Hello, I’m in the Charlotte airport very glad to be headed home to see my family after a fun filled week at Cap Cana, which is probably the prettiest place in the world, and for sure the sunniest, most intense sun on earth. I stayed on the La Cana golf course at the Punta Cana resort, which PB Dye designed and built, in addition to the tournament course this week was very scenic and close to the ocean. La Cana’s 17 and 18 holes were right on the ocean and the drop to the surf is only a few feet, in which you can actually walk into the water. Completely breathtaking vistas from the course keep your mind occupied with its sheer beauty.
The President of the Dominican Republic committed to keep the Champions Tour at Cap Cana for another two years, which is really great news for us, because we continue to play Punta Espada, a Jack Nicklaus design with 9 holes directly next to the Atlantic Ocean. I personally love the course, due to its many challenging holes that require a player to drive the ball well and putting is very challenging around the greens that are very undulated and very” grainie.”
Jeff Neal the Director of Golf for the Punta Cana took very good care of me giving me the VIP treatment, which means I was wisked through the airport without any undo stopping at customs and driving me directly to my house that a member made available to me because of Jeff’s encouragement. One thing that I was telling my wife, after growing up in a large family it’s really hard to stare at four walls without any interaction with people. I enjoy my stay much more when I’m in a neighborhood where there are events and parties to attend during the week. For instance this past Thursday Jeff and I played Corrales with Jeff’s Father In Law and we had a great round of golf which lead to a great Italian feast in the Village with their wives and the food was outstanding. I even felt really at home because I had a skirt steak and French fries which is one of my family’s favorite Mid-Western meals. I could even see my son Carl so happy because it was cooked just the way he likes it, and the fries were perfect.
Another great day was after my Saturday round which wasn’t so great with a 75, PB Dye took me out to the Hacienda Golf Course to show me his latest works of art, and how he puts his blood, sweat, and tears into his latest construction project. I was astonished at what a wonderful masterpiece he is creating, and all the personal information as to how he creates the course. PB is truly one of a kind, with his unique vision and ability to move dirt and give his personal touch to every hole. Jeanie, PB’s wife, fixed a great vegetable lasagna, because it was Friday during Lent. I had three helpings of this delicious dish along with two big helping of salad straight from their garden out back. I was so happy to also have iced green tea that tasted like it was brewed by the sun. What a great way to turn a 75 into a wonderful day. Also, Jeanie is president of Dominica Orphanage & School that has taken 90 new children in that lost their families during the tragedy in Haiti. I’ve already corralled my little girl Annie to raise money for this great cause. PB is also pitching with me to do a special event during the year at one of his courses to raise money for these special children. PB and Jeanie are so wonderful in opening up their home and lives to me I felt a deep sense of purpose to do something along with them to help “their children.” Having no children of their own, their home upstairs will comfortably sleep 40 children under a traditional Dominican thatch roofed room that is open to the Atlantic Ocean breezes, which actually felt like I was in heaven it was so comfortable.
Back to the golf, I started of my tournament with a great round of 66, birdying the final four holes. The work with Dr. Craig Farnsworth really is starting to pay off, and I can’t thank him enough for helping me putt better than I have in about three years. Over all my performance was a good start. I feel that my putting was better than I have done in many years as I mentioned, because I was making more ten footers. Being able to sink the putts around six to ten feet is the key to playing good golf. Occasionally making the thirty footer makes for winning tournaments. So my hope is high as I got my year off to a good start. My ball striking was excellent for most of the week, and today my back nine I missed a drive and a three wood shot that cost me two shots each. This is very unusual for me, and most of the week including practice my driving and iron play was up to par.
What I’m taking from the week is a calmness that will translate into better scoring, because nothing bothered me all week, and I wasn’t stressed about playing my best. I felt confident and look forward to getting in the game a little more. It was sure nice to play again after about five months of not playing a tournament. My determination was strong, I was resilient, and poised very well for a great tournament. This didn’t happen this week, however, I’m hopeful that my next tournament at the Outback Steakhouse will be even more successful.
This week is filled with so much family outings that I’m looking forward to spending some time with each and every one of my children. Mary Catherine is coming home for Easter which will be a treat for the whole family. North Carolina has been a real blessing for her as she continues to grow and enjoy her college experience. I’m sure I’ll catch Carl playing his guitar at some gig, and as always John and Annie will be up to competing in something. So until next week, all the best for a blessed Easter week.