Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pebble Beach and Northern Trust Practice

Last week at Pebble was perfect. I want to thank Harry and Margaret Robinson for once again inviting me into their home for the week. It's always special when I'm able to stay with friends and on top of that, the weather was perfect. I could not have asked for a better week.

As everyone already knows, Kevin shot five under for three days (73, 68, 69) and missed the cut by a shot. He continues to play solid but failing to take advantage of the scoring opportunities. I feel most of it is due to not making putts. It then carries into the short game and eventually into the iron game. Confidence is a strong thing and when it's not around, even the best will struggle.

As for this week, we both spent Sunday traveling from Pebble to LA. I left Harry's house Sunday morning and took the six hour drive down the coast and arrived mid afternoon. JT (Kevin's instructor) also flew in on Sunday night so we all met Monday to start our prep for this week. Our focus this week was on the wedge game, short game and putting. Tuesday we played a practice round with Lucas Glover, Scott Brown and Andres Gonzales. Then today was our normal Wednesday practice day. Since we tee off Thursday at 6:40, we decided to get our work in early today so Kevin could rest up for the early start tomorrow. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Caddies vs PGA Tour lawsuit

I am sure by now that everyone has heard about, read about, and most likely formed an opinion about the lawsuit that was filed by caddies against the PGA Tour last week. Since I am part of this lawsuit, I feel it is best that I do not say too much about it, however, I do want to clarify a few things and I hope this answers any questions.

About a year ago, the caddie association (APTC) had a meeting and we asked our board to look into a few areas that would help all the caddies. These areas were 1) better/more consistent facilities each week. Pressing issues included; a bathroom with running water, timely shuttles when required to park off site, shelter during storm delays for all caddies and their families. 2) check on healthcare and retirement plans.

As our board moved forward with our request, they were continuously met with empty responses from the Tour. They told Tour executives the caddies wanted an opportunity to fund a retirement and healthcare plan and the caddie bib was the best avenue to raise these fundsThe Tour said NO. So we asked for a small portion of the bib. This would give us an opportunity to sell space on the bib to raise much needed money to fund these plans. In exchange, the caddies would continue to wear the bib and happily help promote professional golf, allowing the caddies to secure retirement and healthcare and fund it while wearing the bib. The Tour once again said NO..."the bib is off the table". This didn't seem right. We feel like the Tour is taking advantage of the caddies and requiring caddies to serve as human billboards without compensation, therefore, preventing caddies from entering into endorsement contracts of our choosing. So, after numerous meeting and hard work by the APTC, it has become clear the Tour is not willing to work with the caddies.

This brings us to where we are today and it needs to be known that the caddies have no intention to involve the players. The player retirement programs and weekly purses will not be affected in any way by the funding from the Tour of any program to support caddies. The caddies simply want the right to fund needed healthcare and retirement plans.

I hope this helps with any questions. Thanks in advance for respecting my position.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Waste Management Open (Scottsdale, AZ)

Kevin and I met up on Monday to start preparing for this week's Waste Management Open. We had a great practice session which included working with wedge guru, Roger Cleveland. After working with Roger, Kevin will be getting some new wedges built to help produce the shots he wants and needs around the greens. After the short game work, we headed out to the range and spent time with the Callaway team getting Kevin into a better three wood and driver. Once everything was dialed in, we went out and played a late nine hole practice round with Woody Austin.

Tuesday was an early day as we teed off about 8:00am with Lucas Glover and Kevin Chappell. Kevin's new driver and three wood were awesome. He was swinging it well and we just spent the day learning the new redesigned course. With new tee boxes and greens that are less then a year old, the course was playing very long with extremely firm greens. The firmness of the greens reminded us of the US Open and it was difficult getting the ball close because we were hitting so many long to mid irons. When we finished, Kevin called it a day so he could support Brittany and the PGA Tour Wives Association at a wives golf outing.

On Wednesday, Kevin worked out in the morning and I met him after lunch. With the help of JT, we restructured our practice routine this week with an emphases on drills and mechanics during Monday and Tuesday and then focusing only on shot shapes, execution and results starting Wednesday. We incorporated this by calling out shots (yardage, trajectory, shape) and then playing the entire course on the range. We finished the day with some putting, working on speed drills and games.

Thursday we were first off at 7:30 with Luke Guthrie and Bo Van Pelt. Kevin played solid most of the day with only a few loose shots but once again we failed to get anything out of the round. His one over par (72) was frustrating for him and we headed to the putting green and range to do some work. Friday's round was played in some miserable weather. After an overcast morning, the rain started right as we were teeing off. It was never a hard rain but it was a steady, windy, cold rain that kept the umbrella up all day and the course playing extremely long. With a steady dose of 4 irons, 3 irons and hybrids, Kevin kept hitting lasers to about 20 feet. It was the most impressive day of ball striking I have seen, PERIOD. With the exception of the tenth tee shot, he did not miss a shot. But, unfortunately, this game all comes down to getting the ball into the hole. As well as he hit it, we just could not make the putts. We walked off the 18th green with another one over par round (72) and the two over total left us one shot shy of making it to the weekend.

So, once again, we leave a tournament disappointed but we have to keep reminding him of the positives. The work that we all have been putting in WILL pay off. I know because I can taste it! As for this next week, Kevin will be taking Torrey Pines off and staying out in Scottsdale with Brittany and Kate to practice before heading over to Pebble Beach. For me, I changed my flight and I'm on a plane right now heading back home to see the family. I'll check back in when we get to Pebble.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Humana Challenge (Palm Springs, CA)

It was a tough week in the Desert. The Humana is a pro-am played on three different courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the cut falling on Saturday night. I've always enjoyed this tournament because it's a week I rent a house rather then stay in a hotel. The weather is usually perfect and it's always nice to go back and relax in the comfort of a house rather then a hotel room.

When the week started, Kevin had a few good days of practice. His instructor, John Tillery, came in on Tuesday and stayed until Friday. They not only spent time on the range but JT helped clean up the short game and we came into Thursday ready to go.

Thursday's round was on the Nicklaus course and Kevin got off to a great start birdieing three of the first four holes and finished the day with a four under (68). All in all, it was a solid day but there were a few loose shots and some missed opportunities. 68 is always a great score but around here with perfect conditions and reachable par fives, 68 will only feel like even par. Before the week got started, my thinking was we needed at least four under each day so we could have a chance heading into Sundays final round.

Friday and Saturday's round were almost carbon copies of one another. During both rounds, we were able to get it to four under par late in the day only to lose it coming in. Finishing both days with a disappointing one under par round (71). Both rounds included a late bogey on a par three that killed the momentum which was then followed up with a double bogey on the very next hole after a poor tee shot. Our six under total (68, 71, 71) through three rounds left us two shots off the cut number and the second week in a row with Sunday off. We'll now pack up and head back over to Scottsdale tomorrow and get back at it for the Waste Management Open.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sony Open - Round Three

Well....DAMN. How could something that felt so right go so wrong? We had a perfect day for golf but for whatever reason, we just didn't have it today. Kevin told me early on that things didn't feel right and sure enough, we struggled right out of the gate. Starting on the tenth, we missed the first five greens and could only manage to get one of those up and down for par. Not only was he struggling with the ball striking but Kevin also had trouble dialing in the speed on the greens. He left a lot of putts short but on the right line. The greens this week were much slower and grainy, so Kevin had a hard time getting the ball to the hole...especially into the grain.

After the rough five hole start, Kevin started hitting his irons better and kept giving himself good looks at birdie. He maintained a good attitude and fought hard trying to get back into it but the putter wouldn't let that happen. With over 78 players (85 total) making the cut this week, the secondary Saturday cut was in play. We needed to be two under (-2) after today's round to survive the secondary cut so our two over (+2) total leaves us out of the mix for tomorrow. It was a big disappointment but considering our track record here, we'll take a lot of positives away from this week. There were too many good things that happened to let today's round bring us down.

After the round, Kevin packed up his stuff out of his locker and we headed back to the hotel. We were both scheduled on red eyes Sunday night but Kevin will try to catch an earlier flight to Palm Springs tomorrow morning. Brittany and Kate are already in Palm Springs so he told me "I'm ready to get off this rock". I've looked into changing my flight but since I'm flying to Phoenix, renting a car, and driving over to Palm Springs; it was just too much of an added expense to make all the necessary changes. Looks like I'll be staying here until my original flight tomorrow at 11:15pm and will be arriving into Palm Springs around lunch time on Monday. At least I'll be able to watch the football tomorrow. Gotta root for my boy Alex's team...Go Green Bay!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sony Open Second Round

I want to start off by saying thank you for all the kind comments on Facebook yesterday. I have always wondered if I was wasting my time blogging but with all of the positive feedback, I realize many people actually enjoy what I have to say and follow us on the road. I will continue to try to keep the blog updated but please understand there will be some weeks that it will not be possible. I will do my best!!

Today's second round of the Sony Open was as solid as I've ever seen since caddying for Kiz. After an opening tee shot that found the right rough and led to a double bogey, Kevin's ball striking was awesome. Even though there were a few loose shots, he managed to hit every green (17) after the opening hole and is ranked number one in the greens in regulation through two rounds. He was able to make a  few imore putts today and finished the day with a three under par round of 67 ( I believe this was the first under par round of his career here in Hawaii).

After the round, we had some lunch and then met up for some practice. Kevin spent most of his time chipping and putting with only a few minutes hitting the ball.
Everything is on point and he is ready for three day. We tee off tomorrow at 10:40 with Tom Johnson and Zach Jihnson

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sony Open in Hawaii (2015)

The new year has finally begun. After a nice nine weeks off over the holidays, we are finally back to work on the beautiful island of Oahu in Hawaii. I flew here on Sunday and spent Monday preparing and doing some course work before Kevin arrived. We had two great days of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, coming in refreshed and ready to start the year.

Paired with John Daly and James Hahn, Kevin played great this afternoon from tee to green, ranking T-16th in both the fairways hit and greens hit in regulation categories. Since we have never had much success here in Hawaii, those stats are very impressive and shows how hard he has worked and improved over the past year. I was also very happy with the equipment changes he made when switching to Callaway from TaylorMade over the past few months. His distance control with the irons today was outstanding and he has driven the ball nicely since he arrived. Changing equipment can sometimes be a difficult process but it seems like Kevin has adjusted to the changes nicely. 

With only one birdie and one bogey, Kevin's even par round (70) puts us in a tie for 70th after the first round. Not bad considering we had 32 total putts today, ranking T-124th in the field. So, we just need to keep on with what we're doing, continue giving him good birdie opportunities and he'll start making a few putts. We tee off tomorrow at 7:20. Time of bed!!