My trip back to India for the Hero Indian Open was not a successful one - to miss the cut is extremely disappointing especially as I hit the ball well for the two days. When I played the course on Wednesday I really thought I was going to have a good week as I liked what I saw and I was playing well.
I only shot one under for my first round which was a poor return as I missed a few chances and also bogeyed my last hole - I came off the course knowing that I had left shots behind. However I wasn't worried as I knew that I could get out on Friday and shoot a good score. At least that was the plan. On Friday I hit the ball well again but, like Thursday, I struggled with my putting. On Thursday I couldn't get comfortable over the putts, I didn't miss any I should have holed but I also didn't hole any of the makeable ones I gave myself. Friday was the same - I kept feeling that I was lined up wrong and then I struggled to hit good putts.
I missed a short par putt on the 12th which was a real killer blow for me, as I had just made bogey on the previous hole and then the short missed putt put me back to level par. I was then on the cut mark but still not stressed as there were birdie holes coming in, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make any. I had a four iron into the two par fives for my second shots and I played them in one over; I also missed a four footer for birdie on the 15th. It was very frustrating as I hit a lot of good shots over the two days but I wasn't able to convert the chances.
Golf is such an easy game when you?re are holing putts, but when they are not going in you feel that you can't hit it close enough, which is how the week went - I struggled on the greens and then lost some confidence.
It was such a pity as I really liked the course and felt that it was one I could do well on. However, I will definitely look at going back there to have another go at it.
This week I'm in India for the Hero Indian Open. The last time I played here was in 1992 as an amateur. I've been looking to come back for a long time now, so I decided I would make the effort this year. I got here early on Tuesday morning but slept quite a bit on the flights over so I haven't been suffering too much with jet lag.
I played eight holes on Tuesday and then took part in a Skills Challenge, which was India against the Rest of the World, but unfortunately we lost! It was good fun as we had a long drive contest, closest to the pin with a wedge and from a bunker and then a long putt. It was something different which made it fun.
On Wednesday I played the pro-am. I had heard a lot about the course before I came here, with everyone saying it was very tight and tricky, but I have to say I really like it - it is tight but fair. I see it that you have to be conservative from the tee and then aggressive with your approach shot, which is in contrast to how golf is generally played nowadays where everyone is aggressive from the tee. The course has way exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to playing a tournament on it. I am happy with how I played in the pro-am - I made a good few birdies and more importantly got a good feel for the course. I have decided that if I'm in doubt from the tee then go with the shorter club - I am happy to leave myself a longer shot into the greens rather than taking on the scrub on either side of the fairway. With each fairway lined by scrub it makes for a tough test and so it will be important to stay patient and not try to overpower the course.
I'm off early on Thursday and late on Friday with Marcus Fraser and Aniban Lahari, the defending champion and local favorite. As I said, I'm looking forward to playing the course in a tournament as there is a lot of thinking and management to be done. I'm feeling good about things and looking to be in contention come Sunday.