For those of you that have been following my journey and that have continued to unconditionally support me along the way, I owe you a long overdue update.
Over the course of the past 9 months, I have been tested both mentally and physically in ways that I have never experienced before. Starting in late July, I began battling some shoulder problems that prevented me from playing without pain and to the best of my ability. The timing of this was unfortunate and kept me unable to practice and play for most of the month leading into the biggest tournament of the year, Korn Ferry Q-School. Despite the lack of preparation and level of physical uncomfortableness that I was experiencing, I gave the tournament a go and ended up missing out on advancing by 1 stroke. This was incredibly deflating and took me a while to mentally recover from.
From the significant swing changes I began making starting last February, to the hours spent in the gym improving my body during the summer, all of it was in preparation for this event. After making all of this progress on and off the golf course, the fact that I didn't feel like I was able to give it my best effort was an incredibly hard pill to swallow, and for the following month I questioned if all of my hard-work and energy that I had devoted to improving myself was even worth it. I definitely was feeling sorry for myself, which I have learned usually leads you in the wrong direction. After a little bit of time and greater reflection, I realized that the high level golf I played last spring and the confidence that I gained as a result of that and all of the positive improvements I had made to my body over the summer reminded and refueled my self-belief in my talent and my desire to continue chasing my dream of playing at the highest level.
In October, a friend introduced me to a life coach that was looking into beginning to help golfers with the mental side of the game in ways that could help them on and off the course. After our initial meeting I was hooked and committed to giving him my best effort for 60 days towards his process. This is a decision I will never regret. Now 6 months into using his process, I feel that I am in the best place mentally that I have ever been both on and off the golf course, and the proof is in the pudding. Despite continuing to fight my physical battles this winter and never being where I wanted to be, I was able to make the cut and cash in 9 out of 10 events, which is a significant improvement from my previous 2 winters down in FL. Additionally, after spending 8 months working on resolving my shoulder problem, in February I believed I figured out the component of my swing that was causing me to continuously reinjure my shoulder. For about a week I was swinging as freely and unrestricted as I wanted to. The amount of relief I felt that week is a feeling I cannot describe, and I had a month to use what I had learned to prepare for my biggest event of the winter, PGA Tour Canada Q-School.
Unfortunately, about a week later and 2 weeks removed from a seeing a new Dr. down in FL, I began dealing with some bad lower back tightness and hip pain that I am still dealing with to this day. I personally believe it is the result of some poor guidance on corrective exercises, but I was doing anything I possibly could to try and tackle my physical problems. This quick turn around from feeling like I had solved all of my physical problems to feeling like I was back to square one was another enormous physical and mental hurdle to make in a short period of time. I left for Q-School feeling much less prepared than I wanted to be, but with the help of my mental coach, I reminded myself that I had played solid golf feeling like shit all winter, and was committed to trusting my talent. I did, and despite these new physical roadblocks that were causing me to hit the ball 20-30 yards shorter, and some tough breaks the final day, I was able to adapt my game, trust my hands, and ultimately earned conditional status for the summer. Despite not earning guaranteed starts this summer (similarly to last year), the perseverance and grit that I showed during this event really proved to me what you are able to do when your mental energy is where you want it to be.
Now up to current events.
Two weeks ago I withdrew from the last 3 events of my spring schedule, made an early departure from Florida and returned home to Michigan. Unfortunately my hip pain has gotten to the point where I am unable to make full swings without extreme discomfort, and needed to return home to begin working with my team to find the best solutions to get me back on the course as soon as possible and hopefully prevent future injury.
What has made these physical problems the most frustrating is the fact that I am in such a great place mentally. I am mentally revving to go while my body is telling me no, which is unfamiliar waters for me. This being said, I feel incredibly fortunate that the first 26 years of my life playing sports were injury free, and I feel confident that if I keep working hard, I will be able to overcome these injuries, and when I do, it is going to be really exciting to see what I am able to achieve with this new mental approach. I am incredibly motivated to keep working as hard as I can and feel incredibly blessed to have the team of supporters that I do.
To those of you that have reached out to me this winter and continue to show your love and support, you really mean more than you could ever know.
Looking forward to working hard, trusting my process, and seeing where this road takes me.
All the best,