TPC Sawgrass

I hadn’t snapped a club all year until the Tuesday of Sawgrass during a practice round. I was hitting a 5 iron into the 7th hole and after hitting what was ironically one of my better shots that day, though still not good, I smashed the club into my bag, bending it severely, and then proceeded to throw it Rory McIlroy style into the lake for the alligators to feast on. It was an act of petulance, borne out of frustration. I walked in after my third shot into the par five 9th, waving goodbye to Alex Noren from a distance who I was playing with. I went straight back to my hotel room for a nap.

My first ever shot into the famous 17th hole was on Wednesday during my practice round. It was into a slight breeze and I landed it straight in the water short of the green. It was definitely the most nervous I’ve ever felt in a practice round. Mick, my caddie, managed to better me and hit it to 27 feet. Not quite good enough to win the caddie challenge, but better than his glorified boss. I did joke that thankfully, things could really only get better from that point onwards and I promised Mick, with little confidence, that I would make a two come Thursday… I must be more confident in the future.

Waking up Sunday, turning on the Golf Channel to watch the interminably repetitive yet addictive coverage of the Players Championship, I saw Martin Kaymer dropping on the 1st hole after hitting it into the water hazard off the tee. A hazard that wasn’t in play Thursday and Friday due to the wind direction, now very much was. That first tee shot was probably the most fearsome of the day for me, not only because it was the first shot of the round, but because I know I can hit the necky flare with consummate ease. Thankfully, my necky flare ended up in the bunker.

I would have a hard time remembering a round in my career where my short game was as good as it was yesterday at Sawgrass. What made it quite bizarre was that my short game of late, along with pretty much every other aspect, has been really pretty shit. I thinned a simple 5 yard bunker shot in Mexico 30 yards through the green. These shots unfortunately stay with me longer than I would prefer, so it means during the period of transition from bad to good, I need to ensure I trust my technique beyond what would usually be sufficient. It would appear, that certain aspects of my game can seemingly be pretty awful one week, and surprisingly decent the next. I’ve clearly improved however at competing and trusting my intuition and skill when things do take an upward turn.

It’s hard to describe what standing on the 17th tee at Sawgrass feels like during a practice round, let alone while being in contention to win an event. I had a brief look around walking onto the tee at all the people surrounding the hole, though, I’m far more comfortable looking at the ground when people are cheering me on, so I didn’t take in too much. I generally feel too inadequate to lap up the adulation. At 140 yards to the pin, it’s a pretty nice number for a 9 iron, as the wind was into and from the right. It’s luckily one of those shots where you can’t bail out, which is the reason I could see a career on that hole which includes many birdies, because you’re choices are limited. There’s really not much room for fear. After hitting my 9 iron to 50 feet, I went back to the bag and said to Mick and Lordy (Justin’s caddie), “at least its fucking dry.”

Weirdly, I didn’t think the putt I had was too difficult. The two breaks in the putt were blindingly obvious. I also knew it wasn’t as fast as I remember seeing historically as I’d practiced a similar putt during the practice round. It was a case of reading the last half of the putt first, then picking the apex point, and then fully trusting your feel. Golf under pressure is often simply just trusting your feels. And breathing. Exhale fully. The crowds chanting “EDDIE, EDDIE, EDDIE” after I holed the putt reminded me of a time when I was at school, oh, no it didn’t. It felt strange being the centre of attention on such a massive stage.

The highlight of my unrecognisable fame came in 2015 when I went on Question of Sport. During the walk in entrance, we were told to take in the ovation from the crowd. This would’ve been fine if I’d have had some alcohol beforehand, or indeed, if I got the impression people in the crowd knew who the hell I was.

TPC Sawgrass is so good.

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Bryson and My Knights.

While walking Gus the other week, I was trying to analogise golf with chess. I figured, chess in principal has only two defining features; the board and the pieces. Obviously it’s played by two people, and winning and losing depends on how skilfully you move the pieces, within the boundaries. Therefore, it appears there’s a third part to chess which is easily relatable to golf, whereby skill is learnt over time and how you reflect on that feedback, will ultimately improve, or not improve, your efficacy when moving across the board against your opponent, or shooting lower scores.

Golf is identical to chess in the sense that the pieces never really change. We use the same size balls, similar arrangement of clubs (always 14), we stand roughly the same etc.. Golf also has the competitive element that chess has, as well as any sport or endeavour. Where it became blurry to me though was defining the boundaries. Chess has four sides built in, which determine many rules. Golf doesn’t have any sides, and therefore learning to be more effective in golf isn’t so clear. It dawned on me that the four sides in chess, aren’t just limitations, they’re structures which create more obvious pathways. I think, to improve in golf, you really need to build in your “four sides” if you like. Parameters, defined often by what you can’t achieve, don’t act as a limitation in golf, they act as a source of potential.

I think a quite simple example of this would be Martin Kaymer and how he got to world number one. He played a one dimensional game off the tee certainly. But within that one dimensional strategy, also lied a great strength. Being able to hit “all the golf shots” guarantees you nothing, because you take a large risk in giving up what you do automatically, and often without significant failure, all in the search for something more promising. Ones unknowable future therefore, is likely another’s past.

What’s quite interesting about Bryson DeChambeau is how he’s only mildly adapted one of the constant features of golf; his length of clubs. This is a small change when you consider the breadth of things golf incorporates. Yet, his potential for disruption, and transformation is stunning. I’m inclined to say his potential for domination is also stunning. It’s easy to say this about many things, but maybe we do have limits to how well we can do something, provided we continue to pursue those efforts in a similar manner. Bryson is ripping up just a few pages of the rule book on this front, and yet it wouldn’t be hard to envisage a time where he becomes a dominant force.

This isn’t something we should lambast. This is potentially revolutionary and we should absolutely be celebrating his form. It might be that Bryson is to golf what Sepak Takraw is to volleyball. It’s easy to lambast someone when they’re so different, but that’s often only because we see them as a threat to what we’ve become accustomed to like, or enjoy. However It’s always worth remembering that our grandchildren probably won’t care about our emotions as much as we would like them too.

(I do have some thoughts on the Saudi event, but as the tournament is still active, I don’t think it would be right to convey any thoughts just now. What I will say is that I was pleasantly surprised by a few things, but also disappointed and demotivated by others.)

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Arabian Adventure

I’ve been trying to figure out, without the help of books or an education, whether humour is as innate to human beings as suffering. This was prompted by a tweet I received from Lawrence Donegan who criticised my tweet last night where I joked about how I only allow women into my house if they’re wearing no clothes at all. I considered responding on Twitter but 240 characters obviously isn’t enough when it comes to the topic of suffering and humour.

It seems to me that as we still have humour, it clearly has utility, else why would it exist? It might be a social construct, but I doubt that. I’m inclined to believe humour has evolved alongside us for millennia, in spite of enormous suffering and pain. In fact, there is less suffering and pain in the world now than ever before, and it would seem, if Lawrence is anything to go by, that humour is also on the decline. Maybe the supply of jokes correspond with the amount of suffering in our own worlds? The more we suffer, the more we joke. Empirically speaking, and of course relatively speaking, any suffering I’ve ever experienced has often been followed by humour. It relieves pain.

The problem with taking a moral approach to us golfers playing in Saudi Arabia this week is that it would lay bare many contradictions of the past. Like, for example, why do we play in China? Or Qatar? Or Turkey? Depending on your time scale, you could argue that every country on earth has at some point exemplified the worst that human beings have to offer, but back to 2019. It clearly is true that Saudi Arabia’s human rights record is questionable at best, and appalling to anyone in the West. But should that mean we boycott competing?

That probably depends who you are. I can really only speak for myself, and plus, remember I’m not being paid to be here, so I’m only slightly less immoral than the top guys who have showed up. For me, if I didn’t play, I sacrifice the opportunity to play against the best in the world, I miss a chance to improve my world ranking also, which objectively speaking, does hold some importance for me, since if I fall out of the Top 50 before April then I won’t be eligible for a PGA Tour event I have scheduled to play. And that means losing flights etc and having to pay for new ones, which you might say is no problem because I’ve earned a lot of money lately, though resentment isn’t good for anybody.

This week throws up a not new conundrum for us then; that competition supersedes morality. If I don’t show up, the field doesn’t reduce a spot, somebody takes it. With over 7 Billion people in the world, our futures might give us all an opportunity to choose between morality and survival. This isn’t to say morality isn’t important and should never be acted upon, but it is to say that there’s a reality to the world that while we might all dislike, still exists.

On top of all of this, maybe, just maybe, the Regime out here really do want to change. Maybe they’ve recognised the perilous state of their own affairs and in particular their reliance on a fossil fuel that won’t be here forever. It might be true that they want to Liberalise their Kingdom so that they can be competitive themselves in the future. Why should we Westerners not accept this, if it is true? After all, aren’t we the true purveyors of forgiveness?

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Back To The Future

Back early in 2018, when Justin Thomas holed out on the 72nd hole in Mexico to get into a playoff, I remember tweeting something along the lines of “If Tiger had of done that, we would all be getting the tissues out.” Of course, tissues referring to masturbation. 2018 has been a fascinating year for me, I’ve won two golf tournaments, I’ve experienced a number of different health events from ending up in hospital to doing my back in, and I’m now followed on Twitter by Ann Summers. One thought I’ve had this year though has kept on popping up; Sports stars of the early 2000’s, continue to wield enormous power.

There’s an emptiness in today’s generation of achievements, of which mine are meagre. Modern standards however are fighting for exposure and excitement in a world where consumers have embedded within them memories of a recent past. I think in golf this year, certain accomplishments have warranted more of a viral dance, but we’re not dancing. We’re stumbling up the hill of consumption while exhausted. And bored. Until Tiger comes along, then BANG, a shot of adrenaline, like Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Tiger being the doctor, Sherlock being the consumer. While the efficacy of modern medicine is gradually wearing thin, certain sports stars of the early 21st Century still contain within them the antidote to numbness.

Golf isn’t unique in this. Bizarrely, something I never imagined would happen, did happen in 2018, whereby I drew comparisons (in my own head) between golf and WWE Wrestling. WWE has a similar problem to golf in that its pull seems to lie in showcasing the stars of yesteryear. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, these legends, continue to perform to salivating crowds much in the same way Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson do. I say ‘problem’ not because this isn’t good, or exciting, but because fairly soon, golf and WWE are going to have to stand on its own two feet without these stars being part of it. And that’s going to be challenging, for a number of reasons.

PewDiePie (YouTuber) has 75 million subscribers. His audience is dominated by 16-24 year olds. More and more it seems, young adults are becoming addicted to sites such as YouTube, and this is a wildly different form of consumption to what we’ve been used to. Finding a way of converting these people from YouTube to sports coverage isn’t something I have the faintest clue in how to do, but I’m not under the impression it can, or will happen naturally. If the future therefore isn’t subscription services through television, golf among other sports, will have to find a way of exploring this, without losing the revenue it currently receives through television rights. Competing in a world where gaming and cosmetic tutorials rule the roost might be tough.

In 2019, the European Tour will have a Legends Category. Within this category are roughly 12 players who are, as defined by the tournament committee’s parameters, ‘Legends.’ Within this group are players such as Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam, just to name a few. It goes without saying, they are legendary, and I have as much respect for their careers as anyone. However, for these guys to be eligible to gain entry into events like the BMW PGA at Wentworth ahead of guys who finished 30th on the R2D in 2018 (without winning), seems to me to be somewhat odd. This type of category exposes the very nature of what I talked about above (eluding specifically to WWE), in that we will seemingly do anything and everything to make it so that stars of the past can continue to be paraded in an attempt to bring in viewers. This may prove to be valuable and indeed effective, but for how long, and at what cost? When we undercut skill in this way, I believe we risk validating the idea of entitlement above the virtue of competence.

It would therefore seem that golf currently sits in the void between young people who consume via the internet on sites such as YouTube, and the elderly population who continue to enjoy television, even in spite of the burgeoning costs, that seem to want to be reminded of the excitement they felt around the turn of the century when television took off, and sportsmen became stars.

I don’t even think this problem is exclusive to golf and WWE. Tennis is likely experiencing a similar problem. Tennis is a nice example for me to use because I myself cannot imagine a time in the future where I could stop drooling nostalgically over Roger Federer. Maybe, the elderly amongst us would say they feel the same way about Andre Agassi, but it’s not clear to me that we’ve at all transitioned over to the modern generation of sports stars yet. Some might say that’s because they are ‘boring’ or ‘advised,’ therefore not themselves. It might be that we are all bored of television and consumption in this format.

Finally, if sport can find a way of recapturing people’s interest and vigour, then maybe politics will return to the quieter niches of coverage, where some might say it belongs. The politicalisation of sports is maybe just an attempt to regain this share of the pie. The world would be a much better place however, if politics took on more of what sport is about.

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A Sting In The Tale

“He deals the cards, as a meditation.”

There really is nothing like the present. I hope Aaron Rai and his dad are enjoying his success. I’m sure they are. The present moment has an allure to it I find, the past barely relevant, and the future important. Aaron deserves more credit than many will realise, because he never succumbed to the present, he and his dad, as far as I can tell, had a vision for him that extended well beyond the horizon. His unwavering commitment to his own process is rare. 

When I was growing up, once I reached a certain standard I was invited to be part of national squads. Their understanding of “what it takes” was something I never questioned. I had little idea what I was doing, I was just a good golfer, breaking the occasional course record, and golf clubs. The only golfer who I can recall having such an idea of the future and what would be required to be a succesful Tour pro, was Tom Lewis (and his dad). Tom often did his own thing, not taking much notice of the coaches during training camps. He and his dad had a vision. A vision which proved to be fruitful, as Tom won one of his first events as a Pro on the European Tour. For Aaron, it’s fair to say that process has taken a bit longer, but that process was more extreme in his case, and it’s eventually yielded success. More extreme because he turned down the whole England Golf experience entirely.  

I came across Aaron when I was 12 or 13, during our Wee Wonders years! But then I didn’t hear of him again until about two years ago, when he was winning on the Challenge Tour. The two gloves, iron head covers, and every other idiosyncracy Aaron possesses is a highlight of his unusual approach and style. Aaron is quiet, but extremely polite. He and his dad asked to speak to me a couple months ago at the British Masters because he had some concerns regarding a couple of issues. He came to me because of the fact I’m on the Players Committee and I guess, because I’m of similar age. This made me happy as that was a central reason I put myself forward to be on the Committee, so that other younger players (like myself) would hopefully come forward and feel comfortable speaking to someone when they had concerns. I feel proud of Aaron, not because I know him particularly well, but because he represents the kind of success that is highly unusual. He has shown a lot of resolve in becoming a very good golfer, and better still, a level of individuality that poses risks.

There are obviously different kinds of successful people in life, across all industries. There are men and women who tread paths which we would consider “conventional” and when they reach the dizzy heights, nobody is surprised. Also, when a person meets an expectation of them, it can end up feeling like somewhat of an anti-climax. Something that is surely slightly depressing for everyone involved. This is why I love short-sellers (economics). If I was an investor, I would probably end up a short-seller. I’m skeptical of all things good, I admire people who swim against the current, and I think proving people wrong is wonderful. Ann Coulter provided a highlight of 2016 for me, when she predicted Donald Trump would win the US Election. Everyone laughed in her face, yet she was proved correct. Aaron doesn’t remind me necessarily of Ann Coulter, but he is the kind of guy who will raise his head above the parapet (less publicly than Ann Coulter), and not be too concerned with what people think. We should really celebrate these types people. 

Being young and ignorant and absolutely unaware of what is required to be great at something can feel like quite a terrifying thing. But once you get older, and things become clearer, and when success of sorts arrives, it comes with a reality that I sometimes find gut wrenching. A feeling of, “is that it?” “Is this feeling meant to be my reward for all the years of suffering and hard work?” Unfortunately, I think this represents adulthood for many. The journey of discovery is like nothing else. My first Thorntons chocolate was heavenly, now I just feel fat. The more that journey can be “your own”, the more it can be full of failure, shithousery, shame, intuition and decisions that you yourself make, the better the eventual success will feel. That’s why I find the present frustrating, because I find making sense of it difficult, and sometimes sad. Whereas the future is where the mind is liberated. 

“He deals the cards to find the answer.”  

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Further Into The Rabbit Hole

It was the photo. Phil and Tiger wrapping, or at least trying to wrap their arms around the millions of dollars in front of them, led me to post a tweet calling the whole event putrid, futile and pathetic. I regret the pathetic part, it sounded “Trump-esk.” All along I felt that “The Match” was unnecessary. Here’s two guys, two great golfers, who are very wealthy participating in an event which has more in common with boxing than golf. And boxing, in particular the build-ups, became mostly farcical a while back. I’m not against people earning large sums of money, let me get that out there, but when it becomes this egregious, I find it off-putting. I thought that photo was pretty bloody egregious.

“Phil and Tiger are the reason you play for the money you do,” was a response I saw countless times. With some being more polite than others. I don’t mind being called a dickhead, or a cunt. Frankly, I think the “C” word is a great addition to the English language. What bothers me more is the simplicity in people’s thinking. I’m not going to sit here and state that Tiger Woods has had no impact on our prize funds, of course he has. But it would be just as foolish to say he’s the single reason it’s the case. It’s just not true. Is Federer the reason top tennis players are so rich? Are basketball players so rich because of Michael Jordan? I mean, the brick was impressive, is that why we pay so much for houses? All of sport has benefitted financially over the last two decades. David Frost in 1995 earned $357,000. In 2017, Sung Kang earned $1,900,000 for finishing in the same position. That’s an awesome jump, way outpacing inflation over the same period. In The MLB, the average annual salary in 1995 was $1,110,000 and in 2017 it was $3,950,000. The English Premier League is the one. In 1995, the average annual salary was £130,000 yet in 2017 it was £2,600,000. Pretty much every sport has seen enormous jumps in prize money, and no doubt over that time, amazing sportsmen have contributed to that, but there are many more reasons why this is the case, TV being the main one.

Does it mean that because I think there is more to it than just an individual, I don’t appreciate the individual? (I don’t even need to answer that question). But that’s where our polarised, narrow minded society is heading, all the while unable to think critically. Into the realm of nuance and complexity we need to go.

I once posted a chart of the M2 Money Supply on my Twitter. It’s complicated and hard to understand but I felt it was a necessary thing to do because as I understand it, it basically reflects the money supply (I could be wrong, I’m not an economist). This is important because it has an impact on inflation and interest rates, which are both significant when it comes to the economy. I should’ve really posted the M3 chart (though it looks much the same as the M2 chart) as that would have more accurately portrayed the point I was trying to make, and am about to make again. Golf and big corporations have always gone hand in hand. I suspect, one main reason for this is because golf is easy to play as you grow older, as opposed to say, football. Golf has forever been known as an “Old Man’s Game”, something I always begrudged at school, because it meant I couldn’t be a cool kid. One thing about older men though, is that they tend to have money. They also tend to own houses (maybe many), stocks, even companies. So, imagine for a moment that these ageing men who own companies and who are also interested in golf, all of a sudden start experiencing greater returns on their investments, their assets go up in value like never before, they have more cash in the bank and even better, they can pump money into a golf event on the PGA Tour and write some of it off because the PGA Tour is a Non-Profit organisation (should state here the fact that the PGA Tour makes huge charity donations itself). If I’m one of those men who has more money than ever before, thanks largely to the Federal Reserve (as seen in Money Supply charts), and I enjoy golf and want to maybe spread the game because it’s so great, I myself would probably pump money into the PGA Tour. Sky Plc, who show us the PGA Tour in the UK, their share price in 1995 started the year around $16 a share. By the time 2000 came around, it was over $100. CBS, who now own some of the PGA Tour rights, also had a share price of around $16 in 1995. Come 2000, it was peaking at around $140 a share. Tiger Woods came onto the scene around the turn of the century, and he was bloody awesome. But TV companies saw their own stock go through the roof, and nearly all of these companies were owned by men of a certain age, many of whom happened to be interested in golf. Put everything together, and we have enormous prize funds on the PGA Tour.

PGA Tour golfers have the Federal Reserve to thank before anyone else, because you guys (and myself) benefit directly from the companies whose very own stock and asset prices have soared over the last few decades. Without all that new money in the system, it simply wouldn’t be possible to play for so much money. This is why I dislike the argument people have thrown at me about Tiger and Phil, because like most things, there’s just more to it.

About the egregious part. Inequality isn’t new, and contrary to how it might feel, it’s not even the worst it’s ever been. But it is rising, and rising pretty fast. And I think it’s worth having a perspective on inequality, even if you’re the one at the top. Not just because I think it can help you become a better person by way of empathy, but selfishly, if you can get a sense for how bad it actually is, then you can prepare to hold on to what you’ve got when the eventual redistribution happens. History shows us it does happen. And history also shows that it doesn’t happen peacefully. That’s what disappointed me most about the photo of Phil and Tiger with all the money. It painted golf for a moment in a light which I think to many was off-putting. Worse still, this event by way of selling itself, has put golfers in the same basket of people who aren’t revered publicly, but who are often despised, due to their opulent wealth and seeming lack of awareness. This isn’t me trying to be righteous, or admitting I wouldn’t have participated in it because I’m “different”, it’s just me voicing concerns over an image which has already eroded people’s interest in sportspeople.

I don’t think we as sportspeople have an obligation to necessarily give back to the community beyond our taxes, that’s a choice. I do however think we as human beings, should have a better understanding of when and where to flaunt. At times like these, I think flaunting is a bad idea.

(Ps- I am aware I sometimes flaunt. I never said I was perfect)

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Form and Reflection

I’ve spent two weeks doing many things; eating, walking the dog, thinking, drafting blogs etc.. I really haven’t been sure what to write about, not because there aren’t things I want to say and messages I want to convey, but because those thoughts I’ve been having have been conflicting in a way. Dare I say it, my recent success has almost caused a sense of affliction, which in itself, is slightly depressing.

An example of this was the other day when after training, I fancied a coffee and some Thornton’s chocolates, as you do. I drove 10 minutes to the Orchard Centre in Didcot which has recently been renovated and now lies a Starbucks and an M&S food hall. I got my flat white and wandered up the hill towards Thornton’s, my mouth watering at the thought of demolishing a pack of Viennese truffles. Along the way though, I seemingly witnessed every man, woman and child, who while all appeared happy enough, clearly weren’t as privileged as me. Therein lies my first affliction; “but I’ve earned this privilege.” At this point I’m the recent beneficiary of being pretty good at something, though not sensational, but critically, now very wealthy. After all, only a few days ago over £500,000 was transferred into my bank account. Let’s go spend some money on coffee and fine chocolate. “At this point last year, I was probably writing a blog about Ryan Fox earning shit loads of cash and having the potential to buy a yacht, what is this system?” The irony. So I collect the chocolates, three packets for £9.50. Not cheap I know, but these aren’t your average chocolates. “There’s £10, keep the change, thanks.” The least I can do.

When it comes to money, I hope I have enough curiosity to stop it consuming me, and confusing me even more.

I remember back in February, sitting in my hotel room in Oman, talking to Jen on the phone and telling her how unhappy I was. I seriously did not want to be there. I wanted to be at home with her and the dog. I hadn’t played well at the start of the year and I was currently playing a golf tournament addressing the ball by the hosel, under the impression that I’d discovered something revolutionary that would change my form… Yeah, really. Fast forward a few months to the Monday of the French Open, and after another poor nights sleep due to a very un-British summer, the thought of travelling to France all of a sudden felt overwhelming. There wasn’t an ounce of me that felt ready to go and compete. I don’t like terms, but I was concerned I was depressed, or certainly experiencing an episode. So I withdrew right there and then without telling anyone. It took me an hour or so to tell Jen. I didn’t find telling her very easy. I lied to everyone else. I find lying generally despicable and soul destroying.

Here’s what’s crazy about being a golfer, and a human being I presume, is that days after feeling such emotions and having darker than ideal thoughts, you can go and achieve something really great. It’s totally fucking messed up. And that’s what leads me onto Form…

One thing Qatar and Scotland had in common, was that they both came after very recent emotional lows, if you like. But what makes them even more similar, is that in both cases I travelled to the event with something new to look forward to; working on form. (Technique) When I started with Simon Shanks (added his surname to bring some much needed comedy for a second here) in Qatar, we instantly worked on something new. As that week went on and as I obviously started to play better, which was almost entirely a byproduct of a new technical focus, my mental state changed. My alcohol consumption didn’t, but I’ll blame Dave at IMG for that. (… A theme is developing here…)

What I’d experienced in Qatar I then rediscovered in Scotland. I visited Mike Kanski (Phil Kenyon’s taller sidekick) at Formby Hall en route to the Scottish Open and we spent two hours together. It was an extremely productive session and we identified some significant technical flaws in my putting stroke. From there I continued on up to the Scottish Open with something technical to work on with my putting in the hope it would turn the ship around. It worked, and again, I was happier on the course, and in general. One thing I want to add about that journey to see Mike, was that Jen was instrumental in me going. We hit a traffic jam on the M40 and I was two hours late to the lesson. Mike kindly waited for me, but Jen forced me to go after I said a number of times how I should just not bother and get to Scotland at a reasonable time. Sometimes you need a reasonable person in your life, especially if you’re the golfer.

Success is so clearly down to the details you sometimes wouldn’t even consider.

So that privilege I felt at Didcot, was wrong. The money is what it is, but real privilege is having people like Jen, and Simon, and Mike. It affords me those Thornton’s. I suppose I’m still pretty sure It came about through decision making. After all, you need to plant the people in your life who give you oxygen when you’re most in need of it, like I was in Oman and the weeks before Scotland. So to them, the drinks are on me. 🍷

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