It’s the middle of August as I write this, and I’m currently two-thirds of the way through a three week tournament break, which has been nice. I’ve just had a week’s holiday where I haven’t picked up a club … actually, that’s not strictly true as my three-year-old, Oscar, is desperate to play golf at the moment, so I ended up hitting the odd ball here and there.
But it’s been good, and I’ve now got a week to practice before the Made in Denmark event and the D+D Czech Masters. I’m not playing in Russia, so I’ll have another week at home to practice and do a few things, before heading on to the KLM Open and potentially seven events in a row. I’m not sure how many I’ll play yet, as it depends how things go. I should get into the Alfred Dunhill up in Scotland, but I’m not sure about the British Masters at Woburn, because it’s a smaller field.
Normally it takes me a good few days to get back into things after a break, but this time round it felt quite good hitting balls for the first time. I’ve got a few friendly games lined up this week, which will be good before getting stuck in again in Denmark next week.
It feels like a fresh start midway through the season, and they’re always helpful if things haven’t been going too well. Even if they have been going well, you get a fresh start with good memories, but I don’t think it makes a huge amount of difference. It wasn’t long ago I was playing well, so my game’s not far away. The swing was a little bit out of sync during July, but I started hitting the ball better the last couple of tournaments – although things didn’t quite go my way in terms of results. But there were definitely positive signs, and I feel nicely refreshed, so it’s just a case of getting myself back into form for the last part of the season.
My last event was the European Masters in Switzerland, where I had back problems on the first day. I was really struggling and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish the round, but we had a fog delay, and I managed to get a treatment in, and actually felt quite a bit better afterwards.
But because it still didn’t feel quite right, I wasn’t quite sure how aggressive I could be with the swing, so I was holding back a bit. I wasn’t fully committing to shots, because I was a bit wary of it, and didn’t play very well as a result. I hit a few hook shots and finished six over, which pretty much put me out of the tournament straightaway. I played really well on the second day, and even though I only shot level par there were a lot of positive signs. I just didn’t hole many putts.
The course at Crans-Sur-Sierre is about 1,500m above sea level, and the ball does go further up there, but it’s actually quite a simple calculation, because it goes 10% further, which means you can just go with the metre figure for your normal yardage. A 9-iron for me is 140 yards, so adding 10%makes it 154 yards, which is 140 metres. Simple! So it’s a good altitude to play at with no tricky maths for player or caddie.
As for my bagman, I had a switch after Scotland and have a new caddie, Bob, starting in Denmark, as I felt I needed a change. He’s worked for Kristoffer Broberg for the last few years, and is fairly local to me, based down in Folkestone.
One other thing that happened in July was an invitational day at Woburn, which Ian Poulter runs for juniors. As an UP Design ambassador, I went along and got to speak to Ian for the first time. We had a little chat, and it was great to finally meet him. Perhaps we’ll meet up again as the season goes on, hopefully at Woburn if I can get in. In fact, I’m up there again on another ambassadors’ day next week, where I get to play with some competition winners. That will give me a sneaky little preview of the course, and should stand me in good stead if I do get in!