After three weeks in the States it is back to the European Tour, and where better to come than the K Club for the European Open. It is particularly nice to come home to play an event especially after winning last week. The K Club is a course that I really enjoy playing. It is almost 10 years now since I played my first professional event, the European Open at the original K Club. A lot has changed since then and it will be great to play in front of an Irish crowd again. I only played 18 holes in the Pro-Am on Wednesday as I couldn’t have managed a game on Tuesday due to jet lag. Tuesday was spent working on my putting with Harold Swash and my swing with Bob Torrance. I was asked in my press conference why I would be working on my putting after last week, but the funny thing is that I didn’t putt well all week. I managed to get it in the hole but it felt terrible so with that in mind I spent a couple of hours with Harold Swash trying to figure out what was wrong. It was a fruitful exercise. I haven’t fixed the problem but I think we have figured out what I need to work on to correct it.
It will definitely be hard going for me this week as it is always hard to get going again after a win and also I am still quite tired as I have been busy since being home. I have tried to take it as easy as possible but that is always hard after a good week as there are people looking for pieces of your time. But it would be worse if it was the other way round as then nobody would be looking to talk to you! I always look forward to playing the European Open as it is one of our most prestigious events of the year and more importantly it is played here in Ireland . I have yet to win a tour event in Ireland ; I’ve been close a few times but never quite got there. A few years ago Michael Campbell and I had a good tussle coming down the stretch and he just nicked it on the last - something similar to me last week. Maybe it was the experience that I have gained from the likes of that that helped me to win last week. This year Michael is back again and as the reigning US Open champion. I really think that he is the man to beat this year as he generally plays well for long periods once he gets into form. I am relatively happy with my game. My long game is in good stead as can be seen from me leading the greens in regulation stats last week, however my short game needs some practice. My win was an unusual one for me as it was on the back of my long game and not on my short game or putting; it was totally down to the work that Bob Torrance has put in over the last 7 years. I haven’t been able to spend as much time into getting my short game into shape as I would like so I will be hopping that what bit I have done helps and that my long game holds up. I will also be trying to enjoy my golf as I did last week. I know that it won’t work every week but smiling and enjoying it is definitely the best approach for me. As always I will be trying to get myself into contention on Sunday and then see what happens, although I am not too sure if I would back myself this week, but then stranger things have happened!!
I am afraid that the European Open was just one tournament too far for me. I knew that I was tired after my win at the Barclays Classic in Westchester and the traveling home but I had hoped that the adrenalin would keep me going, unfortunately it couldn’t.
I had tried to take it easy during the week so as to conserve as much energy as possible but even with doing this I still had very little left in the tank. Thursday afternoon was windy and it made the course play considerably tougher than the morning. I was happy to be drawn late on Thursday as it gave me a little more time to rest, however when I got going I was never comfortable on the course. I never felt like I was lined up properly, it felt to me as if I was aiming right of where I wanted to go. I had this feeling all day Thursday; I just couldn’t do anything to make it feel better. I played poorly and eventually ended up shooting 79, 7 over par. My poor play was compounded by my inability to make a putt and in the end I only managed to make one birdie in the whole round on the par 5 16th. No matter how hard I tired to make something happen I just wasn’t able. Even when I putt my second shot in the greenside water on the 11th I wasn’t able to get it up and down from the edge to save bogey. This sort of thing typified my round. The holes that I felt that I should make birdie on, such as the 18th, I managed to do something to ensure that I didn’t make one. Overall, a very disappointing day.
I knew going out on Friday that I had to shoot a good score to make the cut and felt that a 69 would be good enough. The only problem with that was that I just didn’t have it in me. I tried but again nothing happened. I could only find bogeys and not enough birdies. In the end I finished with a 2 over par round of 74 for a two round total of 9 over par. I was disappointed to miss the cut but the only good thing about it was that I would have a couple of days to rest and relax.
It has been a funny few weeks for me, normally I quite consistent but for the last while I have been Mr. Inconsistent - missing 3 cuts out of 4 weeks and winning the other. It would be nice to get back to my consistent self but then its not the worst thing to win one and then miss a few, not something that I would want to do all the time but I certainly won’t complain about it at the moment. As I was saying I will take the weekend off and then head to Adare Manor for the J.P. McManus Pro-Am. I look forward to it as it is a relaxing and fun tournament that benefits a lot of the local charities.