the weekly grind.

Very interesting to hear the psychology of what goes into it, besides all the biomechanics stuff. Hearing what Mr. Wi was going through mentally and how he worked himself through it; there's a lesson to be learned there by all of us.

Keep up the great work and keep preaching that fitness gospel.

Brad Walker
San Antonio, TX

7:53 PM  

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