Australia is a bloody long way away!!!
Sunday night, after the UBS HK Open, I flew from Hong Kong down to Melbourne, past my intended destination of Brisbane, then after a quick pit stop flew back up to the Gold Coast and landed in Brisbane around lunch time Monday!
And by quick pit stop I mean sprinting through the airport to catch the connecting flight with ten minutes to spare!
Another few hours of time difference to contend with this week, along with what felt like a crazy humidity, more grainy greens and plenty of Aussie players in fine form, as they have just come off the back of their two biggest events which then concluded last week with their final event – the Australian PGA Championship!
I actually played this event two years ago in my first European Tour year, when the greens had just been re-laid and redesigned and with the seriously strong winds it was too crazy!
I shot something like 81-71 to miss the cut by one shot!
The greens have had two years to settle, bed in and are now a lot softer and much more playable.
But if you watched any of the coverage on TV then you would know what I mean when I say they look like a jigsaw puzzle!
Apparently the greens were laid at different times, hence the grain is all over the place and you actually could have a putt from 50ft and the grain would change direction 10 times!!
My last putt of the tournament I was determined to hole… I had a 7ft birdie putt on the 9th to finish.
Easy read left edge, but the grain was strong off the right, so to adjust for that I decided to hit the putt straight!
Everything felt good, I believe I hit a nice putt, the pace was good and it still missed left on a left to right putt!! Sometimes grain can be extremely frustrating to deal with!!
And that was a shame to not sign off 2017 with a birdie!!!!!!
So after arriving Monday after not much sleep on a night flight, I still wanted to do some practice, just some short game and some putting!
But WOW it was hot!! Just so humid, you were sweating doing nothing, so as soon as you started to practise you were wet through! A pretty horrible feeling sometimes trying to peel your shirt off your arms before hitting shots etc – or having to wipe dripping sweat off your brow whilst you’re over a putt!
Throughout the week I slept pretty good on the new Aussie time zone, you end up forcing yourself to stay awake, going to bed really tired but then not wanting to wake up.
In Brisbane they don’t change the clocks like other states do, so it’s broad daylight around 4.30am and already super hot!!! Hence the 6am first tee times each day!
I was setting my alarm a few mornings for 4am, waking up and speaking to the family before they went to bed and then I headed off to the golf course! Quite surreal, really!
It makes the time away feel even longer, as you don’t get the quality opportunities to speak with them which you normally do in Europe!
I also played the pro-am this week, played with three nice guys, one of them being Sergio’s manager, so heard some fascinating stories from the golf world. He was in charge of Adidas/Marketing for a long time and signed Garcia, Rose, Poulter, Kaymer to the brand before leaving five years ago and setting up his own management group, taking Sergio on board!
The first two days I continued some good golf from Hong Kong and my stats into the greens for two days were fantastic! The new Callaway irons have certainly warranted their place in the bag so far.
I ended up shooting 71, 71 for a -2 total and made the cut by a shot! The scoring was pretty good, and I watched a short game master class for two days from Adam Bland, who was leading the Tournament on 10 under!
In fact I’m pretty sure the top 20 was pretty much an Australian leader board bar possibly Garcia…which surely shows the home advantage!
It’s definitely a similar scenario to the events in South Africa when they tend to dominate.
Anyway, it’s the second event of the 2018 season and two cuts made with plenty of positive signs.
Again, though, the weekend wasn’t to be and it felt like a horrible Saturday with nothing feeling good and everything going wrong!
I shot 75 (+3) playing bad and the strange thing about golf is I played quite nicely Sunday and only beat my score by one, shooting 74 (+2).
Result = T62nd (+3) 71, 71, 75, 74 – 291
Here’s my tweet following round 4….
So that’s it for the 2017 calendar year and it’s now time to take a break and feel fresh ready for the start of 2018!!
I’m really looking forward to some time off, but at the same time excited for what 2018 may hold!!
But first this mammoth journey home awaits me!!!!
Brisbane – Melbourne (2 hour ✈️)
• 2 hour lay over
Melbourne – Hong Kong (9 hour ✈️)
• 6 hour lay over
Kong Kong – Heathrow (9 hour ✈️)
• 2 hour lay over
Heathrow – Madrid (3 hour ✈️)
• 2 hour lay over
Madrid – Malaga (1 hour ✈️)
• 1 hour
24 hours flying, 12 hours waiting and then the final drive home to top it off!
37 hours door to door if no problems or delays is some going…and going back to the opening line of the blog…Australia is a bloody long way away!!!
“Put a fork in me, I’m done”.
Over and out guys, see you in 2018! Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas!
2018 early schedule:
18th Jan – Abu Dhabi Championship
25th Jan – Dubai Desert Classic
1st Feb – Malaysia
Best wishes to you all.