I had a notable "first" in my career last week - it was the first time that I have withdrawn from an event. I have had many injuries over the years, but they have never been bad enough that I couldn't play. Having withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am I spent the day getting physio and resting my shoulder in the hope of being able to play in the first round the following day.
On Thursday morning I got to the course earlier than normal so that I could get some extra physio. When I got to the range, about 20 minutes before my tee time, it was still sore but as I hit shots it began to ease. I felt that it would get better as the round went on so I decided to play. However when I got to the 3rd hole it was getting worse and I felt that I would be doing myself damage if I stayed out on the course.
I stayed for the rest of the week so that I could get physio in the hope of being able to play the U.S. Open qualifier on Monday at Walton Heath. By Sunday it was a lot better but I still thought that it was unlikely that I would be able to play.
I hit some chips and putts on Sunday evening at Walton Heath and afterwards my shoulder was feeling good. However my warm up on Monday morning didn't go great as my shoulder was feeling weak. I was really struggling and didn't think it was going to last. I started on the New course and was thinking that it could end up being like Wentworth, however as the round went on it was feeling fine. Whilst I didn't have full power, it wasn't sore. The morning round was a struggle as I wasn't able to get any power in my strike and ended up shooting level par, but I think that there were only two holes that I didn't max out my score.
Going out in the second round I felt that I needed to shot around 7 under par. However in the end I only needed to shot 5 under to be in a play-off. The sad part was that I was 5 under playing my last hole but then made a bogey to finish on 4 under. I had made four birdies in a row from the 13th to get to five under and was cruising. However a bad drive on the last left me with a lot to do as I was coming out of the heather and ended up in a play-off for the second alternate spot. It was a five man play off which was won by Fabrizo Zonotti with a birdie on our second extra hole.
I have to say that I was really devastated to bogey the last hole, especially having done all the hard work and then throw it away.
The silver lining of the day was that my shoulder held up well. It wasn't sore but whilst I wasn't able to swing at full power, after seeing it in action I am confident that it will be fine by Thursday for the Irish Open.
I am back in Europe for the BMW PGA Championship, which is my first tournament in Europe this year and whilst Wentworth hasn't been my favorite venue over the years, I have been looking forward to it this year.
I decided on a more relaxed approach to the tournament this year so as to take the stress out of it. I headed home for a couple of days and travelled in on Tuesday night. I got to see family and friends, do a bit of practice and got a gym session in. Everything was great other than tweaking my shoulder in the gym. At the time it didn't feel like anything and I wasn't worried about it. However by the time I got to my hotel at Wentworth it was getting sore. It was very sore during the night and no matter what way I lay it was painful.
I was due to play the 8am pro-am but after an hour of physio and attempting a shot on the range, I had to withdraw from it. I think it is the first time I have withdrawn from anything due to injury. I then spent the rest of the day getting treatment on and off and did a small amount of putting.
The only way I can describe it is that it feels like a frozen shoulder. I wasn't able to get my arm in the air to swing the club but I am hopeful that rest is what it needs and that I will be ok come my first round tee time.