Form and Reflection

I’ve spent two weeks doing many things; eating, walking the dog, thinking, drafting blogs etc.. I really haven’t been sure what to write about, not because there aren’t things I want to say and messages I want to convey, but because those thoughts I’ve been having have been conflicting in a way. Dare I say it, my recent success has almost caused a sense of affliction, which in itself, is slightly depressing.

An example of this was the other day when after training, I fancied a coffee and some Thornton’s chocolates, as you do. I drove 10 minutes to the Orchard Centre in Didcot which has recently been renovated and now lies a Starbucks and an M&S food hall. I got my flat white and wandered up the hill towards Thornton’s, my mouth watering at the thought of demolishing a pack of Viennese truffles. Along the way though, I seemingly witnessed every man, woman and child, who while all appeared happy enough, clearly weren’t as privileged as me. Therein lies my first affliction; “but I’ve earned this privilege.” At this point I’m the recent beneficiary of being pretty good at something, though not sensational, but critically, now very wealthy. After all, only a few days ago over £500,000 was transferred into my bank account. Let’s go spend some money on coffee and fine chocolate. “At this point last year, I was probably writing a blog about Ryan Fox earning shit loads of cash and having the potential to buy a yacht, what is this system?” The irony. So I collect the chocolates, three packets for £9.50. Not cheap I know, but these aren’t your average chocolates. “There’s £10, keep the change, thanks.” The least I can do.

When it comes to money, I hope I have enough curiosity to stop it consuming me, and confusing me even more.

I remember back in February, sitting in my hotel room in Oman, talking to Jen on the phone and telling her how unhappy I was. I seriously did not want to be there. I wanted to be at home with her and the dog. I hadn’t played well at the start of the year and I was currently playing a golf tournament addressing the ball by the hosel, under the impression that I’d discovered something revolutionary that would change my form… Yeah, really. Fast forward a few months to the Monday of the French Open, and after another poor nights sleep due to a very un-British summer, the thought of travelling to France all of a sudden felt overwhelming. There wasn’t an ounce of me that felt ready to go and compete. I don’t like terms, but I was concerned I was depressed, or certainly experiencing an episode. So I withdrew right there and then without telling anyone. It took me an hour or so to tell Jen. I didn’t find telling her very easy. I lied to everyone else. I find lying generally despicable and soul destroying.

Here’s what’s crazy about being a golfer, and a human being I presume, is that days after feeling such emotions and having darker than ideal thoughts, you can go and achieve something really great. It’s totally fucking messed up. And that’s what leads me onto Form…

One thing Qatar and Scotland had in common, was that they both came after very recent emotional lows, if you like. But what makes them even more similar, is that in both cases I travelled to the event with something new to look forward to; working on form. (Technique) When I started with Simon Shanks (added his surname to bring some much needed comedy for a second here) in Qatar, we instantly worked on something new. As that week went on and as I obviously started to play better, which was almost entirely a byproduct of a new technical focus, my mental state changed. My alcohol consumption didn’t, but I’ll blame Dave at IMG for that. (… A theme is developing here…)

What I’d experienced in Qatar I then rediscovered in Scotland. I visited Mike Kanski (Phil Kenyon’s taller sidekick) at Formby Hall en route to the Scottish Open and we spent two hours together. It was an extremely productive session and we identified some significant technical flaws in my putting stroke. From there I continued on up to the Scottish Open with something technical to work on with my putting in the hope it would turn the ship around. It worked, and again, I was happier on the course, and in general. One thing I want to add about that journey to see Mike, was that Jen was instrumental in me going. We hit a traffic jam on the M40 and I was two hours late to the lesson. Mike kindly waited for me, but Jen forced me to go after I said a number of times how I should just not bother and get to Scotland at a reasonable time. Sometimes you need a reasonable person in your life, especially if you’re the golfer.

Success is so clearly down to the details you sometimes wouldn’t even consider.

So that privilege I felt at Didcot, was wrong. The money is what it is, but real privilege is having people like Jen, and Simon, and Mike. It affords me those Thornton’s. I suppose I’m still pretty sure It came about through decision making. After all, you need to plant the people in your life who give you oxygen when you’re most in need of it, like I was in Oman and the weeks before Scotland. So to them, the drinks are on me. 🍷

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44 Responses to Form and Reflection

  1. Keith says:

    Maybe talk to Thornton’s about that empty space on your cap….?

  2. Paul B says:

    Excellent, as always !

  3. Interesting about addressing the ball with the hozel – played with Bernard Langer in a Pro Am and he was doing the same thing – somethiing to it????

  4. Been waiting for this since the form turned around, did not disappoint.

  5. Daniel Love says:

    Eddie your a breath of fresh air. I’m a 14 handicapper due to play an open comp at Pollock GC in Glasgow and five minutes before I was due to tee off I felt the WTF am I doing here and just could not handle the pressure of hitting off the first tee in front of a dozen people and a French poodle. World’s apart and night n day from your situation but you have a God given talent and a work ethic so stick with it Eddie and all the best in your career.
    Regards
    Danny Love 🍀

  6. Michael Cox says:

    Hi Eddie – I never usually comment but after another good performance at the Open after the Scottish and a little wager of £10ew the least I can do is say thanks for the winnings and for an amusing and interesting article – I always enjoy your eloquent ramblings!! As a very keen golfer that also has two young kids and a dog (and a full time job) I am both understanding of your frustrations of the game and “form” but also envious of your career. You are blessed, enjoy and keep winning

  7. Chris Spearing says:

    Thought provoking as ever. Keep your feet on the ground Eddie and I don’t mean in your swing…

  8. John Burnett says:

    Eddie, you know you have a great career alternative if you ever give the day job! Keep on entertaining us with your unique writing style! As always nothing less than totally entertaining!

  9. Sanford H Barber says:

    I admire you very much and not just your golf.

  10. Brian Sugden says:

    Please continue to keep us entertained with your golf and thoughts.

  11. Phil Gibbs says:

    Hi Eddie. Another interesting read. You obviously have a comfortable lifestyle but you seem at a bit of a standstill with golf. You ask what the top 5 in a the world’s goals are and they’d all say majors, majors, majors and the odd WGC thrown in for good measure and their whole year seems based around those. I’d be interested to know what yours are. Ryder Cup?; Olympics in two years time? Or you can tell me to mind my own business!

  12. Never a dull moment Eddie, I always read your blog with an open mind and always reflect afterwards on just how thought provoking it is.
    My wife Jen is my rock and has helped me through some difficult times over the last 20 years.
    Keep up your excellent form and who knows you may need to take your clubs to Paris at the end of September.

  13. Raj says:

    I’ve backed you as my outsider e/w for 18 months now as I find your honesty and candour refreshing Didn’t back you at the Open, and I don’t know how I feel about you anymore Edward

  14. Kim says:

    Love Love Love this!

  15. Nibs Webber says:

    As always putting golf in a wider perspective and adding a genuine person insight in what may be seen as a glory life style.
    Here’s hoping for further success and that level headed approach to life as it is now.
    All at JMS proud of you from Nibs

  16. Andy MacArthur says:

    It may, or it may not help you, but please remember that when you feel not so great and you are playing far from home, there are quite a number of people watching (your scores) you and willing you to do well. You don’t really know me (I’ve said hello a couple of times including in the Greyhound!) or my work colleagues who religiously ignore our work to Skype each other with your score after each hole (thanks to the European Tour website), but we are there in the background wishing you the best and hoping you do well. As for the money – you won it fair and square so enjoy your chocolates!

  17. Nick says:

    Well done Eddie, this was great read mate. Hope you’re descent form continuous and you’re right up there where you deserve to be

    Congratulations

  18. Clifford J Ferguson says:

    Hi Eddie, A great piece, combined with your article in yesterday’s Sunday Times, provides a brilliant insight into the true world of the professional golfer – BRILLIANT.

    Sent from my iPhone Dr. Clifford J. Ferguson Chairman Glad’s House

    >

  19. electronictonic says:

    Enjoyed reading that, Simon Shanks, also has brother called Harry Hosel, and a sister called Sally Slice. I am deffo of the same mindset, I don’t care if what I say offends someone it just comes out without thinking

    I came across this a while back https://www.elitedaily.com/dating/find-yourself-a-weirdo/1052393
    this part rings very true

    If you’ve found someone brave enough to be him or herself in this world of standardized proportions and fixed ideals, adore that person.
    If you’ve found someone strong enough to hold on to his or her childlike sense of wonder, to be completely and utterly free and uninhibited, cherish that person.
    If you’ve found someone liberated enough to be a complete and utter weirdo, never let that person go.

    There are many big name players that have PR teams to speak for them, shit scared of speaking their mind, trying to protect an image etc it’s better to be true to yourself than hide behind some facade, at least you can say that about yourself, that’s one good thing about not having a sponsor is you can say what the fk you like without being dropped like a lead balloon 5 minutes later!.

  20. Chris reeve says:

    Love your blogs Eddie – so open and honest -just brilliant

  21. Oliver Stranney says:

    Eddie

    Really like reading your blogs.

    They’re well written and make you think

    Oliver

  22. Jim Duggan says:

    Great article Eddie, as usual! My €5ew is paying dividends now! Delighted for you and all the very best of luck for the rest of the season.

  23. Gerry Lewis says:

    Thanks for this, Eddie.

    All the best for you.

    Thanks,

    Gerry Lewis

  24. I reblogged this on the street photographer’s guide because I like the angle on perspective.

    You sound like a good person just don’t feel like you don’t deserve what you have. One thing is your job, another is the privilage the exposure gives you. Enjoy it. Embrace it. You are good at something you have close friends and a dog who loves you. Outside Chocolates what else is there?:) Jimmy

  25. nickluton says:

    You should feel really proud Eddie, not just of the improvements you’ve seen in your golf game recently (that have been rightly recognised and rewarded) but for the humility and appreciation you’ve shown to the people you’ve chosen to surround you. Great to read you’re views and gain an honest insight into the life of a professional golfer, the ups and the downs and the backstories that underpin the headlines. All the best for the rest of the season.

  26. Laurie says:

    Very insightful and honest Eddie, you have a good support network to get you through and I have no doubt you are mentally strong enough. Keep writing and always be true to you.

  27. Rod Galilee says:

    great blog, a great insight, written with great humility.
    Really pleased for you & your “success” not the monetary bit but the emotional bit.
    Keep enjoying life & you will be a truly “rich” man, the red wine does help keep all in perspective.
    Rod

  28. Francis E says:

    Am reading ‘The power of negative emotion’ as one of my summer reads. V interesting concepts and thought processes explored therein

  29. Paul T says:

    Well done Jen. Stay grounded. Enjoy this wind behind your sails as all here know you have earned it and then some.

    I was much looking forward to your media contribution to The Open but v happy you played. You know two things now. You can play the game and when you put the clubs in the attic a career in golf writing or, as the UK’s Johnny Miller beckons. and later a book “My life and soft times”.

  30. Allen Hilton says:

    I follow you on Twitter for two main reasons, EP: one, when we daft Americans joined Frilford Heath Club for a sabbatical summer in 2014, you were kind enough to step away from a practice session long enough to sign then-8-now-13 year old Isaac’s hat and wish him well. and two, this sort of candor and honest seRching through your life. bravo for your good golf AND your good quest for life well lived!

  31. Allen Hilton says:

    also, you are just damn funny!

  32. This is the first time I have read a golfers blog,or any sportspersons ramblings. I am happily impressed with your insights and style. I will keep an eye on your trajectory. Please consider the nature of absolute versus relative wealth and how it can distract the absolutely wealthy. If you ever visit Ireland please consider a seminar with the “Off the ball” guys. The have a wonderful all sports programme on newstalk fm that you would enjoy.Please invite me. Good health and contentment, The rest is rubbish……….Gerry

  33. electronictonic says:

    I recommend listening to Trance especially more when your feeling down, it has a way of pulling you in like no other music can, you get transported and completely lost in it’s world, been listening to it since 1997 so I know what I am talking about! most people don’t give it a chance though, so I don’t hold my breath when trying to open peoples mind to it!.

  34. David James Welch says:

    Hi Eddie, I have never read your blog until today and I am truly impressed with your eloquence and honesty. However, what is truly standout about this is the human side. The feelings of self doubt and the reasons why we do what we do when we are feeling low, is truly therapeutic to the average bloke like myself. I truly wish you all the best for the future but whatever happens in your career, keep writing, you have a true gift. Kind regards Dave Welch

  35. Sam says:

    I like the honesty here – many would do almost anything, me included, to hit the ball like you and have the life you live. But it must be extremely tough at times. Generally would like people like you to have success because I feel people like us would have an insight into how that feels and what you do with it as it seems you’d continue to be honest and write about it.

  36. John Elliot says:

    Great blog as always and enjoy your most recent success.

    Good luck this wek and btw… You likely already know, but if not, last night on SiriusXM PGA The Fred Couples show, you were chosen as the Darkhorse to win this weeks PGA Championship…. do it! 🙂

  37. Eva B. says:

    The sheer rawness of your writing is so refreshing! Love the humility, candor, vulnerability and humor! It makes for a great read for us weekend warriors who love the game of golf, even when the game seemingly hates us at times. Keep up with the amazing blogs…& Good Luck at Bellerive this weekend… Cheers 🍻!

  38. Paul Evans says:

    very proud of you young man, good luck at The PGA

  39. JC Long says:

    Eddie

    A great longtime friend of mine Matthew “Bomber” Harris who is a professional photographer sent me your commentary that I find hilarious and quite interesting.

    Please continue sending my way to Charleston, South Carolina.

    Continued success and my thanks !

    Cheers,

    JC Long

  40. Hi Eddie. A great book to add to your reading list (assuming you haven’t read it already) is the The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance by George Mumford.

  41. Hew says:

    Good read, keep up the posts.. and the form!

  42. Anna-Lena Rydén Lund says:

    I am sorry that you will not compete in Sweden this week! Why?? Regards your Swedish fan Anna-Lena Lund 😐

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