I've always loved the work.
Let me add two points of emphasis: I've always loved the work.
I stand by that idea, loving the work. I think it's the key to whatever success you think you want. I'm not saying you have to do it all with a smile on your face. I feel free out there on the green, I’m loving what I do. And if I love what I do, I’m going to do it well. But love is an action verb, a word of action, not just some vague term to be thrown around. This idea, in my opinion, applies to your work.
This is true even if you don’t know when you’re going to be allowed to apply that ‘work’ in a real-life setting. The break we had this past year, definitely tested all of the players on the PGA Tour and all the other tours of the world. The reality of it was, everything flattened out. There was no momentum for anyone; everyone had to recalibrate.
Simultaneously, the time off, with COVID-19 devastating the world, made me love the game of golf even more. It's also made me more appreciative of the fact, the sheer notion, that I get to play a game for a living. Believe me when I tell you that fact isn't lost upon me, especially right now.
It had been a tough season or two for me, trying to get back to my game, or back to what I know it can be. I just had to decompress, give my mind a break. I worked on my swing, got back into the gym and put in the work.
I'm not here to hide behind any platitudes and "you can do it"-isms; my recent struggles have been well documented. Like most people, I'm sure, the break from the game helped me reset my thought process, to adjust. That’s what the great athletes do. Last weekend, I had the one-footer to win. In that very moment, it felt like me. Like it was normal and where I’m supposed to be. This is who I am.
Everything I've done has been funneled into that particular goal of being a great athlete, but I'm still learning. I know that even with my past struggles on tour, I don't have to go far back to recall and recognize what I'm capable of, at my best. But I don't dwell too much on that past, only the lessons. At this point, there’s no need - we’re all starting over.
I also remember that I'm only 27. I have decades in this sport if I put in the work I've always have. I can't make the golf hall of fame in a single tournament, or a good month, or a good season. You have to be in this for the long haul.
The thing is: that intense love is still there; that burning fire has never ceased. I still wake up and fall asleep thinking about my game. A poor stretch will neither confirm nor define my career. I have to continue to push myself. I can't forget about my goals. Being a golfer, a competitor, is part of my purpose, part of my DNA.
Our last season had been flipped on its head, so it was hard to prepare for what was going to happen next for the PGA Tour. Of course, we are, and have been, moving along to the guidance of health experts. Having the opportunity to play this past fall, showed me the meaning of coming through to the other side of this ongoing pandemic.
There will be a new normal for most of us. I don't have all the answers by any means, but I just want to use golf somehow, to be a positive part of that process. I'm going to continue to put in the necessary work in my pursuit of greatness. I like the progress I’ve made and I feel like I’m working towards the right direction.