I cannot believe our off-season is over. I feel like we just finished our fed-ex cup run after missing the cut at the Deutsche Bank in early September and all of a sudden we are on a plane heading for Honolulu for the Sony Open to begin the next season. 2012 really went by in a blur with Michael having some great finishes this year and maintaining his card again for the second year in a row. He also finished higher on the money list at 60 (compared to 98 in 2011), an important feat because it ensures that he will play in all the invitational tournaments this year without having to qualify or get a sponsor exemption (top 70 from the previous year’s list receives this exemption).
The 2013 year already proves to be an interesting one. First off, I am not exactly sure if the season has even started yet with the debacle going on in Kapalua at the Tournament of Champions. I guess they did finally finish the tournament today, but now all those players who are playing this week have to hightail it over here to Oahu and get ready for the Sony. Aside from the fact that all those players won last year, I don’t envy them one bit having to play 7 rounds in 6 days to start the season. I thought they were done with Q-School.
The new season also brings a new format to the PGA Tour schedule. Instead of the season ending with the Fall Series, the season will now end at the Tour Championship in the middle of September, meaning that if you make it into the Fed-ex cup, you keep your tour card for next year. The Fall Series will now be the start of the 2014 season in October, beginning with the Frys.com open in California, followed by the JT Shriners in Vegas, 2 tournaments in Asia, the Mcgladrey in Georgia, and the Mayakoba tournament down in Mexico. Then we take a 6 week break for the holidays (or those of us who want some semblance of an offseason take a break) and start up again in Hawaii in 2014. Now you see why getting into all the invitationals is such a great accomplishment...it means he has more chances to play to be able to make enough money to keep his card during this shortened season.
As predicted, our off-season was action packed. In October we bought a house. Actually, in a span of a week (from starting to look to putting in an offer to having the offer accepted) we bought a house. Our crazy schedule doesn’t afford us the luxury to waffle over our decisions so we are so thankful that God provided the perfect house at exactly the time we needed it (the house had only been on the market 3 weeks). We closed on it in November and moved all the contents of our measly apartment into our mammoth new home. We knew we would need more furniture, and have been using a wonderful decorator to help us furnish it, but I have been told that furnishing and decorating the house will take a really long time. As someone who planned a wedding by herself in under 5 months, I can tell you that I will not be taking too much time with all this. Hopefully we will be done by the end of the year.
The biggest thing I’ve noticed about having a large house is the amount of toilet paper we go through. I don’t really understand it because there are still only two people living there (and a cat who we haven’t potty trained to my knowledge), so we shouldn’t be using any more than normal. In our apartment, I would buy one 24 pack to last us the year. It was amazing. But I feel like we have gone through an entire pack in a span of 3 months. Someone please explain this to me.
In addition to home buying, our off-season consisted of what I will affectionately call “Financial Rehab”. Michael and I must not be very good at being adults because apparently we were missing a lot of the important components of normal adult life. Our rehab plan involved setting up lots of different insurances, creating wills, opening retirement plans, hiring a new accountant, opening and closing accounts, and becoming incorporated. That is right! Michael Thompson Golf LLC is now a business by which I am employed. Apparently I am the Vice President, Secretary, Personal Assistant, Bookkeeper, Travel Agent, Payroll Coordinator, Bill Payer, Ticket Liaison, Physical Therapist, Psychiatrist, Janitor, and Chef. We haven’t negotiated a salary yet, but I don’t think I can ask for nights and weekends off. Maybe if I make my Baked Ziti it’ll sweeten the deal.
We also had a team meeting in the beginning of December bringing all the members of our Michael Thompson Golf team together, including Michael and his VP etc (in case you forgot...that’s me) our coach, caddy, trainer, agent, and newly hired financial advisor (hence the aforementioned financial rehab). We discussed the current state of our business and our goals for the 2013 season and beyond. It was an idea we got from some of the other players on tour and it turned out to be great! I think everyone feels a lot more comfortable talking to each other now about how to make our business thrive.
We spent Christmas in Tucson, AZ with Michael’s parents, his brother and sister-in law, and his sister, brother-in-law and their kids. I haven’t had a Christmas with little kids in a long time; I almost forgot about believing in Santa! It was fun opening stockings and gifts on Christmas morning with so many people and so many gifts to open, and of course dinner was amazing. Next year we can't wait to spend all the holidays in our new house! God truly blessed us with such a wonderful family and we were so blessed to be able to spend Christmas with them when we know so many others don’t have that luxury.
Immediately after Christmas, Michael and his friend Ben went on a hunting trip in Arkansas. Michael has become truly Alabamaized with his new found love of hunting. He has the camo hat, the fleece vest, the beard, the boots, and the guns to prove it. They went duck hunting and Michael shot 5 ducks (he thinks), bringing home a bunch of duck meat that we cooked for a dinner party of 7 last week. It was cool to cook something we killed ourselves instead of from the grocery store. And of course I am super excited about the Mallard and Drake Widgeon we are having stuffed and mounted to put on our walls (insert sarcastic eye roll). I am sure we will find the perfect place on the wall for them...when we finish the basement someday.
And so another PGA season is upon us. We feel much more in control of our situation now that we have a house to come home to and have completed our financial rehab (for now). We are so excited to get back on the road and see what this year brings. I have started a daily devotional called Jesus Calling, which is a book with daily readings and bible verses that I do every morning. It helps me connect with God more than I have been in the past and really helps me have peace with the uncertainty of this nation’s future. Today’s reading was all about not worrying about anything, but viewing your difficulties as just setting the scene for God’s awesome power to show through. Past readings encouraged me to have complete dependance on God in every area of my life. With the uncertainty of how this season will go, and of how the state of the nation will change, I realize that if I just leave it up to God’s plan and not try to figure everything out, I know that it will all turn out for our benefit, even if it means we have to struggle (for with struggles comes growth beyond what our successes would bring). I know God has an awesome plan for us this year and hope we can remember him and praise him in all circumstances this year and always. I hope your 2013 is blessed and pray that you may continue to grow in your relationship with God.
PS I almost got away without mentioning the Alabama dominance last night as they beat Notre Dame to win their 15th national football championship in highly convincing style. I am so thankful they won because it means a happy husband!