It hasnt been an easy road since I turned professional in 2004, but throughout it all I have had a great support team (my family, friends, coach and manager) beside me. They are the people who believed in me no matter what and encouraged and supported me without hesitation and the success I have had this year is as much theirs as it is mine. Looking back on the past three years I realize I needed that time to learn about myself and exactly what it takes to compete at the top level. Hopefully all the ups and downs and highs and lows I have experienced have made me ready for this new stage in my career and I cant wait to get to the first tee on Thursday.
My year on the Nationwide Tour has been amazing. I had joked late last year to my caddy that I could win three times this year but to actually do it, is surreal. I dont think people realize how tough the competition is on the Nationwide Tour and that there are so many great golfers on that tour. To win three times against them you have to have a certain amount of luck go your way and it could just as easy to have been one of them as it is me. But Ill take it no problem!
I learned a lot from last year on the road and I reassessed my scheduling this year and I seem to have found the right formula that works for me. I have found a way to keep fresh and not wear my body out, which is to play no more than three or four events in a row. As it has worked so well for me so far, I will maintain the same formula through the Fall Series on the PGA TOUR. I intend on playing the first three events, having a week off, and then playing the next two which leads into the Childrens Miracle Network Classic. But that PGA TOUR event is up against the Nationwide Tour Championship, and while I would really love to play both events, I am leaning towards the Nationwide Tour Championship, so I can finish my year off amongst the many friends I have made there and have one last chance at the No.1 position on the money list.
My goal for 2008 is to work my way into the top 50 on the world rankings and everything else from there will hopefully take care of itself. I look at the next seven weeks as a time when I have a free run, I have no pressure to make the allotted number for my card, I can use it as a time to learn about the differences between the Nationwide Tour and the PGA TOUR and become acquainted with the new surroundings which should make my debut next year that much easier. If I do that, then hopefully I can perform well enough to make a progression up the world rankings and earn a little of extra cash for Christmas.
I have been at home in Australia for just over two weeks. I love going home as much as possible. I had the chance to catch up with everyone and have a little R and R. There was a lot of media attention and I was the special guest of the Australasian PGA Tour at the launch of their summer of golf.
I began my preparation for my first event practicing at my home club of Concord in Sydney. This is the equivalent of a private country club here in the States. They invited me to play in the members competition on the Wednesday and invited everyone to stay on for congratulatory drinks and nibbles afterwards. It was great to revisit a place that I spent a great deal of time at during my amateur days and somewhere which gave me so many opportunities to develop my game.
I returned to the States on Friday and flew straight to Orlando where I met up with my coach Steve Bann. Steve also coaches Stuart Appleby and I spent the weekend staying at Stuarts house and practicing at Isleworth.
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