I have played in the Dunhill since the days of the old team format and every year since it became the pro-am format it is now. It is one of my favourite tournaments of the year and one I have had great success in over the years. So to go there and miss the cut in both the individual and team events is extremely disappointing. Missing any cut is a disappointment but missing it in one of my favourite tournaments is worse.
Since coming back from my break after the Olympics, I have missed three cuts in a row all by a shot. It's frustrating as you can always look back and find one shot that would have made the difference and last week is no different. On Saturday alone I probably missed ten putts that were makeable. I didn't hit bad putts, but it seemed that every time I had to pick a line I went at the wrong one - I would hit it just outside the lip and it would break onto the lip.
However I can't blame my putting for the missed cut. I putted well for the week and holed a lot of putts in the first round and plenty more in round two. The problem I had was, as I said in my preview, I struggled with my distance as I did in Italy and Germany - the ball is going nowhere for me at the moment. I went through the irons I was hitting at Kingsbarns with Shane Lowry and at times he was hitting two less than me. I'm not sure what has happened since the Olympics but it's like my distance has fallen of a cliff. The first two days the courses played tough but when you are hitting it short they are even tougher! I'm looking forward to seeing Pete in Portugal next week to see what he thinks and hopefully we will have solved the problem by then.
The disappointing thing about missing the cut last week was that I had done a lot of the hard work at Carnoustie in the first round by shooting 2 under par - I was thinking about getting myself into contention and I wasn't worried about the cut. However, even though I missed the cut I had a great week with Kieran. It was strange not having JP inside the ropes with me but he was there to add support from outside with Caroline.
I'm looking forward to a week at home as I have been away for four weeks now. It will be nice to get back to see the lads, as well as getting to watch them in action in their sport over the week.
My second stint as a Ryder Cup Vice Captain was disappointing in terms of the result, but very enjoyable as a whole. It was a great team and everyone was pulling for each other. I have always found it strange when you leave a Ryder Cup for the next tournament as you are all of a sudden back playing as an individual which takes a little adjusting to.
This week I am in St Andews for the Dunhill Links Championship, which is one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I've won this event twice as a pro and twice in the team event. Normally I play with JP McManus but this year he is taking a year off and instead I am playing with his son, Kieran. I'll miss JP but Kieran is a good friend of mine too, so it's an easy switch.
Having not hit any balls last week I was itching to get out and play on Tuesday. I did a small bit of practice and then went and played nine holes on the Old Course at St Andrews. The course was in great shape but my game was a bit rusty. I'm not sure whether it was me or the wind but the ball wasn't going very far, but I'll put it down to the wind! On Wednesday I did some practice before playing 12 holes at Kingsbarns. After playing I did an hours practice as I wanted to work on a couple of things and by the end of the session I felt that I was getting more of a hit on the ball. I have spent some time working on my pitch and run chips this week as they have been poor of late. It is a shot that I don't tend to practice much, so I have committed to hitting a few of them each day.
Whilst I haven't be overly happy with how I hit the ball in practice, I have been very happy with my putting. Since I have started using a line on my ball for alignment I have seen a dramatic improvement. The more I do it the more confident I get with it.
I play the first round at Carnoustie at 9.44am - it's always nice to play there first as it's the longest trip and the toughest course. The other two courses can play tough depending on the wind, but no matter what sort of wind there is in Carnoustie it is always tough. I'm looking forward to playing with Kieran, he won't have many shots but we will both be trying hard to get our names on the leaderboard for Sunday. The forecast is good for the week, so it is over to us to produce some good golf!