Life is a lot easier when you play badly and then all of a sudden you get in contention and win one. No one gets on your back. When you finish runner-up seven times, everyone is asking, 'Why aren't you winning?' It's much more fun when you jump into a win out of the blue. It's a much tougher game when you play consistently well.

Portugal Masters

Entry Date:
Sep 19, 2017

I enjoyed my defence of the Portuguese Masters even if it wasn't the outcome I had hoped for. It's hard to go down to the Algarve and not enjoy yourself - the weather all week was perfect and the area is so nice, it's almost a shame we have to play golf.

Overall the week was a solid one in that I got some good work done with Pete Cowen and I felt that I played solid throughout. I put myself in a decent position going into the weekend after shooting two rounds of 4 under par. However, unfortunately my weekend rounds weren't good enough. I had a week of hitting good putts but not holing my fair share. It happens some weeks where the ball doesn't want to drop for you even though you have hit good solid putts and the weekend was very much like that for me. Saturday was a tricky day as it was very windy but even still I gave myself enough chances to shoot a decent score but just couldn't convert them. My weekend rounds of 71 and 69 were disappointing.

However I am coming away from Portugal feeling very good about my game and the rest of my year, as I saw a lot of good signs last week. The work I did with Pete showed up some very good things and when I get it right it increases my speed and gives me a great ball flight. I wasn't quite confident enough in it to do it on the course all the time but when I did want to get a few yards more out of a shot, it generally worked.

I'm excited about the end to my season as I feel that I am coming into some good form and I can see that my short game is coming back to where it used to be. I have confidence in it again and I know that I am putting well. I just have to remain patient and let myself get on a run.

I'm off this week and then back for one of my favourite events of the year, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Talk soon,

This week I am defending my Portugal Masters title. It's always great to go back to defend a title, especially when it's on the same course, as you have so many positive vibes everywhere you go. However, it does bring some extra work as there are generally a number of media commitments. This week I have had to recreate my chip shot on the last hole and also do a number of interviews, but I'd happily deal with that every week!!

Pete Cowan is here this week and I have spent a bit of time working him and discussing what I have been doing since we last saw each other. We worked on my driving, which is what I struggled with the most last week. After chatting about it and hitting a few for him we came to the conclusion that it is when I try to hit it high that causes problems for me. If I concentrate on keeping my flight down then I am less likely to hit a wide.

I played nine holes on Tuesday with Shane Lowry, Ollie Fisher and Scott Jamieson and then the pro-am on Wednesday. There haven't been any changes to the course since last year; the rough is a little heavier but nothing too bad.

I've hit a good few balls with Pete and so when I got on the course I have found myself more in practice mode than playing mode. I was conscious of this in the pro-am and made a big effort to get myself into it on the back nine. It was hard as what we were doing with my swing really improved my strike but I know that I have to get myself ready for tournament play.

I'm out early in the first round with Andy Sullivan and Thomas Pieters. Whilst my preparation hasn't been great, as I have definitely been too much into technique rather than playing mode, hopefully it won't affect me too much.

Talk soon,