18th tee- Turn into right hip, rotate left hip as fast as possible in transition and let it go. Necked the life out of it, but it’s down the middle. It’ll do.
18th fairway- Be precise with target. Same swing thoughts as the tee shot. Reach the top of my swing and the lake on the left enters my mind like Birdman. Fat push it into the rough. Awful shot. Worst of the week.
18th approach- Lie is awful. Between a Pitching Wedge and a 9 iron. Caddie, Mick Doran Doran, makes a great call and we hit the 9 iron. His words were, “best shot of the week.” I’d be inclined to agree.
Birdie Putt- It’s slippery and left to right. Feel it down there. ‘Don’t hit it 4 foot past’, I’m so ashamed of feeling that, it makes me feel weak. Lagged it up now over to you Oli.
Watching Oli Putt- I say it’s 50/50, but given the fact I won on the Challenge Tour in a playoff and lost the Irish Open in a playoff, I’m expecting another one. When Oli misses all I can picture is my dad and Mad Brummy Gazza going absolutely bloody mental.
Winning Putt- ‘Concentrate you bastard.’ Like I did all day on short putts, I just tell myself I’m at home in my putting room. Eyes still.
Winning feeling- If I could have thrown myself in the lake I would have, but I play with my wallet in my back pocket, and now isn’t the time to destroy my credit card.
A quiet mind.
This Monday I’ve woken up with what I suspect you’d call a proper hangover. I’ve never really suffered in the past with alcohol but today is slightly different. And my right bicep is genuinely sore from the strain of keeping aloft the heaviest oyster on earth. Both problems I’m more than happy to deal with. I didn’t think winning a tournament would give me as much satisfaction as it has. It’s made me realise my apathy and lack of interest is mostly a deception I’ve just played on myself. Clearly certain things mean more to me than I realise. Being a golfer all my life I suppose I should’ve known that what matters most is winning and being in a steady, loving relationship. Both are hard to achieve for golfers. One for more obvious reasons than the other. The other initial feeling I have is how much I’m enjoying the feeling that nobody beat me last week, not that I beat everyone else. I have a very small ego, in my opinion, life is over too fast for us all to have a big ego, but winning through strategy, thought and calmness is a feeling I definitely want to rediscover in the future, now I’ve felt it.
I want to say how much I respect Oli Fisher. His career has been far from normal. I joke with him about how he’s going to end up playing over 800 European Tour events and subsequently become the youngest professional golfer ever to suffer from Asperger’s syndrome. He knows this too. That’s why I really like him. From what I can tell, golf has beaten Oli up at times along with other people’s expectations, but he’s got a lot of character, and two friends on Tour in myself and Rory.
My caddie, Mick, received a lot of praise on social media for the way he performed yesterday. The fortunate thing for me is that he performs that way every day. He did however prove to me yesterday that a caddie can really make a difference when it matters most. He also has a wonderful energy. At 27 I’m already too cynical for my own good, but Mick’s desire to be a great caddie is having a positive effect on my own career in terms of staying motivated.
There was a nice irony in winning yesterday in the sense that I didn’t feel I played my best golf. After coming close to winning a number of times and not being able to, I’ve at times thought that I would need to play ‘sensational’ golf to finally get over the line. Yesterday proved to me that in fact isn’t the case. Getting the ‘job done’ yesterday came down to the more intrinsic parts of golf; course management, patience and clutch putts. I felt it was the two pars I made on 12 and 13 that really won me the tournament. Both times I had to hole 5/6 footers. I guess you could say that two big decisions I made last year in getting a putting green in my house and changing caddies, are continuing to manifest into something good.
The other big change that came about last week was that I worked with someone new from the Monday. In Oman I played all four days without a driver which I knew was entirely unsustainable and felt I had to get another opinion. The swing thought I had going all week I eluded to above at the beginning. It revolved around my hips. I struggle badly with the longer clubs at times mainly due to the amount of lateral shift I get in the golf swing. We worked on making my hips work much more rotationally. This made not only a huge difference to my driving, but also my short game, which went from being so-so to really very good last week. On top of this, under pressure I found it much easier to trust, as opposed to what I’ve always had to feel in the past, which would’ve been to speed my arm swing up, or slow my body speed down. My body naturally moves quite violently from the top so this feeling of rotation was a simple and to be honest, revelatory change.
There’s lots more I could say I guess, but that can wait. Above all though, I’m just so happy for my family and girlfriend, all of whom deserve the credit for constantly reminding me who I am. Christ, if I ever get above my station, my sister will put me right. She has a knack for four letter curses and pinpoint truth telling.
Time for a nice dog walk.