Nine weeks off since Dubai in the middle of a Scottish winter might not seem too appealing to most people, but I used to to my best advantage by doing diy round the house and attempting to get in better shape. I managed a little bit of both. After the Middle East trip, I'd weighed 14st12lb. I'd managed to get that down by 6lb. Not quite the target of getting below 14 stone, but, as they say, one step at a time.and after my efforts at diy round the house, I decided it would be better to get an expert in future. Less frustration, and certainly a better job. As you can imagine, by the time came to leave for the Spanish Open, I was literally running to the airport.
The Spanish Open is one of the oldest tournaments on tour, and this year it was being staged at the prestigious Valderamma Golf Club. We hadn't been here for a number of years, so I was looking forward to the return. I met Paul on Tuesday morning, and we played 9 holes followed by some work on the range. I had forgotten how tricky and frustrating the course can be. Small greens, overhanging trees on the fairway, and lightning fast greens. If conditions got the slightest bit windy, it was going to be a tough week. Even tougher due to the fact I had a knee injury.We played the 9 hole pro-am on Wednesday, and my knee swelled up like a balloon due the the hilly nature of the back nine. On Wednesday afternoon It was looking unlikely I'd manage, and had Scot Jamieson's caddy, Ritchie, ready to cover for me on Thursday afternoon. Fortunately, there was a physio on site who worked wonders on me, and with the aid of anti inflammatory tablets, a knee support, and taking little steps, I made it through the first round.
Paul played steadily on the opening day. He drove it very well, and his short game was tidy, especially after a long lay off. A two over 73 was a decent effort, and had us just outside the top thirty. Friday was a different story. The wind was blowing from the start and the course was firming up. Paul struggled with his iron play, and struggled to make birdies. He finished on 76(+5) for the day. Fortunately the rest of the field were struggling also, and we only dropped a few shots. The thick rough and windy conditions were causing carnage round the course. The cut fell at +9. There were a few battered and bruised golfers and caddies on Friday evening. Saturday was another breezy day, and again Paul struggled with his iron play. It was a pity because he was driving the ball so well but couldn't take advantage. We signed for a 79 which dropped us a few more spots. On the upside, a decent final round would move us up through the field. We couldn't have asked for a better start on Sunday, with birdies at the first two holes ( We started on the 10th due to a two tee start). Paul had only ever broken par once round Valderamma, and I was thinking it was time to do it again. Unfortunately it wasn't to be, and 72 was the tally for the day. It was still a decent score and moved us up quite a few places, making it a steady week after a long lay off.
Thankfully my knee gradually improved each day thanks to the efforts of Physio Roger Morgan, an ex caddie who now runs a physio clinic in Malaga.
We had a bite to eat then headed to the airport. We were both flying around 9pm, but we're at the airport before 5. Chippie was flying Ba and I was Ryanair. Amazingly, I got to check my luggage in straight away, whilst the Chipster had to wait a couple of hours. He wasn't best pleased. We now have a break before the season really kicks off with the Irish open at the K Club in a few weeks time. Hopefully another pound or two lighter.....