Well, my target of losing a stone didn’t go quite as planned. I lost 8 pounds during my four weeks off, which wasn’t a bad effort I suppose, considering the weather was pretty poor back home, and I spent most of the time in the house, hiding from chocolate biscuits and packets of crisps. Chippie lost about the same, and was awfy chuffed with himself. He had brought a whole new wardrobe to Augusta. Patterned shirts, tartan breeks, white breeks(much to his son Michael’s disgust) and some dapper shoes to match. I, on the other hand, got to show off my new figure in a freshly starched heavyweight boiler suit. Them’s the breaks!!!
We had a bit more practice than usual before a tournament. 36 holes from Monday to Wednesday was more than the norm, mainly due to Paul having had 4 weeks off. Preparation went well, with the course in magnificent condition as usual. Our draw for the 1st two rounds was a very friendly one. Thomas Bjorn and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. I was sharing a house with another 4 caddies for the week, two of whom caddied for Thomas and Gonzalo. It was a very good draw, as everyone knew each other very well. The only potential drawback was that the three caddies may have needed earplugs, as all three players have previous form for being masters of the moan! However, I have to say, their behaviour was exemplary, and all three players made the cut safely.
The first day was a bit of a struggle for Chippie, returning a four over par 76. This left us a bit to do. Nae bother to the Kemnay Loon….A chip in at the first for birdie on Friday morning set him on his way, and he battled away to a two under 70. It’s always satisfying to make the cut in a Major, but especially so after 4 weeks off. On Saturday Paul was paired with Thomas Bjorn again, and was cruising, but dropped 5 shots in the last 5 holes for a 3 over 75. There was another casualty that day… his driver!!! Having splashed out the fairway bunker at the 8th hole, Chippie casually launched his wedge at the bag, and it gently brushed the shaft of his driver, causing it to shatter and put it out of action for the rest of the day. After the round, I found a repair guy in the range, who replaced the shaft over night with the nearest match he could find. Paul hit a few balls with it , and it passed the test. “It’s a bit bloody blue is it not?” was his first remark…. There’s always a downside…lol
Anyway, on to Sunday. Drawn with Ryder cup teammate Martin Kaymer, it was another friendly affair. Chippie wore his favourite troosers of the week, grey and black tartan. The first comment he got was that they matched his hair…hawhaw. When it was remarked that they looked like Ian Poulters trousers, he replied that at least somebody had to wear them at the weekend(Poulter missed the cut)…he’s still got the patter!!! Paul signed off with a 71, which moved up into the top 40, but was poor reward for the way he played, as he had his best ball striking day of the week . All in all it was a pretty solid week. Paul’s putting, which had been poor this season, had been much better the first two days, and his overall game improved each day. This gives us plenty encouragement as we head towards the busy part of the season now, starting with South Korea next week. Airmiles here we come….