I’ve been enjoying a long ride of exceptional health for the past four years. Since I started taking Protandim everyday in 2007 I haven’t experienced even a slight cold (www.protandim.com/radicalfree). My run ended last Sunday as i was playing in the Bay Regional at the beautiful Tilden Park golf course in the Berkeley Hills. Starting the day with a slim 1 shot lead, I was able to birdie the two toughest holes on the front nine, #1 and #7 to extend my lead to 3 shots. After a short miss for birdie on #8 I began to feel the beginnings of the Flu, with chills and aches throughout my body.
I am not going to totally blame the collapse on my fast approaching illness, as it’s was very similar to what happened at the Monterey City when I grabbed the lead on the last day with 8 holes to play, and then made three bogeys. The finish here in the Bay Regional was eerily similar, after losing the lead with bogeys on 9,10,11 I was able to birdie 15 and pull even with a par on the 16th hole. But after a poor drive on 17 resulting in another bogey I was 1 back going to the last hole, where the leader Chris Moreno-Hunt hit his approach to 1 foot and won by 2 shots.
Having now spend the week basically in bed, a week that was slated for serious physical training to prepare for the 3-36 hole day at Spyglass Hill in the NCGA Amateur. When comparing the physical challenge of the NCGA Amateur vs. the US Amateur there is no comparison. The US Amateur is spread out over 7 days – Mon/Tue the field starts with 312 players playing two courses Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf and CC outside of Milwaukee for the 64 match play spots. Wednesday, Aug 24 is the first round of match play, followed by two matches on Thursday to go from 32 to 16 and then 16 to the final 8 for single matches in Fridays quarterfinals and Saturdays semi-final matches. Sunday both finalists will know they will be receiving Masters invitations and a chance to win the National Championship over a 36 hole match.
The NCGA Amateur gets right after it over 5 days, with qualifying rounds this Monday and Tuesday taking the field of approx 120 players to 32 for match play starting on Wednesday. That’s when the fun begins, after winning a morning match you are treated with an afternoon match on this very difficult course to walk (virtually every green to next tee walk is uphill). After winning your afternoon round of 16 eight players remain for another EARLY morning match on Thursday, followed by the semi-finals in the afternoon. If your fortunate to have survived the 36/36 marathon on Wed and Thurs you are rewarded with yet another 36 hole match in the finals on Friday. It’s one thing to be 20 and play this much golf, but at 52 with pneumonia it’s going to be interesting and beyond a challenge.
But, that’s what I thought about playing 36 holes in the US Amateur qualifier after just getting back from the two Senior Opens. I haven’t touched a club in a week, and I’m not sure it’s the smartest thing to be playing in the NCGA Amateur with the US Amateur right after it. But the NCGA Amateur I have a much better chance of contending in vs the US Amateur where players like Patrick Cantlay would provide a fun and colossal challenge.
So here is my strategy, do everything I can over the next 24 hours to prepare myself mentally for the start of the Nor Cal Amateur. Since I cannot play today, I will play the course many times mentally in my mind in preparation of that tee shot down #1. Despite being in the Hospital yesterday with an IV of antibiotics and a 15 minute respirator session to open my lungs, I have to feel confident that I will start feeling better soon. The run of tournaments just doesn’t end with the US Amateur. After I arrive back I immediately head to Truckee for the US Mid Amateur qualifier at Martis Camp on the 29th, come back to the Bay Area to pack for Ireland to participate in the Carr Mara at County Sligo on the Olympic team.
That run down was to illustrate how important this week was for me to get healthy, rested, and prepare for the 36 hole walks at Spyglass. Since non of that prep occurred I will be relying on the mental side of the game, and hope the physical side improves with each day…..
The picture below is from yesterday in the Seton Hospital with two IV’s going to attack my walking pneumonia. So far lots of coughing and a little less fever…tee time 8:51 tomorrow on #1 at Spyglass…Stay tuned!!