My experience on the first two episodes was something I will never forget. I almost instantly made relationships I will cherish for the rest of my life. Oren, Piri, Will, David, Russell and John, I consider to be good friends. There is nothing I wouldn't do for those guys, and as shown in the second episode, I guess that includes making a seven out of a green-side bunker! I do want to say that everyone on the show has enormous talent on and off the golf course and I truly believe they all will be successful in whatever endeavor they decide to pursue. I had a lot of questions about Justin, and it seemed like we were matched up against each other quite a bit. I will say my initial impression of him was probably the same as the viewers’ impression: cocky and arrogant with a chip on his shoulder. However, as I got to know him I realized he too is a great guy -- just a bit over competitive at times – but who can blame a man for that. It was a lot of fun beating him in the first episode, but he got his revenge in the second.
I was excited for the wall challenge as that, along with the glass break, were my favorite challenges. I do feel that the later number you drew, the bigger the advantage you had. I felt like I hit a pretty good flop, but as I said in the show, adrenaline must have been a factor. Shank and I looked like we were trying to hit the ball over the empire state building, where the later competitors were able to use finesse and hit really quality shots. It was awesome to see Will hole it out, he was my roomie on the show and we became very close. If I wasn't going to win he was the man I was rooting for. Not being in the top four obviously hurt but with as much money as I had, the elimination challenge was never in my mind, even after losing to Justin.
Oh yeah, about the shot I hit in that head-to-head, wow was it bad. I struggled with my confidence the whole show. I was trying to hit old faithful cut up there and hit the worst double cross maybe ever and found out I was going to elimination.
As far as 'relaxing' during the competition, I felt it was important. My nerves were really high along with my anxiety, a lot to do with my lack of confidence. So I figured slow the heart rate down, enjoy the cool California breeze and get some rest. The days were long and sleep was short, so I felt anytime I had to recharge the batteries I should take advantage, and I did. It was not a sign of not caring, or being disinterested. It was quite the opposite. I was trying to get my mind and body right. Then, into the elimination challenge with two of my boys. I started off perfect and gained a 1.5 shot lead over Oren and a 2.5 shot lead over Russell. My mistake obviously on the bunker shot was not getting it out. In retrospect, I could have taken a two-shot penalty, taken the ball out of the bunker, got down in three and still advance. My thought process was not to blade it after I watched Oren hit it thin. Just go out there and do what I know how to do and get up and down. After the shank the rest was pretty much a blur, my body was numb and I had to muster everything inside of me to bounce back. I still had hope of holing the last shot and thought to myself wouldn't this be great for TV. It didn't happen and I was on my way home, embarrassed , upset, angry etc. But for those of us who have the fortune of playing golf long enough this sort of thing happens. It was hard saying goodbye to all the remaining people, but I was able to give Will some pullovers to wear the rest of the show, to keep a piece of me alive. Will is an extraordinary human being and will be a friend for life and as I said before, so will many of the others, I just wish I performed well enough to spend some more time competing against them.