Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Joey D: Update from The PLAYERS...

Coach Joey D checking in from Jacksonville. Let's dive right in.

We saw an interesting finish last week at the Quail Hollow Championship. Zach Johnson on top for a couple of days, before a rough round on Sunday. Sean O'Hair pulling away with Tiger Woods nipping at his heels; something he couldn't do a few weeks back at Bay Hill. Bubba Watson coming oh-so-close to his first Tour win. Lucas Glover in the mix, but not able to pull it out.

Much like the Masters you at Phil Mickelson right up there with Tiger, which would've been a made for TV battle if both were in the final group, but a 75 on Saturday set Phil back and Tiger could do no better than an uncharacteristic E on Sunday.

Who was right there in the fold again? My guy Jason Dufner. I keep telling you this kid is going to sneak up on you and there he goes again, reeling in a T5th finish.

Duf's ball-striking has always been solid, but he lacked confidence. If you go back and look up his stats on, you'll see that a lot of Jason's struggles occurred on Sundays. As you're seeing right before your very eyes, he's finally putting it all together and the result has been stellar. Another player that's finally coming into his own.

The shoulder is still bothering Jason, but we're keeping things stable and mobile until he has a week off and can get it checked out. Golf fitness remains a priority and I appreciate all he does in the trailer to get his body biomechanically sound.

Tom Pernice Jr. and Pat Perez didn't have their greatest weeks out here on Tour. Both had their struggles, though Tom had a nice finish with a final round 68, moving him from T60th to T38th. Tom is a fighter. He never quit and he remained patient and calm, which was the difference-maker in that final round.

Pat had a tough time bouncing back from a third round 76, but did a great job keeping his composure.

A lot of folks still label PP a hot head, but that's not the case. He was very level-headed about how he wrapped up the week and realized it was time to go back to the drawing board. He got his swing coach Mike Abbott on the phone and Mr. A trekked east and has been working with Pat this week, correcting some issues.

As I've said time and time again, when making swing changes - old habits die hard. With Pat, sometimes he's raising that elbow a little bit... he might get a little too steep. He and Mr. A are working on a flatter plane and again, this is a professional who has completely revamped his entire swing in the last year. You're going to have weeks where things come together and other weeks where those old habits are going to creep back up. All you can do is work through it, which he's doing.

All of this just goes to prove how tough the competition is on this Tour. As I mentioned earlier, I know the fans are always clamoring for a Tiger v. Phil finale on Sunday. While that won't always be the case, personally I think that's a good thing. It's a reminder that there are a ton of talented players out here, capable of winning week in and week out.

I'm excited for the PLAYERS this week. For me, it's a "home" event as I still have a residence here in Jacksonville. I'm a big fan of the 'fifth major' and always love an event with a field as stacked as this one. A hectic week for me with Perez, Pernice Jr., Dufner and Ryuji Imada in the field, but the guys will be ready. Again, this is the "PLAYERS" championship and it's one these guys really love to be a part of.

The weather is again consistent, spectacular for this time of year. Mid 80s, sunny and not too humid... which of course brings up and tip from a past blog regarding hydration. This time of year, it's important to stay hydrated. Room temperature water. Don't just drink when you're thirsty and remember to sip, not gulp. Pump the amino acids and keep those muscles from cramping up. You have to stay on top of this and deal with it before dehydration kicks in, not after.

That's all for now. Check back later this week for some post-round commentary.

Joey D.


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