Mixed Emotions

Just as Valderrama peeled off some of the rust in my game after seven weeks off, so too did it inspire me to dust off the cobwebs from my keyboard. It takes special places and experiences sometimes to force you to sit up and take notice. This would’ve been felt across the board by many players last week. Whether you’re a rookie on the Tour and feel like you have just been in a car crash, or whether you’re someone like me, who despite knowing how challenging golf can be at this level, still felt as though the airbags weren’t enough to prevent a sore impact. 
Sometimes it’s best to forget and move forward. That would be understandable considering Valderrama is a course, particularly when set up the way it was, that is comparable to a fright night experience at Thorpe Park. Only worse. Meltdowns and “head-offs” are commonplace at Valderrama. Not me though. Admittedly I’ve had my moments in the last year where I would’ve made The Riddler seem pretty psychologically intact. But last week I was remarkably calm despite continuing the poor form that has plagued me for a while now. 

And that’s what makes me think things could change. The tipping point may have just been reached. Because for too long I’ve felt so deeply frustrated and totally disillusioned with my game out on the golf course. In fact, the last six months have proven to be maybe the most frustrating period of my career. Certainly since I was ill with glandular fever back in my late teens. There’s been a real sense of stagnation and that’s a feeling any sportsman or person with ambition detests. The harder I’ve tried, the worse it’s got and the more angry I’ve felt. And so consequently there has almost been a resignation in recent months out on the course for me. That feeling of Groundhog Day. And what’s possibly perpetuated the feeling is the fact I’ve been making cuts! It’s bad enough being in 50th place for two days, let alone four. 

But when the coin is flipped, it does show a positive. It’s what I just mentioned; the fact that I’ve made cuts. Because unquestionably two years ago I would’ve missed every cut so far this year. I really feel as though not one aspect of my game has been firing. (Apart from my hips from the top) And as Andrew Johnston wins in Spain, a guy who I know from my junior days and who we as a family really have a lot of time for, I’m making the same mistakes, day in, day out. The feeling is reminiscent to when I was 18 and fell ill and had to watch everyone I had worked hard to become better than overtake me. 

That’s why experience is crucial. Because when I look back to when I was 18, I see a broader picture of progression. And that’s how I’ll eventually look back at this period I believe. Progression isn’t always made during the wins, it’s often cemented during the downturns in form. Cuts made when playing way below your top level is progress. And while for me it’s frustrating to not be seeing more good stuff, it’s promising to see that I can still play four days golf at this level. 

It’s worth telling you a bit more about AJ though. “Beef” is a legend. I first came across him during regional training when I was probably around 15 or 16 years old. He was always thick set, strong, and bubbly. If he wasn’t talking about Arsenal he was bobbing his head along to some grime on his iPod. (Which by the way, is a genre of music) A white Dizzee Rascal in another life maybe. He was a brilliant junior, played for England and was progressing well. Then his dad died. I remember his dad used to come to tournaments like all the dads, but he never got involved in the petty shit that poisons morale. He, like my dad and a few others, saw their kids as people doing what they loved with potential and not some future money maker. I believe he died from a brain tumour in the end. And all this happened after AJ was suspended from England golf after celebrating a Boys Home Internationals victory a little wildly by getting locked out of his room in just his boxers, strolling down the road to the golf club and sleeping in the clubhouse. Only to be found the next morning and subsequently have the police interrogate him. Yes he may have had a few drinks the night before but so what. His world must have been turned upside down for a while. And so to see him win in Spain, nearly a decade on since his dad died, provides me and my dad with more joy than I have ever felt at another persons success. 

Stories are what make life interesting and AJ’s story is raw and powerful.  

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31 Responses to Mixed Emotions

  1. LoadsofBirdies&Pars says:

    Fantastic insight Eddie -please keep posting & best wishes for the season.

  2. Gary Garvey says:

    Welcome back.

    Looking forward to reading your blog hopefully more regularly over the coming weeks and months.

    Good luck for the rest of the season.

  3. Amy says:

    Love reading your entries. You’re so right, it take experiences outside our comfort zone to widen our horizons and appreciate what we have got. We just need to learn to indulge in these experiences, often easier said than done. I especially like your point that progress is made in the downturns and your selfless recount of AJ’s success. Please keep posting!

  4. Ingrid Stam says:

    Great to hear from you again , and so glad you are happy to play golf again , we all know how talented you are , so just keep going and love what you do .
    Also love the story about beef , great first win for him .

  5. Ken Bowditch says:

    Thank you for your insights in the game. It is always good to read your blog and good to know you are back. good luck with the rest of the season.

  6. Dave Everett says:

    Good to have you at the keyboard again and best of luck on the course. Pick a good attitude and a good line. After that it’s all muscle memory

  7. DavidMatson says:

    Eddie,

    Welcome back! What a nice thing it must be to have you as a friend. We’ve missed your posts, and thought this one was something that AJ and all his friends must have appreciated. You have fans in San Diego.

    David and Sigrid

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  8. Martin Wake says:

    Enjoyed your spell in the commentary box at the Spanish Open. Very informative. Wish you best of form for the remaining tournaments in 2016. We’re rooting for you.

  9. Great to have you back posting, have missed your honest insights on tour life. Keep swinging, you have a lot of support out there!

  10. Peter Goodall says:

    Echoing the comments above, its good to have an update from the tour. I look forward to seeing you heading up the leaderboard for the rest of the season. The Open de France would be a nice place to peak and your French fans will be there.

  11. stuart127 says:

    Great post. Generous words. Fantastic to hear that confidence is on the up. Keep on keepin’ on!

  12. Nibs Webber says:

    Well done Eddie; great philosophy and conveyed thoughts. You deserve success after all you did get 10/10 in your GCSE golf assessment!!! Nibs webber

  13. Love reading your blog Eddie. I wish you all the best for the rest of the season. As a decent-ish golfer myself (handicap 5), you inspired me to blog about something personal too. I’ve now written 6 blog posts about living with Type1 Diabetes… and I even have a sign-off like yours!! https://persistenthummingbird.com/

  14. Graham Yates says:

    Nice one Eddy, I need you back in my Fantasy Team.

  15. Nick Presley says:

    Eddie, it’s great to have you back. You demonstrate an amazing degree of maturity and honesty in your writing that proves you’ve got what it takes to enjoy a long and successful career. AJ’s win was fantastic. Your time is coming. Rooting for you.

  16. Thanks Eddie. For a young lad, you know a lot of stuff about life.

  17. Martin says:

    How I agree with the other replies. I have missed your blogs , full of honesty and insight. You obviously appreciate your talent and now it’s just a case of managing it and getting higher up the leader board. Good luck, and please keep us informed!

  18. Frank Fitzsimmons says:

    Well said Eddie, well said. Glad you are back ‘on the prowl’ so to speak, and back on the web again. Best of luck on your season!

  19. Jerry Gray says:

    Very well put Eddie. Best of luck this season on the third and fourth days…

  20. honest as ever- good to see you back a the keyboard

  21. Indeed it is good to have you back at the keyboard. Insightful and honest as ever. Form is temporary and class is permanent, Eddie you are class. Just as a top teams (maybe not Chelsea and Reading!) can still get a result when not playing well, you still make cuts. Keep working as I know you will and the form will return

  22. Lee Faulkner says:

    Yet again another inspirational blog for so many. It’s good to hear that you’re more content with you’re game and I’m sure that an happy Eddie will reap the rewards on the course. They always say that golf is a thinking mans game. And you’re certainly a thinker and your talent is unquestionably. It will all come together. I’m sure AJ’s family appreciate your kind words. Awesome first win the “beef” (yours will come).

  23. Jim donachie says:

    Sounds to me that you have got life into its proper perspective. Now go do what you are good at and don’t forget to enjoy. And if for any reason you are playing in the RBC Canadian open and you need a caddy give me a shout. I’d be delighted to help.

  24. Aidan Mcgrath says:

    Love the insights Eddie and nice to hear you elated for mates win. Watched ya in RCD in Irish open last year. Form is temporary class is permanent.

  25. Emily johnston says:

    Hey Eddie, this is Emily, Andrew’s sister. What a lovely post and words about him and our Dad. We had many a fun time with you and your family during the amateur years, especially in St Andrew’s with your lovely Dad. I also remember a certain phone call to another player that caused some upset! Fun memories. We are all so proud of Andrew and love that yourself, Andrew, Tommy and few others are on tour together, and making a living doing something you enjoy and are all so talented at. I hope we will see you and your family at our golf day in August. Thanks again, we were all so touched by this.

    • Michael Campbell says:

      Hi Emily – is this golf day open to the public. A colleague of mine met Andrew at Wentworth on the w’end and thinks he’s the great bloke ever. We would love to come and play in your golf day if that is possible. Cheers Mike

  26. wazmn says:

    THANKYOU for sharing – truely great to have you back on the keys.
    I feel very sad to have missed the tournament on television – especially after reading this, but most of all happy to have you back. Please, please consider to keep up with this. I know – it takes time – but please try; it is very inspiring.

  27. Hew says:

    A great post, and good to see you back online. I look forward to more posts as/when you find the time.

  28. Hey Eddie this is Beef’s brother James here, I remember those home internationals very well, it was a classic Beef performance on and off the course. thanks for such kind words and memories of my old man. It means a lot to me and the family.
    See you out on the course soon mate.

  29. Gorbo says:

    Hey Eddie – i made money on you at the Open last year and will be backing you again this year, esp after learning a bit more about you from your posts. Head up not down (except when playing) and remember, most of your readers will wish they had half the talent that you have

  30. It’s genuinely very difficult in this full of activity life
    to listen news on Television, therefore I only use internet for that
    reason, and get the hottest information.

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