Chinese Torture

Posted: 21st April 2008

Well that was some week, let me tell you. After teeing off on Thursday, having played terribly in the pro-am and with no real confidence in how I was controlling the ball, I endeavoured to keep an open mind as to how the day would pan out. Stood on my 15th hole at five under par, it just goes to show what keeping an open mind can do for your score.

However, after dropping all five of those shots over the final four holes - including two thinned bunker shots, one of which ended in a water hazard to lead to a triple bogey eight on my final hole - I did not know whether to laugh or cry.

The week continued in much the same vein, getting myself back to two under on Friday before dropping another four shots in three holes to leave myself in trouble of not making the cut, only to hole a miracle bunker shot on the 15th for birdie to stop the rot.

On Saturday I was five under for the day at one point, only to finish with two double bogeys, absolutely ridiculous stuff I know. You can imagine how I was feeling as I started Sunday bogey, double bogey, bogey. That's eight shots in four holes, leaving me in a seriously bad mood and The Jockey speechless - I guess something good always comes out of a bad situation.

So we continued to battle along in some of the heaviest rain we've played in for some time, on a tough golf course in Beijing. I was trying to finish with a flourish to carry on the momentum gained in Portugal but even that was beyond me this week. Twenty ninth position was not what we were after, especially having made the most birdies out of the entire field over the first three days, but that is where my final round of 79 left me. That, by the way, was the average score on Sunday, leaving Damien McGrane from Ireland to win his first title by the small margin of nine shots.

What a lovely way to win your first Tour event. I was lucky enough to win my first, the Aussie PGA, by seven and I was still nervous on the last green. Damien has been making steady progress over the last few years and it's great to see him get over the winning line.

So to get back to me, both myself and The Jockey were left very confused as after hitting the ball so well only a week ago, my game was nowhere to be seen for most of the week. All those birdies that came my way were the result of some good shots, of course, but if you don't know how you hit them then you can't repeat them and unfortunately that was the case all week long. My bad shots were far too bad which is always a sign that things aren't right. In Portugal, my misses were not that bad at all - that's the difference between a good week and a bad one.

I can only assume that without the eagle eye of Jamie Gough (no nickname yet in place) giving me the confidence to commit to the changes we're trying to make, my swing sank back into some old habits, but with my new set up position staying good I was left between the devil and the deep blue sea, having no feel for the shots at all. Now is the time to stay with the process and be patient. Change is always difficult, especially when you are competing, so next week will be a test of character as well I guess.

We now head to Shanghai for the BMW Asian Open. I haven't yet played in this tournament but I'm looking forward to it as I always have a good feeling about BMW events, having won two of them. So even though I drive a Jaguar S Type R, another piece of BMW silverware would not go amiss from the mantelpiece. The great thing about being a pro golfer is that there's always next week - just ask Damien McGrane.


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