Missing the cut in Houston had a double disappointment - obviously the fact of missing a cut but also because it meant that my last chance to qualify for the Masters was gone.
I missed the cut mainly due to that fact that I got a bit too much into technical practice before the tournament started. I did some work with Pete on Tuesday and I really liked what I saw, however, I found it hard to take it to the course. I could hit good shots with it, but I struggled to trust it and then when I tried to go back to what I was doing previously, I struggled because I knew it wasn?t as good and I could feel the difference. I ended up being caught between two stools - the lure of hitting the ball much better or sticking with something that I knew wasn?t quite right.
Pete and I worked on getting my clubface stronger as address and throughout my swing which gave me a much stronger and penetrating flight. I used it on the course when I needed to hit a hard iron shot and when I was hitting a normal shot I stuck with my old method. When I did get the clubface stronger it worked well in terms of flight and distance, but I struggled to get the ball close with it, but I can see that with a bit of practice it will be very good for my game. What I really liked about it was that my irons were going further than they have been. For a while now I was noticing that my irons were not going as far as they used to and it seemed that everyone I played with was hitting their irons half a club to a club further than me. However with the stronger clubface I was getting them out there a good distance and with a good ball flight.
In terms of last week I can see that I got caught up in technique and as a result my scoring clubs suffered. It would have been okay to do the work had I managed to separate it from my wedge play, but unfortunately it suffered as a result of the work I had done during the week. I can see now that the shots that cost me were either not trusting what I was I doing or else just not being sharp with my scoring clubs. On Friday I hit a few balls in the water, but the majority of these were down to not being confident in what I was doing. The course last week can be penal if you are slightly off as there is so much water.
The really funny this is that I have come away from there last week feeling good about things as I really liked what I saw in the work Pete and I did. It made a big difference to my ball flight as well as the distance with both my irons and driver. I have two weeks off now to spend some time working on it and also to get back to practicing my wedge play, chipping and putting. I was happy with how I putted, I just didn?t have enough realistic birdie chances but, all in all, I felt good over the putts.
I am disappointed to have missed the cut and will find it tough to be sitting at home watching the Masters this week, but I am excited about my game and look forward to getting some good work done.
After a weeks holiday I am back on the PGA Tour for the Shell Houston Open. It is my last chance to qualify for The Masters as the winner this week takes the last spot. I have played here ever since they moved it to the week before The Masters and have always enjoyed the week. In fact I would be playing this week whether or not there was still a chance to make it to The Masters.
I travelled on Monday so Tuesday was my first day at the course. I didn't play any holes as the weather wasn't great and I wanted to do some work with Pete Cowen. We spent a couple of hours working in a few things as I wanted to run a few things by him and see what he thought. It was a good session and after it I felt that I had got a few things clear. Afterwards I spent some time hitting wedges, putting and chipping. My chipping practice was a competition with Shane, which resulted in me taking his money! You can't beat those type of competitions, they are the best form of practice.
On Wednesday I played the morning pro-am. The weather wasn't great again and it was misty rain all day, so the course played quite long as a result. I played average as I was trying to do the things Pete had shown me. He had me hitting shots with a strong clubface, which gave me a great flight but I tended to hit it a bit left. After the pro-am I hit some more balls with him and then did some chipping and putting.
I'm happy with the work I have done with Pete and I really like what I see. It will take a little bit of practice to get comfortable with it but it will be worth it.
I like the course and the set-up - there isn't much rough and the greens are very pure. I'm drawn late on Thursday and early on Friday with Angel Cabrerra and Matt Jones, two good guys to play with. I'm looking to get myself into contention on Sunday afternoon and give myself a chance of a win.