2016 Masters Preview

Masters week is here and for me, it’s one of the great weeks on the calendar. I look forward to that drive down Magnolia Lane every year and seeing the course and all the people who are such a part of Augusta National.

This year I’m coming in with a renewed hope and lots of good feelings. Last year, I had a lot going on off the course and my game wasn’t the best. But now I’m feeling good about where I am both personally and professionally.

I know my recent scores haven’t shown much reason to be optimistic but as bad as I’ve been scoring, I really feel that I’m not that far off. It seems that each week, I’m hitting two or three bad shots and then compounding the errors. If I can clean those up – and I think I can — I’m expecting things to get better very soon.

I’ve been putting in lots of work with David Leadbetter who is here with me this week. He probably knows my swing as well as anyone and he’s always been around, even when we weren’t formally working together.

Through our work, I feel as if things are starting to come together. Really what we’ve been working on is a swing that will work with the way my body now moves. Because of my injuries and surgeries, I can’t swing as I did in my prime. I used to like to cup my wrist to get the clubface in the right position at the top of the swing. I can’t do that any more so I’ve had to adjust and find a different way to get it done.

So my expectations this week are to play well. I want to keep showing progress with my game and I feel I can do that here.
There’s not a course anywhere that inspires me as much as Augusta National. To walk around here and play these holes and see the beauty of it, it’s hard not to feel good. And knowing what I was able to accomplish here also gives me confidence. I know the course, I know how to play it, where to hit the right shots and now it’s just a matter of getting it done.

One of the other things I’m doing here this week is joining TSN as part of its broadcast team. After my rounds I’ll be on the set with James Duthie and Bob Weeks to discuss the tournament and lend my knowledge. We’ll be on Sportscentre and on the pre-game shows.

I’m excited to do this. It’s a new challenge for me and a new direction. It’s sort of like when I started designing golf courses, something new that I’m looking forward to.

This week is also all about enjoying friends and tradition. Tuesday night I’ll be at the Champions Dinner to join all the other winners in our annual get-together. And I’ll also play in the par 3 contest, which is a great fun event before getting down to the serious business.
I have a good assortment of family and friends here too, which adds to the fun of the week. It helps to keep things in perspective and keep me loose.

This will be my 17th Masters and I’m as excited this year as I was my first. It’s one of the greatest weeks in golf and I don’t think that will ever change.

As always, thanks for your support!
Mike