Erin Hills 

The road into Erin Hills is dusty, stony and bumpy. I’m in my Lexus though, number 212, so it’s cool. At the first checkpoint is a young lad with a policeman. They wave me through, I’m heading to Lot A. I drive a little further and soon reach checkpoint number 2. Another young lad, this time with no policeman, just his iPod. He’s actually sitting down and fast asleep. I cruise past him. Thought about beeping the horn but remembered I’m in on an ESTA. The road then turns right and takes a sharp left soon after, and it gets particularly bumpy at this point. My flat white is close to spilling. Now I head straight for about 300 yards, I can see the driving range on my left. The ginormous flags are blowing. I’m getting close to Lot A. A man is guarding checkpoint 3, waving a baton around. As I get really close it becomes clear that this guy is happy to be here. He’s not simply waving a baton, he’s doing a jig, smiling, and welcoming me into car park Lot A. This guy is a highlight. So I turn left and drive into Lot A. All I can see are brand new Lexus SUV’s. This is a major. This is the US Open. This is America.  

The first shot of every tournament is usually the most anxious I get. It can be a place that reaffirms things, but it can also be a place that causes panic, should things go awry. Thankfully this time, I hit a nice solid draw down the middle. My US Open started the way I left Austria; by hitting the driver well. This was maybe the most important moment of my week because it confirmed that everything I’ve done up until this point in preparation is correct, and repeatable. The lay up with a 4 iron is dead simple and I nailed it. I was left with under 100 yards into the green with quite a strong wind behind me. This is where Bob Vokey’s brand new 60 degree lob wedge comes out… For the first time to hit a shot of this nature. All of a sudden I’m shitting it a little bit. Because I’m now aware of the extra degree of loft, the thinness of the grip, and the sharper leading edge. Time to trust. Which I did nicely and played quite a brave shot, landing it behind the pin and spinning it back to six feet. I get to the green and they are pure. I’ve got an easy, slightly uphill, but still very fast left to right six footer. Again, time to trust. All I’ve worked on are left to right putts in practice to help me release the putter head. I aim it left lip, stroke it, in she goes. The Pepper Army are screaming already and I’m off to a perfect start. 

The ninth hole at Erin Hills can only be described as disgustingly wonderful. It was never more than a nine iron all week, yet never less than a headache. The pin on Friday is back left. Fairly accessible if you’re good at landing golf balls from 150 yards onto a car roof. The wind is from the right as it has been all week. I’m aiming slightly right of the flag, hoping to hit it straight and let the wind move it onto the pin, and praying it’s good for distance. I aim a little too far right in hindsight and the ball lands a couple of yards short of ideal and trickles down a tier to the edge of the green. I’m now thinking I can three putt this and be ok for the weekend. But I’m not kidding you when I say a four putt is possible. I’ve got a forty footer up the ridge, but downwind, and the hole is cut on a slight downslope as I putt to it. Which means anything too heavy handed could end up close to the bunker the other side. But I’m also very aware that if I’m short with it, it’s back to my feet. I hit a good putt, it hits the left edge of the hole and spits the ball five foot from the hole. I’m left with a right edge, five foot putt, knowing I’ve made the cut if I miss, but desperate to hole it so I can shoot under par because I’ve fought so hard to be in this position. I release the putter and in it goes. The stress, fear and anxiety I saw in my dad’s face all day washes away like a pint of lager. Those hugs on Friday after making the cut were nice. 

Weekends are when I climb the leaderboard, I’m telling myself as I wash my body with my Coco Sandalwood flavoured Molton Brown body wash. I’m ready for the weekend. The stress of Friday has passed and I know I’m playing well enough to go out and shoot a good score. Not 63 though. What the hell was that. Nobody can match Jonny Miller’s record of 63. Nobody is worthy. I left the course four shots back, 15 minutes later I left the BBC Radio 5Live studio seven shots back. My hopes of winning are pretty much dashed. But getting drawn out with Sergio Garcia soon wipes away any despair I’m feeling. 

Sergio Garcia even has his own grips. I made myself laugh on the first tee because I looked at his bag and I saw what it must be like to be your own affectation, minus all the self-serving narcissistic tendencies, because Sergio really is a nice guy. Just has his own grips, that’s all. Mind you, the blue ran off the grips and onto his glove. By the end of the round it looked like he had strangled a Smurf.  

It was the two foot tap in on the 72nd hole that I actually found to be most nerve wracking. At this point I knew things could only get worse. I became very aware of my putter grip pressure and had to remind myself that this two foot putt really isn’t difficult if you focus on the things that preceded this moment. 

Being able to shake hands with Sergio Garcia, edging him by a shot, not because I played great or he played bad, or because of anything even golf related, but because I dug in deep, knowing that this round was potentially the most important of my year, was very satisfying. I knew I wasn’t going to win, or finish in the top ten, so I was slightly disappointed, but I also knew that I left nothing out on that course all week. 

Tied 16th, I hope will one day be nothing to tell my grand-puppies about. But right now it’s as close as I’ve got to telling anyone what it’s like to walk away from a tournament feeling proud. 

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76 Responses to Erin Hills 

  1. Caro R says:

    Well done Eddie, really enjoyed watching you. Love the blog. Look forward to seeing you at THE Open. Good luck.

  2. Morgan Thomas says:

    Well Done Eddie were all very proud of you, you did such a great job, it was great to speak to you on the phone the other week after your game in Sweden. Wishing you all the very best Love Morgan x

  3. Kim says:

    Was thrilled to see your name on the leader board!!! Good luck the rest of the season!

  4. David Flynn says:

    Good to see you up there. Keep it going! Onwards and upwards.

  5. Jon bolter says:

    You made I larf , makes Willetts bro look amateur. Well done

  6. Peter wilks says:

    Nice one eddy keep it going a nd when your really famous don’t forget the blog
    All best for the future

  7. Mark Sykes says:

    Great blogs Eddie, good luck!

  8. Brian says:

    Hi Eddie, once again a great insight. Great golf well deserved result. Fnishing ahead of Sergio this years Masters champion and all the other top ranked players in the world many of who missed the cut should fill you with confidence. The hard work paying off so hopefully your season really kicks off from here.

    I had a little 300/1 e/w bet first 8 on you from the start which kept it interesting throughout the tournament. Enjoyed a nice bottle while watching on Sunday in your honour !

    Finally, inside the top 20 in a major is something many players never achieve in their career so walk away proud, very proud and rightly so.

    Kind Regards
    Brian

    PS. Are you still considering playing the NI Open at Galgorm ?

  9. Jim Duggan says:

    Well done Eddie and again brilliantly well written. Gives us hackers an idea of what it must be like!

  10. Andy MacArthur says:

    I knew it was just a matter of time before your good form would come back. The last three tournaments have all been very good. Best of luck in the BMW open starting tomorrow.

  11. Robert says:

    Very good showing at Erin Hills. Keep up the hard work and all the best in Germany.

  12. gerry jon mulryan says:

    Well done on that great finish at the US Open,love your blogs

  13. Keep the faith lad. Your game is good enough to land the big prize. Great to hear your inner thoughts are like the rest of us mortals. Look forward to seeing you doing it. Stu

  14. Paul Sheehan says:

    Great showing Eddie, really delighted for you, I’ve been telling my buddies what a good golfer you are since I saw you at the Irish open a couple of year ago, you are proving me right…onwards and upwards

  15. Alastair Taylor says:

    I don’t often comment on things but just wanted to say well done Eddie. I followed your week closely and was delighted for you. Keep moving forward!

  16. well done Eddie! Love your putts descriptions! 🙂

  17. James says:

    Well done, keep going and keep writing.

  18. Davy Kyle says:

    Ha ha ha – entertaining as always. Well done in the US of A !

  19. David Greenhalgh says:

    You played awesome and your blog gave a great insight into your life. Keep enjoying yourself and blogging.

    David G (a struggling senior golfer who still enjoys every round)

  20. iesharp says:

    Probably the best bit of golf writing I’ve ever read. Written with all the focus and concentration of a putt to win the US Open

  21. Sylvie LN says:

    Well done Eddie, so glad to see your name on the leaderboard, just keep going 👏🏻👏🏻

  22. Hew says:

    Great result, keep it up!

  23. Christopher Bright says:

    Well done Eddie. There are a lot of us rooting for you. Keep it up. Yours is the name I always look out for. Wonderful play. Now for The Open.

  24. Austin Meehan says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog entries! Couple decent results and you’ll have your card secure for next season!

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