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Postcards from Parker
Thursday, February 5, 2009

Aloha from San Diego!

I just played in the FBR Open last week in Scottsdale, which is one of the most energetic tournaments on the Tour. There were about 200,000 fans in attendance! It is one of those rare events on the PGA Tour where the social aspect is more important than the actual tournament, from the fan perspective. In fact, they sold a shirt in the merchandise tent that said, "I showed up for the party and a golf tournament broke out!"

It also was great to be in Scottsdale and sleep in my own bed, cook my own food and have the home feeling that you don't have in a hotel. There were so many great people out at the course, but I was able to stay focused. I got in a different zone, blocked out the distractions, and was able to perform at my best. It felt like the more people that showed up, the more I was able to focus.

I had a solid week. After three tournaments this year, I'm feeling sharper with my game. I continue to learn from each passing week, and have been able to maximize on my rounds and not let the easy shots escape me.

The tournament was not only great for me, but my play really helped the "Birdies for Juniors" program. With each birdie I make, I donate $50 to the Hawai'i State Junior Golf Association, and Waikoloa Beach Resort matches that amount. Last week, I made 15 birdies and three eagles. Eagles count double, so my total through three tournaments is 42 birdies! That means Waikoloa Beach Resort and I have donated $4,200 so far!

Another unique aspect of the FBR Open was the 16th hole. It was fully enclosed with grandstands, with about 20,000 fans on that hole. It has been compared to the Roman Coliseum. It's quite a rush to stand on the tee and know that if you hit a great shot, you will be praised with cheers. But if you hit a bad shot, they will boo you all the way through. It can be intimidating, but I ended up making three pars and a birdie.

Aside from golf, my wife Kristy and I hosted a wine tasting event the Monday prior to the tournament in partnership with Destination Cellars. We invited about 15 Tour players and their wives, as well as several of our friends from Scottsdale. The wine was provided by an incredible vineyard in Napa, Calif., called Duck Horn Vineyard. It was a really exciting event, the first of several we'll be having this year. As I've gotten older, I have really started to enjoy and appreciate learning about wine and food pairings, as well as the art of wine-making. It has been fun to bring some of that to the Tour.

Now we're here in San Diego and I'm getting ready for this week's Buick Invitational. The South Course hosted the U.S. Open last year, so it will be interesting to see how the course plays. I'm looking forward to another good week and working hard to stay on top of my game.




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