St Andrews was a memorable week in more ways than one. I won’t forget the feeling that ran through my normally apathetic bones when I saw that putt drop on the 16th green on Sunday. And the feeling I had as I saw my tee shot on 17 sail into a sea of yellow bricks was reminiscent of the lonely, dark, lost sensation I had at Wentworth two years ago when I pulled my 3-wood out of bounds. “Golf can be a cruel mistress” is what a friend of my girlfriend text her.
But to play golf on the biggest of all stages at St Andrews in an Open Championship is truly what dreams are made of. To step on the 1st and last tee, everyday, knowing that barring some sort of bodily malfunction a fairway will be found, and a birdie putt probable, is comforting. The week started well for me making a nice birdie at the 1st. Giving the “Pepper-Army” something to cheer for early, made the trip already rewarding. In terms of my game, I felt frustrated most of the week. I felt like I was pushing to make things happen but couldn’t quite get them too, until Sunday of course. Friday and Saturday were probably more frustrating for the spectators than the players. We get fussed over and asked about how tough it must be, but in all honesty, my lack of reasoning when attempting to answer that question during the week suggests to me it’s not that tough at all. After all, I hopped over the wall, walked across the 17th fairway and got back into bed. Not before meeting Gordon Strachan on the way! (legend)
The competition couldn’t have asked for a better finish in my opinion. There were the usual suspects up there and when Spieth holed that putt on 16 it looked for the world that he would sail to another amazing victory. But 17 is a tough cookie, I can attest to that. I read that Jason Day lost two shots during the re-start saturday morning and that that may have cost him winning. I’m not convinced. Golf tournaments are won too often by such small margins. To me this suggests that the web of cause and effect is nearly always at work. Jason Day is a good enough player to have won a major by now, and comfortably. The fact he hasn’t arguably has something to do with this phenomenon. And it was fitting I suppose that Zach Johnson lifted the trophy on a course almost as old as the God he believes in. I’m beginning to think there may be something in this God malarky…
Looking ahead I feel that the experience of shooting a low round in a major will stand me in good stead. And the nice messages and compliments I received after that round gave me great confidence. It’s sometimes hard to see yourself objectively and so reading and hearing those words must mean that I have some good things going for me. I’m under no illusions however that my swing needs to get tighter and more controlled moving forward, and that’s something I’m excited about.
There is one more thing worth mentioning… I’m not lonely! Obviously the BBC article which came out the weekend of the Scottish Open got a fair bit of publicity in the golfing world, and I have been asked about it endlessly since. I thought it was a great article and Ben Dirs’ writing added something really nice to the piece. However there were quotes in it that were from my blog over two years ago. I’m keen to point out that those were my feelings at that particular time and many hours have elapsed since then. One thing that has been great is how many players have taken time out to say how they were impressed with the article and one has even asked to sit down and chat with me! This means a lot as it’s my peers I respect the most. To be called “the REAL most interesting golfer in the world” however is wayward. I’m not entirely comfortable with that sort of attention. It’s only a matter of time before people will be disappointed to find out all I really like doing is eating Twiglets and watching Game of Thrones.
Up next for me it is the USPGA, my third major. Only one away from the Grand Slam!