St.Jude Classic - Review
I went to Memphis apprehensive about my knee; having not played golf for the last two weeks I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had no problems with my knee all week; not playing the pro-am was definitely the right thing to do as it gave it an extra day to recover. I iced my knee after every round and also during the evening which kept the swelling at bay. I was delighted with how it held up and how it felt at the end of the week.
Having got the worry of my knee out the way it was only my golf to think about. I opened up with a five under par round which was a little unexpected as it had been a couple of weeks since I played. I played very nicely and putted well - on this course anytime that you break par it is a good round! There is definitely an advantage to playing in the morning as it is not quite as windy as the afternoon and the greens are a bit more receptive. This however was to be my best round by a long way, I shot four over in the second round and then one over and three over on the weekend. Having opened up with such a good round it was disappointing to shoot the other scores. My opening round put me in a great position for the week but I wasn’t able to keep it going which was a shame as I knew the scoring wasn’t going to be that great.
Having played here for the last few years I know the course and know what the scoring can be like so to get off to such a good start and not to be in contention on Sunday was disappointing. As much as I would have loved to be in contention on Sunday I am more than happy with how the week went. My knee is perfect and I know that I am hitting the ball well; I just have a few things to work on between now and the start of the US Open. Nothing technical just getting my head right over the ball; I hit a lot of shots last week where I was still thinking about my technique and what I was doing. The good shots that I hit I wasn’t focused on anything other than target. So for next week all I will be working on is focusing on my target and not worrying about my swing.
All in all it was a good week, I played some good golf mixed in with some bad but the bad actually helped me more as I know what I have to do in practice next week. I also know that I have to spend some time working on my wedge play before Thursday as it was poor this week but again that is generally down to poor mental approach. I didn’t get to see the end of the tournament as I was flying but I got a full synopsis of it when we landed. I was delighted to see Lee win but obviously felt sorry for Garrigus; it is an awful way to finish a tournament, nobody wishes that on anyone.
I am looking forward to playing the US Open especially on Pebble as it is a great course. The key is for me to learn from this week and take it to the course next week.
St.Jude Classic - Preview
After a couple of weeks off I am back in action at the St.Jude Classic in Memphis. Normally my weeks off are filled with practice and some sponsor commitments but this break was different. I had a minor knee operation on the Tuesday after the BMW PGA Championship. I had to have keyhole surgery to remove some loose cartilage that was floating around in my knee; it was preventive operation. The specialist told me that the longer I put it off the more likely I was to get arthritis at a later stage of my life. The operation went very well; the only problem for me was that I wasn’t able to do much for the couple of weeks. Seeing as I was limited in what I could do I took my family away for a holiday in Barbados. I spent a week taking it very easy; the last couple of days I managed hitting a few iron shots.
On Monday I had a company day in New York, which was the first time that hit full shots. I was a little apprehensive about it but it went fine and the hardest thing on the knee was the walking. Walking on it caused it to swell up a little whereas hitting shots didn’t affect it at all. I was playing but was still a little worried about how it would feel on Tuesday morning but again it was fine.
On Tuesday morning I saw Dale, my physio, and got some treatment on my knee; he was very happy with how it was. All he said was to take it as easy as possible and try not to put to much stress on it. I played nine holes, which was fine; I iced it after three holes and then when I finished. It swelled up a bit after the walking again but nothing too bad. However, as a precaution, I pulled out of the pro-am so as to give myself another day from walking on it. Dale and another friend of mine who is a knee specialist, Mike Voight, both recommended not walking on until I had to on Thursday. I would have liked to play as I needed to get some rounds under my belt but I didn’t want to risk making it worse and affecting this week’s tournament or the US Open. On Wednesday I played a few holes on another course but in a cart and again making sure to ice my knee every few holes.
I am going into this week unsure as to what to expect as I haven’t played or done much practice in the last couple of weeks. The main reason that I am here is to ensure that I get some golf in before next week. It is a big help that I have played here many times, I know the course and am comfortable on it. I would like to have played the pro-am so as to get a bitter feel for how the course is playing this year but resting my knee was definitely the best option. I haven’t had any ill effects from hitting shots but I know that tournament rounds will really tell me how it is. As far as this week goes I have very few expectations; sometimes that can be a good thing, you just never know. Missing the pro-am is definitely a disadvantage for me in terms of how I play the first round but after that it becomes of little consequence. Normally I am teeing up and thinking about being in contention on Sunday, but this week I am thinking about firstly getting to the weekend and then hopefully managing to get myself into contention, but above all this I am looking to see how my knee holds up with walking the course.
I am playing early and then late. It’s a nice draw here, as the wind tends to get up in the afternoon and make the course quite tough. The hardest thing about the wind is that it doesn’t tend to affect the ball that much due to the heat but yet you have to allow something for it. It can be quite confusing!