I suppose it makes sense to write my first blog of 2018 during my first flight of 2018. It’s been made easier by sitting in business class as opposed to economy, simply because I don’t have to deal with the anxiety that the person next to me can see what I’m writing. The process of exposing your innermost thoughts is way more embarrassing than the publication of them. In truth, I haven’t really got anything in particular to say so I’m just gonna roll with it and see where it goes….
Probably the biggest story of 2018 in golf will come down to one man: Tiger Woods. The fact that he is still the biggest draw in the game says so much about our world. Our obsession with image, personality and the past it seems, as opposed to substance amazes me. I say that with respect, i.e. not meaning Tiger can’t substantively impact the game moving forward (I think he can), but if he had of just won in Hawaii the way Dustin Johnson did, then the golfing world would be hyperventilating. Tiger can probably shoot 68 in his next event and receive more attention than Hideki Matsuyama did for winning at Firestone the way he did last year. It leads me to think that the days of awe-inspiring achievements are behind us. Instead all we are craving is a story, a comeback, controversy or even batshit crazy stuff like Conor McGregor boxing Floyd Mayweather.
The irony I enjoyed most about Tiger’s comeback event in the Bahamas was the way Rickie Fowler won it. I’m a big Rickie fan, as I am a Tiger fan, but for him to do that to the field on Sunday I thought was quite poetic. But the substance issue exists in pretty much every other walk of life, as I see it. Harry Kane scored more goals in 2017 than anyone, but because it wasn’t Lionel Messi, who cares? Donald Trump, for all of his flaws, is refusing to be paid to be the president, which basically means he’s saying he doesn’t want taxpayers money. But who cares, because he tweets stupid stuff now and again and isn’t the “PC”, career politician we all seemingly want…
Somewhere along the line our actions have become totally irrelevant. Unlike those 280 characters.
Before boarding this flight I listened to the No Laying Up podcast, “The Killhouse.” At one point they were talking about their favourite courses of 2017 and they mentioned The Old Course. It reminded me of my own experiences around the Old Lady. When I first played there years ago as a junior, I hated it. I couldn’t see what any of the fuss was about and I didn’t get it. But the more I’ve gone back, the more I’ve grown to love the place. I was also glad to hear one of the guys say how easy it is to hit the Old Course hotel… It is absolutely one of those places you must go and see, and of course play if lucky enough.
I think it was DJ on the podcast who spoke of his experience up the last hole where he fatted a wedge from 70 yards and then proceeded to stiff a putt from 30 yards. Again it reminded me of when I had pretty much given up en route to an 89 in the St Andrew Links Trophy a good few years back. I putted it from 100 yards on the 10th hole.
The field in Abu Dhabi this week is strong and it’s going to be awesome teeing off on the opposite side of the course to the big guns.
All seriousness aside though, it’s worth taking a look to see where the field has gone down to. It’s amazing actually to see how far down the list isn’t going. In 2013 when I was the 12th card from the Challenge Tour I ended up 1st reserve for Abu Dhabi and got into Dubai. Nobody from the Challenge Tour category is likely to play Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Malaysia this year. I don’t know exactly why this is, but it’s a bit of an issue for the Tour in my opinion. I think it’s now logical and totally respectable if you’re a Q School graduate to simply not bother even playing the European Tour this year and instead focus on the Challenge Tour. Having said that, if it’s the case that Challenge Tour guys aren’t getting into say, six of the biggest events, then I don’t know what the best play is. One answer I guess is just to win an event. After all, that’s pretty simple…
I’m not here to provide solutions. But I am attending my first committee meeting next Tuesday.
As a 26 year old man who has never sat in on anything truly important in my life, I’m at a little bit of a loose end as to how best approach my new role as an upholder of fairness and free hotel rooms for those who can most afford it. I’m not cool with being seen as the guy who criticises, and comes up with no solutions. I hate those people too. However, it’s a scary prospect to have to potentially vote on whether or not an individual should be fined for slow play when those extra 15 seconds could’ve given Hugh Heffner a wonderful last dying breath. Joking aside, I am excited to learn more about the Tour and put forward any opinions or ideas where I see fit.
Quickly to finish, I just want to make you aware of the equipment changes that I’ve made, so that you don’t have to ask me over Twitter.
Currently I’ve got the Titleist driver in the bag, but I am doing testing with TaylorMade before Abu Dhabi so will see on that front. Dustin’s performance in Hawaii inspired me to get back in touch with the ‘dark side’ and test. Callaway 3 wood and 5 wood. They’re bloody epic. Mizuno JPX irons. The ‘Tour’ heads, not the ones you’ll find on the shelf in your pro shop, sorry. Also I’ll be using the Mizuno wedges. Not only do they feel like a Mizuno, but they look like a Vokey*. And the Bettinardi blade remains in the bag after some incredibly average performances last year.
You may see, should I make it onto the TV in the near future, that I’ll be wearing a hat that is completely blank. I do not have a hat sponsor. So if you know anyone who would like to sponsor me, then divert them away from Twitter and show them my raw, emotive, and profound blog.
Here’s to a great 2018 for us all.
*Not 100% true.