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Daniel - Poker Journal

I blew it!

14 May 2008

So today was the World Series of Golf and I drew a pretty decent group for me, longer hitter (no surprise) but I felt like if I bide my time the right situation would come up. It worked out perfect, except that I forgot to execute something I'd get right 95 out of 100 times at least. Here's how it went down:

Hole 1: One guy in our group hit it a mile. I knew I'd have to fold no matter what I did, so I ended up duffing a shot off the tee. Not on purpose, but I knew it wouldn't cost me. Allen Cunningham called the guys bet of 300 into a 400 pot and the other guy folded.
The other guy hit his to the fringe and Allen was behind him on a hill in the rough. The other guy made a good bet of 300, and Allen called. Allen duffed his chip and the guy won the hole after putting it close and betting.

Hole 2: I hit a playable drive that went through the fairway and landed a bit of rough. Allen crushed his ball and was 60 yards out. One guy was in the rocks and me and the other guy were both about 120 yards out. I figured Allen was going to bet 400 which would make me fold anyway, but instead he fired 1000. Had he bet 400 the other guy may have called, but instead all folded.

Hole 3: A par 5 and I hit mine pretty good. Allen was in the rocks and the other two guys were in the fairway about 20 yards ahead of me. It was abet of 400 and a raise to 800, I folded once again leaving myself with 9700 of my 10,000 in chips and yet to hit anything but a drive.

Hole 4: A par 3, Allen was the only player on the green with a putt for birdie from about 14 feet. I was short of the green and the other two guys would also be chipping from the rough. With 800 in the pot and Allen having half the pot totally locked up, a good bet would have been about 400. That may have enticed one of us to tie the hole if Allen two putt from 14 feet. Instead, Allen bet 2500! It was mind boggling and made no sense. Mathematically he was essentially free rolling... but chose not to? Nevertheless, Allen was hitting the ball well and that kept him in the game. It certainly wasn't his betting amounts!

Hole 5: A 380 yard par 4. Knowing I needed to hit a good one to play after the tee shot I hit a nice draw on a dog leg left and left myself about 140 yards to the pin. One guy hit it super short, the other guy hit it to 170 yards out, and Allen's ball fell into the 150 marker which allowed him to get a free drop in the rough. Surprisingly, the guy from 170 yards bet 300 into an 800 put and I knew he was looking for a cheap draw at it, so in the best position, I raised to 1100. Allen called and the bettor folded.
I had position on Allen from here on out which is very advantageous. He hit his ball right, missing the green and leaving himself a tough chip over a ridge. I hit mine pretty straight, but hit a bad one and ended up short of the green but with a totally unobstructed chip to the hole. It was downwind, but chipping and putting is the best part of my game so I felt like it was in the bag at this point. With some money already out there, I decided to protect it and move all in. I was not all that surprised to see Allen call and was extremely happy about it figuring I was a big favorite to double up, especially when his chip hit the ridge and barely skated onto the green leaving him a long putt.
All I had to go was get up and down for an easy double up. I hit my chip thin, the wind got a hold of it, and it rolled off the back of the green! What am I doing! Allen missed his putt leaving himself a 3 foot putt or so. I had to chip AGAIN, and this time did a little better, getting it right on line but still 4 feet short. I felt like I escaped danger there, we'd both knock our putts in and move on to the next hole.
Allen made his, a bit of a breaking putt, and I had the easiest putt imaginable, straight up hill. Problem is, I hadn't hit a putt in like an hour! This was the first hole I'd played, and each hole takes a long time which takes you out of any kind of a rhythm. Not only that, Allen had Melissa Hayden with him on the course, and she had me on tilt even before I teed off!
So, a putt I just never miss, goes right as I push it! Totally insane. I put my money in so good and then totally blew it. At the time of the bet, I think I was about a 5-1 favorite to win vs lose. A tie would have been Ok, but still disappointing.
I did everything right betting wise, but simply didn't execute. Allen bet his holes like an absolute donkey, but he actually hit the ball good and won the holes he needed to.
I seriously could not have drew it up any better for me, so to blow it was really annoying. I still can't believe the parlay: me thinning the chip AND missing a 4 foot putt to lose! Wow, no one to blame but myself.

*****************************************************************

So now that the tournament is over, me and my new coach headed to Summerlin to fix some of the holes in my swing. We started with my nemesis, a ridiculously inconsistent grip. We worked on grip and ball position, and that's it for the day. He says it should take a week or so to get used to the new grip. The changes were significant:
First of all, we started with the left hand and changed where the club lies in my hand. I'd been using a distance grip, putting the club along the pads of my fingers. We changed that, starting on the one pad, but then going diagonal from there so that I could get my left hand over the top of the club more. Enough so I could see two knuckles. I used to only really see one. Next, we got my left thumb closer to my hand, it was separated before. Then resting my thumb barely to the right side of the club.
That all didn't seem to different from my previous grip and seemed comfortable. What we did with the right hand is a completely different story. I used to grab in deep into my fingers and then try to turn my rand hand over to the left.
Now, with just my two middle fingers wrapped around the shaft, my right thumb laid just to the left of the shaft, much more on top of the club than before. The next part is what totally threw me and felt totally awkward. He had me separate my trigger finger from my other fingers and hook it around the club. Felt totally wrong, but it's supposed to if you are making successful changes.
The result: I hit the ball twice as high, literally. Distance is the same, but the ball lands much softer.
That's my homework for the week, getting used to the grip and then we go from there. I'll likely play worse for a while, but it should be worth it in the end.

In the meantime, I'm playing in a fun scramble with some friends on the 17th, and then I fly to Costa Rica on the 18th. I plan on logging a decent amount of hours online, practicing my new grip, and trying to get stronger. I just love May... how did I screw that up? I'll get over it, in like 20 years or so, lol.

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