"It was pretty crappy."
With those four words, D.A. Points summed up his attitude for 2011.
A strange comment for a man who won the AT&T Pebble Beach National ProAm and finished 27th in the 2011 FedExCup standings. Points won more than $2 million, but wasn't having fun except for that week on the Monterey Peninsula.
"I played with Bill Murray, and laughed the entire week," Point said. "Golf is suppose to be fun and I told myself [that] I was going to have that same attitude the rest of the year but it did not work out that way."
So it's back to an attitude adjustment this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it starts with marking the golf ball.
Points writes, "Please Have Fun" on his golf ball. Every time he places that ball on the tee, identifies it in the fairway or marks it on the green, those words slap him in the face as a reminder.
"Please Have Fun."
"I'm just trying to get into my head that if I have fun and don't get too worked up about missed shots or missed putts, my quality of life will be a lot better and I'll probably play better golf," Points said.
D.A. is also a more disciplined golfer in 2012.
"I have hired a new trainer, and I'm doing some more active warm-ups before I actually start to go to the range and then I really have broken it down by the minute to where I know that this time, I'm going to be on the putting green and do ten minutes of putting," Point said. "Then, I'll go to the chipping green and do ten minutes of chipping and the driving range for two minutes. It's the same every single day."
So far this year, Points has been been disciplined and having fun. He finished T12 at the Hyundai Tournament Of Champions and then followed up with a tie for sixth at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Points is 16th in FedExCup standings with more than $300,000 in earnings.
Points has been having fun, and it could continue this week at the Farmers Insurance Open. In each of the last two years, Bubba Watson and Ben Crane went on to win the tournament by leading in greens in regulation. Points is fifth on the PGA TOUR in greens in regulation this year, hitting 81.25 percent of the greens. He finished solo fifth at Torrey Pines last year after he shot 68-67 on the weekend.
Does he play well on the West Coast because of the courses, or because of his attitude?
"I do like the courses," Point said. "Torrey Pines is great with the views and the layout but I just feel fresh on the West Coast. I guess as the year plays out I tend to remember the bad shots and the frustration builds. I have a good attitude out there, early in the year. I need to keep that going all year."
IT'S IN THE GRASS: "Get ready for five weeks of poa." That's how one player described the West Coast segment of the PGA TOUR schedule. He's referring to the grass on the greens where several of the courses use poa annua. It is a rapidly-growing grass and the surface can change dramatically throughout the course of a round. Players with an aggressive putting stroke have the most success on poa annua greens.
Players were greeted with a different look at Torrey Pines this year. The courses have never looked greener thanks to a rye grass overseed in the rough. The grass also holds moisture very well, making the 3-4 inch rough play even tougher.
NEW TEES IN PLAY: There use to be a simple formula to win The Farmers Insurance Open. Go low on the easier North Course and then survive the South Course. That may no long apply. There are nine new tees on the North Course, making it play longer and more difficult. Both courses at Torrey Pines now have some bite.
WHO TO PICK?: How can you not pick Nick Watney this week? He won the tournament in 2009 and has four top-10 finishes in his last five starts. Watney is also a California native who is very familiar with poa annua greens. If you like a little longer odds, look for Brandt Snedeker to play well. He loves Torrey Pines, finishing in the top-10 three times. Snedeker also comes into the Famers Insurance Open with some momentum, having posted an eighth-place finish last week at the Humana Challenge presented by the Clinton Foundation.