Sacrifices pay off at U.S. Senior Open qualifier
30 Aug 2014
by Randy Haag

Golf can be a brutally revealing sport, when its going good, its bliss, but when your off, its a brutally difficult sport. For anyone still reading this bizarre golf blog, I appreciate your patience during my absence. I have been through quite a roller-coaster with my game. Many issues have gone into the steep decline in my performance, but this blog has never been about my performance, but more my experiences and preparation for attempting to play this game at the highest level possible.

Playing well for a long period of time will all come crashing down, if you do not put the time and effort into keeping, mentally, physically, and emotionally sharp. The desire to practice and compete need to be burning deep inside, and sacrifices need to be made. I basically just lost all of these aspects necessary to compete at a level that I desire to compete at. I started shooting scores in the 80’s on occasion, and didn’t ever grind out rounds, just wanting to quit and walk off the course.

My recent trip to the UK was a disaster, I only managed to play 9 holes in the Senior Open (a tournament that I have qualified for 4 times and have made the cut three times) My back gave out after nine holes, which probably was more a result of the 42 I shot on the front nine holes. During my three practice rounds I was golden, and anticipated a good round in the qualifier. But the lack of getting off to a good start really in any event, has me in a tail spin. This blunder was followed by another poor performance in the British Senior Amateur at Ganton. Although my clubs got lost for three days, I cannot use that as an excuse to shoot an 84 in the first round, followed by a 76 for a 160 total. I did make the cut and had a chance to shoot a final round 80. Although this may have been the hardest course I’ve ever played (next to Oakmont in the 2003 US Amateur) I normally like the tougher venues, and feel they play to my advantage.

Everything about my game has been weak in competition, poor driving, iron shots, chip shots, and poor putting. Each putt I am not sure if I will hit it with my eyes closed or open. Finally I just decided that this 3 year slide needs to come to and end, and I should either quit competitive golf and all the frustration, or get back to what once worked before. What worked before was simple, I was confident.

A few weeks ago, I played a round with a good buddy of mine Stan Morrison. We played the Olympic Club Lake course from the tips, and after nine holes I decided that I had enough of the sloppy focus, and pitiful play. On the back I made a purposeful effort to focus, visualize, and extract the putting issues. I played solid, and carried it into Monday’s USGA Senior Amateur qualifier, where standing on the 17th tee I stood 7-under, a career best in a USGA event. I didn’t finish strong, but still shot a solid 66, and was low by 3 shots.

Read full blog post at http://www.randyhaag.com

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