There’s no doubt this is a different year for me—and in a variety of ways.
We’re already well into the season—and I think it is easy for people to overlook the fact the schedule actually began last year. With that in mind, I did spend some of my time in the off-season at my home in Brantford, Ont. considering my goals and what I want to achieve this year.
One thing is clear: the summer schedule is going to be a challenge because of how many events are stacked together when you have World Golf Championships, majors and the Olympics all in a row, with the RBC Canadian Open right in the middle. That means I could well end up playing four or five weeks in a row, have a week off and have to play four more in a row. That’s a tough schedule for a golf pro, because the game is about more than just playing four rounds. There’s a lot of travel, a lot of commitments both personal and professional, and it can really grind you down over time. That makes it even more important to have a good start because it’ll allow me to pick and choose the tournaments I play.
Playing in the Olympics has been a goal since they announced golf would return to the games for the first time in more than a century. Canada will likely only have two players on the team, and there’s a lot of competition from the other Canadians on the PGA Tour. However, you don’t want to get too ahead of yourself; I can only control my game and play to the best of my abilities. That means playing well, like I have been for the last year, and letting the results take care of themselves.
Of course, it would be a tremendous honour to represent Canada at the Olympics. It would be very special and to do it in golf would be something that hasn’t happened in over 100 years. So it is something that’s on my mind, but I can’t just go to a tournament like the one in Phoenix with that on my mind. The final selections aren’t made until July, so there’s lots of golf ahead of us.
The other significant change is removing the long putter from my bag. It is still strange to reach into my golf bag and not pull out my long putter. But it isn’t as if I didn’t know the rule change was coming, and I’ve been preparing for it for months. I played a lot of rounds last summer with it and I didn’t really notice a significant difference.
I felt like there are pros and cons to each method, so I’m hoping the transition will be as seamless as possible. Sure, I know there will be some areas I have to work on with a short putter, but that’s true of any part of your game. My first events of 2016 showed some promise, and I believe confidence is a key to putting. Besides, I was successful winning on the Web.com with the short putter and I’m a better player now than I was then, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be a great putter with a short one.
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