The last four weeks have been mixed, plenty of good stuff but just enough bad to keep me guessing, on and off the golf course. Emotions have been high but I can see plenty of positive things from my week in Portugal and after a week with the family practising, I’m very optimistic going into the last three events of the ‘regular’ season.
Golf is a crazy game, it only takes one good week at the right time to make it an amazing year, and the frustrating thing is a lot of players make a lot of money and have plenty of success by being very good a few times a year, but at times being very average or even poor!!
It works something like most guys make most of their money in 3-4 events a year!
Miss five cuts then win in this game and you get a lot more from it than finishing 20th 6 times in a row.
Over the last two seasons I’ve had a pretty high % of making cuts, and this year it’s been far from it! I’m always asking questions of myself and where I can improve and at times it’s felt so close.
But when I’ve been good I’ve not been good enough for four days (bar Dubai) and I’ve certainly played a lot more inconsistent golf throughout the year.
It feels a long time ago now but I think I missed the cut in Crans Montana by a few shots, that was frustrating. It’s a course I feel suits me more than most as it’s quite tricky and of course it’s an amazing place to spend a full week and not be going home early!!
But the one benefit to missing a cut sometimes is that you get to share some special moments with family. Laura was chief bridesmaid that weekend and I got back in time to be with her for her best friend’s wedding.
It’s amazing sometimes how quick and easy you can get back home from wherever you are in the world when the travel plans work out, and thankfully on this occasion cheaply too.
The following week I was back out to The Netherlands for the KLM Open, an event I’d previously done well in (T8th in 2016). I really like the course at The Dutch and felt with some fine tuning from my coach Mark during the start up to the week, I was ready for a positive tournament.
I got it going ok, was never in the mix for the tournament, but was cruising along to make the cut. I guess I’ve been fragile to mistakes over the year as I’ve been battling cut lines a lot but I hit plenty of good shots throughout the second round.
But down the back nine I didn’t convert my good chances, and then didn’t take advantage of the easy par 5 6th. From there I made a shocking bogey down the 7th and from there my mental state left me.
I was emotional, very frustrated with my performance, and extremely disappointed and I know Steve was too, I could see it in his eyes; he’s wants it for me as much as he does for himself, he’s one of my best mates!!!
And that makes it tough for us both.
That evening we made the decision to go our separate ways professionally, as a caddie and player you probably spend more time together than you do with your wife, and I think for us we will both come out the other side better for it!!
I’m already looking forward to going out for dinner together on Tour and not having to discuss our performance on the golf course that day!!
Steve knows I can’t thank him enough for everything he has ever done on and off the course!!
I flew back the following day and Laura met me at the airport with a little surprise visitor – my youngest, Olivia, wanted to collect Daddy from the airport, so we had chatterbox in the car on the way home!!
It’s amazing how easily golf can be forgotten when you’re around your children, they really don’t care if you’ve played well or not, Olivia just wants to play Paw Patrol, and Jess just wants to show me her wobbly teeth!!
Seeing them is better than missing or making any cut!!
So it was a day to re-set at home, re-pack, find a caddy…and then head on down to Portugal with the kids for the sixth tournament in a row; it’s sure been a long stretch.
It’s always a bit of a birdie tournament in Portugal, low cut, big fairways, big greens, and not really anywhere to lose a ball. The rough was longer and more consistent this year but you could still find it and 90% of the time get it somewhere near the green.
I expected low scores again…and we certainly got them with Oliver Fisher shooting the first European Tour 59, (-12) what an achievement!!!!
Round one I got off to a nice start, I was six under playing my last hole, the 9th, and with a bit of misfortune behind the only tree just off the fairway, I unfortunately made double bogey to shoot 67.
I wasn’t too disheartened though as I played some lovely stuff and I seemed to gel pretty quickly with my new appointment on the bag – Cyril.
Day two I hung in there, it wasn’t my day but after a full day of waiting to see if I made the cut and having Jess ask all afternoon if she was going to Crèche at the weekend, we finally got the msg to say I was teeing it up Saturday and more importantly Jess got to see her Tour friends in Crèche!!
Over the weekend I shot level par for two days (71, 71) I made the third round cut (due to excess numbers) but finished 70th and probably cleared enough money to get the bus back home – ha ha!
It’s a step forward though, I was happy with my golf and my attitude, I sure felt more relaxed down the closing holes and after looking through my mistakes for the week they really were minimal and consistent, I just didn’t capitalise on enough of the good stuff!!
But maybe I will at the Dunhill…who knows, that’s just golf!!!!!!