Shell Houston Open - Review
My week in Houston was an eventful one; it was a bit like the Clint Eastwood movie “The Good the bad and the Ugly”. I played some good stuff during the week but I mixed it up with some poor shots and then some ugly ones on Sunday. It was a disappointing way to finish a tournament, especially when I was going out on Sunday with a chance to win. Even though I hadn’t quite played my best in the first three rounds I had managed to get myself into a decent position where I could win from if I had a good day on Sunday. However, I played poorly on Sunday and hit some very poor shots in the first six holes and dropped five shots. I couldn’t stop myself once I got going, it wasn’t until the eighth that I managed to settle down and get back to something resembling normal.
It was a bad round on Sunday and that’s what I have put it down too; these things can happen. It is tough when they do and you feel bad about it but there isn’t much you can do about it at the time. I kept grinding away all day and tried on every shot, I never gave up and that is the positive I can take away from the day and the week. I would love to be writing this and describing how I played great and shot a seven under par round to win but not this time, instead I shot five over and finished in a tie for 40th. It wasn’t what I wanted in terms of the result but I am able to look at it and see where I made some mistakes and what I did right.
Overall I did a lot of things right during the week, I spent a lot of time working on my routines and getting into my target. This sort of work is vital for every week but even more so for the majors; the work that I did here this week will stand me in good stead in Augusta. I will continue to work on this during the practice rounds next week but I have a good foundation from this week. I would like to be traveling to Augusta with the Shell Houston Open title but either way I do not feel that it will affect my chances in Augusta. I know what I have to work on to be ready for Thursday and as I think about it, if I had gone out and played well on Sunday and had a good finish then I probably wouldn’t be quite so clear about what I have to do.
Even though I finished poorly it was still great preparation for this week; the greens and the course were in immaculate condition and it was set up very similarly. Playing the Houston Open will definitely have helped me be ready for the first round of the Masters. I am feeling good about everything as I know what I have to do and I am looking forward it.
Shell Houston Open - Preview
This year I have changed my build up to the Masters; for the past few years I have played two tournaments before to get myself prepared. This year I am only playing one, the Shell Houston Open, as I am happy that I can get myself fully prepared in one week. I have played here in Houston ever since they moved it to the week before Augusta; it hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for me. Last year was my best finish and I think that was a top twenty. I suppose part of the reason for this is that I have been focused on the Masters while trying to play here.
I arrived here on Sunday evening; the great thing about this week and next is that my family are with me as it is the Easter holidays. As I have played here a number of times I know the course quite well so I haven’t gone mad practicing it, I have played 24 holes in total. Monday I didn’t play at all; I spent a few hours on the range working on my routines and focus. Tuesday I spent a good bit of time on the range trying out driver shafts and working on my mental game again. I played six holes in the afternoon once I had got everything done on the range and then Wednesday I played the pro-am and did some practice afterwards as I didn’t play to well. Normally I would play more holes on the practice days but I know this course well and I wanted to spend some time working on my routines as it is important that these are right for this week and next.
I am happy with the form that I am bringing with me; my last two tournaments I gave myself a chance to win. As always this is a tough week as you want to perform well and think only about this week but everywhere you turn people are asking about the Masters. It is hard for players not to think about it, we are generally trying out something that we feel will give us the edge and as this is the last week before The Masters we have to try it out here. I am conscious that this is a big tournament in its own right and I am doing my best to concentrate on this week and not get caught up in thinking about next week. I am here to try and win the Shell Houston Open; there would be no better preparation than that for the Masters. That said I may try a longer shaft in my driver at some stage during the week as I know that if I am to use it next week that I have to play it this week to get a feel for it. I have done this the last few years so it is nothing too new to me.
The course here at Redstone is in fantastic condition as always; it is definitely one of the best manicured courses of the year. The tournament does a great job of getting the course in a similar set up to Augusta; they are two very different courses but they do their best here to give a test something like we will have next week. All the areas around the greens are closely mown so that the ball will run off away from the green and the greens are kept at about 12 on the stimp.
Even though my past record is not great here I am still here to try and win the tournament. I am doing my best to put next week to the back of my mind and to stay focused on this week. I have done some good work on my mental game and my routines which I am confident will show up this week.