When I arrive at a tournament on a Monday evening, the week often flies by. However, this week was very different! With so many storm delays, it was extremely draining and the stop-start nature of the event made it difficult to build any momentum. To finish on the Sunday afternoon was nothing short of a miracle, as a Monday finish loomed on the horizon from the get-go.
What started to look like being a good week, quickly turned into a miserable affair. To start my third round inside the top ten and finish in a tie for sixty-fifth highlighted the poor final two rounds.
With the course playing firm and fast, I opened up with a two under par 68, which I felt was a really good score; especially considering the gusty conditions. However, not long after I finished a storm rolled in and softened the course up significantly. A damp track accompanied by the disappearance of any wind left TPC Southwind there for the taking. And, whilst I did benefit from these conditions during my second round, my putter was hampering me from shooting a low score that would have propelled me to the summit of the leaderboard.
Nevertheless, I still found myself inside the top ten and when my third round begun on Saturday evening I was feeling good. I started solidly with a couple of pars followed by a two putt birdie on the third. However, a poor tee shot on the fourth found the water and cost me a dropped shot. I found myself level standing on the ninth tee, when I hit a poor drive into the rough and then found the water with my second. It came out softer from the rough than both Ronan and I expected, and with another shot dropped the hooter sounded for another imminent storm which also brought the days play to a close. I started Sunday morning terribly by taking three from the edge of the tenth and eleventh holes. I then hit my tee shot in the water on twelve and from then on it was a real struggle. My swing felt out of sorts and I struggled with my pre-shot routines. I bogeyed the last after finding the water again and signed for a disappointing 79. I was then back on the tee for my final round 20 minutes later, which is never ideal when you?re struggling to find a swing. I managed to hit a few shots with Pete on the range in between rounds but it simply wasn?t enough.
My final 18 holes felt a little better; however, I still struggled with my routines. I felt like I was stationed over the ball for a long time and this was cluttering my thought process. I signed for a two over par 72; the end of a long week.
I have a couple of corporate outings at Royal Liverpool Golf Club before I fly home on Thursday for a few days? rest. I will certainly be watching the US Open and like The Masters, it will be strange not to be there.
I am in Memphis this week for the FedEx St Jude Classic. Normally this is my build up to the US Open but not this year as I did not qualify, so I am here in the US for one week. It is strange to be here and not thinking about the US Open, as normally I am preparing myself for the following week whilst trying to keep my mind on the tournament.
My week at home last week was a quiet one in terms of practice and may have been the least I have ever done. I was tired when I got home from Walton Heath and so I took it easy. I mainly practiced my short game when I did go out and other than that I had a couple of corporate commitments during the week. On Thursday I launched my new signature clothing line, in conjunction with Dunnes Stores, which will be sold exclusively through their retail network and on-line. We have been working on it for some time now so to see the final product hanging on the rails was great. I am very happy with how it has turned out and I must admit that I have new level of respect for people working in the fashion industry as I never realised how much work was involved in producing a clothing line.
I got here on Monday evening, because having played here many times I was happy to travel a little later than normal. On Tuesday I played nine holes and did some practice, nothing too strenuous as I am still committed to doing less. I got a few strange looks during the day as Ron Graham, from Wilson, was caddying for me as Ronan's flight was cancelled.
On Wednesday I played the morning pro-am and afterwards I did a small amount of practice. Pete Cowen is here this week, so he walked a few holes and then afterwards I hit a few shots with him. There wasn't much to work on, still trying to strengthen the club face in the backswing.
I like the course here this week and it is one that I have had some good weeks on. You have to be on top of your game as every aspect is tested. It rewards good ball striking and someone with a sharp short game. It is important to be coming off the fairway as the rough causes big flyers which makes it very hard to get the ball close to the hole. As the week goes on, the course get shorter and shorter, as it gets firm and very warm - the golf ball tends to fly a long way here as it can get into the 90's.
I am feeling good about where my game it at. I have been practicing my putting and it is feeling a lot better. All in all, I am looking forward to playing this week especially after my rest last week.