It has been really good to get back to a normal routine of taking the boys to school then hitting balls at Deeside over the past couple of days. Craig and I played at Deeside as he finished his prelim exams yesterday and doesn't go back to school till tomorrow. We had a halved match with both of us shooting 6 under (now you understand how he beats me from time to time) He played very nicely this morning and has improved hugely. He also got his provisional driving licence through the post the other day. Where does the time go eh?
Post WGC Accenture Matchplay
“Welcome to the good old US of A. “ It had been 4 years since I had caddied in the states. I didn’t even get through customs atPhoenixAirportbefore I was reminded of how different things were over here. “You’re a professional golf caddie?” asked the confused customs official. “ On a good day “ I replied. She retorted “I didn’t know there was such a thing. You couldn’t sign up for that when I was at college!!. Ye’all have a nice day now” as she sent me on my way. After a flight of almost 11 hours , I wasn’t in much of a mood for a chat. I was actually quite relieved. A technical hitch with Paul’s visa had left him within 5 minutes of missing the flight. He had resigned himself to missing the flight , as I had. As I queued at the gate , I looked round to see Chippie racing up the escalator , grinning from ear to ear…problem solved!!
The course at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club had been carved out of the desert , and from the air , it is a pretty spectacular sight. It was in fantastic condition and was a great test for matchplay , with four reachable par 5’s , and two driveable par 4’s. We had two days good preparation , with a lot of emphasis on the short game. The greens were very undulating , meaning pins would be in tight spots , and it would be difficult to fire at flags without leaving yourself in awkward spots. Matchplay is a very different animal. You can play great and get beaten , or play poorly and win. Our first opponent was Justin Rose….no easy start for us. After going one down at the second hole , Paul stepped into gear. By the turn he was two up , and never lost the lead. Had his putting matched his ball striking , it would have been over by the 15th. However we had to go up the 18th to close out the match 1 up. Job done and on to Thursday , where we faced the Japanese wonder kid Ryo Ishikawa. It was hard to believe he is only 19 years old. He isJapan’s answer to Tiger Woods. This was evident walking down the first hole , as we where followed by over 20 press and photographers. Bizarre!! The game itself was almost identical to our first round match, with Paul being in control throughout the match , but not being able to shake of his opponent. Again we had to go down the last hole to finish the game off. Nevertheless , it was another excellent victory , and we were through to the last sixteen. We now faced Martin Laird , an exiled Scot who plied his tried on the PGA Tour. This was a always going to be a toughie. The previous day he had eight birdies in 16 holes in his defeat of Matteo Manassero This was almost a local game for Laird , who lived less than two hours down the road. Momentum is such a huge part of matchplay , and we were up against it from the start , losing the first two holes. Laird was steady as a rock , and didn’t miss anything on the greens inside 10 feet. In the end , we lost out 3 & 1. It was a pity the two Scot’s were paired against each other , but a least we had one Jock in the quarter finals , even if he did have a mid Atlantic drawl!!!
Within 1 hour of leaving the golf course , Chippie and I were in a car , heading to the airport. We were home by Saturday tea-time. The joys of modern travel!!! It was certainly a very different week. You tee off in the morning , knowing you could be going home that day , but there is also the huge feeling of satisfaction in winning your match , and progressing to the next round. The result was a 9th place finish. Another top ten , and a few quid for the Race toDubai. Not a bad week all considered. We get a week off now before The Cadillac World Championship , which is held inMiami. Back to the states again . Have a nice day folks……..
It was very frustrating today, I got off to a poor start against Martin Laird by taking 5 at the first two holes. Martin played steady and putted magnificently, holing 6 putts on the back nine alone from around 6 feet. I didn't play quite so good and again struggled to hole putts but none the less its another top ten and some world ranking points so its all really good. I fly home tonight with "You're the man" and "Get in the hole" ringing in my ears!
I had another close game against Ryo Ishikawa which finished on the 18th green with me winning one up. Today was a carbon copy of yesterday, I hit it lovely but holed very few putts. I certainly haven't putted poorly, I just haven't holed many. The greens were a little firmer and a fair bit quicker today which makes it tricky. I play Martin Laird tomorrow for a place in the quarter final......it should be good fun.
It was a pretty close game against Justin this morning but I won 1up. I hit it really good all day and putted nicely but still missed quite a few. I was up early again this morning so I'm hoping for a longer lie in tomorrow.
I played 9 holes early this morning on my own, it was a little bit chilly again. The course was a little firmer and faster then yesterday. I had lunch with Peter Hanson and Robert Karlsson then spent a couple of hours on the short game area. The greens have a lot of movement on them so short game will be very important this week. I went back to the hotel early and went to the gym for an hour.
I arrived in Phoenix at 7pm last night and I was up early this morning with jeg lag. I spoke to Marian on skype then headed for some breakfast. I was the first player on the range and the first player to tee off. The course here at Dove Mountain is pretty long with small greens that have some big slopes. The penalty for missing the fairway this week quite severe with scrub and desert only a few yards from the rough. I hit it nice this morning. We play Justin Rose on Wednesday which will be a tough game but I suppose all games will be tough this week.
Until my new website is completed, you can read my caddie's blog here........
After the celebrations of the victory in Qatar , it was back to work on Tuesday in Dubai. I turned up at the locker room at 7.30 am , to find Paul holding a designer carrier bag. “A little thank you for you” he said. He had been presented with a Rolex watch for the win in Qatar , which he passed on to me. A classy touch , to match the watch itself. Thanks Chippie!!!
We had a chilled out run up to the tournament. A couple of hours practice on Tuesday , and the pro-am on Wednesday. The pro-am was actually good fun. After 3 or 4 holes , our team had scored no birdies , so Chippie offered a prize for the person to get the first birdie. Next hole , bang…. Two birdies. The two guys were ecstatic. So much so , that one of them suggested a kiss from Paul as the prize!!!!! This was of course firmly tongue in cheek(not in the literal sense) , but it still made Paul squirm a little , and made me laugh a lot!!
For the first two rounds we were drawn with Lee Westwood , and Alex Noren. An excellent draw. The fortunes of the three players pretty much covered the golfing spectrum for two days. Chippy played some nice stuff , especially with the irons , but struggled with the driver and putter. Lee played flawless golf. For two rounds he had 60 putts , but was still 10 under par. Poor Alex had a week to forget , which was surprising , as we had played with him a couple of times recently , and he was pretty impressive. Chippie made the cut with a couple of shots to spare , which was a decent effort ,after the exertions of Qatar , and also bearing in mind it was our fourth week in a row. On Saturday , Paul felt rested and refreshed , and returned a 3 under 69 , moving us into the top 30 going into Sunday. Windy conditions on the final day meant anything under par would move us up , but fatigue and frustration eventually caught up with us. Again some nice iron play set up some good chances , but Chippie struggled again with the blade. By the time we got to the 17th , he was pretty much burnt out. This was evident when his lob wedge from 96 yards , came to rest about 8 feet from the hole. Not a bad shot normally. Chippe let out a grunt of displeasure. Frustration was winning. That’s when you know you’re ready for a break. Our playing partner Jamie Donaldson turned to me and said jokingly”Did he miss the cut last week” We dropped to just outside the top 40 for the week, but it was another job done , and time to go home
Paul wasn’t sure wether to play in Dubai , but he decided to keep going , and it proved worthwhile , as he moved up to 45th in the world rankings. We now have a week off , before heading to Arizona for the Accenture World Matchplay Championship. This will be the first of many big tournaments this year. Lets get stuck in……
I was at First Goup headquarters on King Strret this morning for a press conference and to unveil a bus with my name and logo, which was really cool and a very nice touch by them. I then headed down to Pittodrie for lunch with Craig Brown and Archie Knox which as always was great fun and nice to meet the players.
I got home from the Middle East on Monday morning, it was great to see Marian and the boys after four weeks away. We had a chipper supper (cana beat it) I have hit some balls with the boys at Deeside the last couple of days as they were on their mid term break. My sleep has been all over the place as you can imagine with the four hour time difference. Michael was back at school today and Craig was in for an exam so I hits balls at Deeside and spent some time on my short game.
Dubai 4RD 71+70+69+75=285 (-3)
There was a lot more wind today and it was blowing from a different direction. My short game was the worst ever today, I had 0/7 from inside 50 yards which was incredibly bad. I struggled again with the driver but hit some beautiful iron shots. I still can't quite believe I shot 75 with a double bogey 7 at the last, it's a pity as I've played some nice stuff this week but it wasn't to be. I head home tonight which I'm really looking forward to after four weeks away.
Dubai 3RD 71+70+69=210 (-6)
I shot 69 today, I drove it much better and could easily have been three or four shots less but overall three under is never a bad score round here. The forecast is for strong winds tomorrow. Stephen Gallacher is in with a shout for tomorrow, I wish him all the best.
Dubai 2RD 71+70=141 (-3)
Hugely frustrating today as I missed 11 putts inside 20 feet. I struggled with the pace of the greens yesterday but today I hit so many good putts that just missed. To be fair I did well to make the weekend as I'm absolutely shattered but hopefully the putts will drop over the next two days. I struggled again with the driver but my iron play was very good.
DUBAI 1RD 71 (-1)
I struggled a bit with the driver this morning but hit some lovely iron shots to shoot 71 -1 which should have been a lot less as I holed very few putts and made a double bogey at my final hole which was really frustrating. I was not a happy bunny when I came off the course but I've calmed down now.
I played the pro am at 7.30 this morning with three guests of Dubal. The course this week is in magnificient condition, probably the best I've ever seen it. Davy my caddie was asked for his autograph on the course this morning........Davy big shot Kenny as he is now known. LOL He declined thankfully for him or his life wouldn't be worth living. I came back to the hotel early and had a nice sleep and I'm now just back from the gym..
I got to the hotel at 12.30pm last night and manage a few hours sleep before the alarm woke me for my Pentagon Freight golf day. We had a skills challenge in the morning and then I played two holes with each group in the afternoon. It was great fun even though I was really tired. Huge thanks to Wayne Johnson and his team at the Earth course for looking after us, the course was in fantastic condition.
Qatar 3RD 69+67+65=201 (-15)
It was much calmer today so scoring was going to be better. I hit it fantastic again and shot 65 to win by four shots. I felt good all day even when Sergio levelled with me playing the ninth. I have been playing good recently but today was as good as I can play. I now get into the World Matchplay and hopefully a return to the Masters. I fly to Dubai tonight as I have a Pentagon Freight golf day at the Earth course tomorrow. Thanks very much for all your messages......much appreciated.
Qatar 2RD 69+67=146 (- 8)
I shot 67 today to be eight under for the tournament and leading by one, I even had a one shot penalty for accidently dropping my ball on my ball marker on the 10th green. When the tour official came over he said I had to be 100% sure the coin hadn't moved, which I wasn't so I called a penalty on myself. I hit it lovely again and controlled my ball flight very well in the wind, which was pleasing. COYR
Qatar 1RD 69 (-3)
We teed off from the 10th at 7.10am and I got off to a fast start with birdies at the first three holes. I then missed a short putt at the 13th for par but birdied the 14th and then three putted the 16th for par after driving the green and it all added up to 69 -3 The first five holes were flat calm but then became really windy so three under was a good effort. We did a little bit of short game and I'm now heading back to the hotel to relex as it's too windy to practise.
I played in the pro am at 7.50 this morning with three guests of Qatar Gas. It was pretty windy but the boys shot -22 which was a great effort. I played nicely and made a few birdies for them. The forecast is poor for the week with high winds expected so we'll wait and see what happens.