Welcome to the first instalment of my Tour diary.
I have to say it’s not bad life really being on the European Tour! There are a great set of lads, lots of whom I know from amateur days and last year on the Challenge Tour, we all get on really well and I feel like I belong here to be honest. A top-10 in just my second event on the European Tour, at the J’Oburg Open ? showed that I can play and that I can fit in at this level.
It was such a proud a moment to stand on the tee at my very first event on Tour and making the first cut was a great relief, it’s a box that I ticked immediately and that was cool because you then don’t go into any events with a real weight hanging over your shoulders.
Don’t get me wrong I was nervous on the 1st tee and in fact I think if any pro says they don’t get nervous on the 1st tee then I don’t think they should be there. But having played in the Open last year, I know I’ll never get as nervous as that!
Most of the events I have played in so far have felt like mini Opens actually and I love that. The hype and the build up are great and there some big names playing, which gets the crowd out. It just feels good to play in those events.
I’ve enjoyed teeing it up with all the other tour pros as well and it’s just been great to watch people get it round the golf course to be honest. The vast majority are just unbelievable with the wedges – that is what has stood out for me. Lots of the layouts are wedge courses so it’s vital to be so strong in that area.
As for my game I feel like I am really strong off the tee at the moment. I’m giving myself lots of chances going into pins from great positions but perhaps I am not quite sharp enough but that will come the more tournaments I play. I am having nice little runs of two or three tournaments in a row at the moment but there are times when you get longer breaks with the tour card I have.
In fact earlier in the season, I had about five weeks of no Tour golf. When you’ve got a break like that there’ll certainly be some time spent on technique and fitness training because you can make a real dent into that lot. But importantly you have got enjoy your time at home. I also try and get away and play some golf at different courses rather than just being at Bromborough (home club). This time I went to Wallasey and the time before to Hoylake just down the road from me ? it’s all just to try and sharpen your mind with something a bit different.
It’s so easy to stand on a range and beat balls but to go out there and score, to play golf, that’s far more of a test. The art of getting it round a golf course is what it’s all about. And no doubt about it I am out here to win, I’m not here to make up the field.
It’s great fun to travel with my best mate and caddie, Duncan Robertson. We get on great, obviously we get up each other’s noses now and again, but all mates do that, don’t they! Otherwise, I know all the Home Nations lads well from my early golf career ? Ollie Fisher, Rory McIllroy, Zane Scotland, Ross McGowan ? we are all good friends and it’s really nice because we played so much together as amateurs and then you all move on when you turn pro ands you don’t see someone for a while. But now we are having a laugh together and when we go week-to-week without going home, then we’ll certainly go and have a beer or two on Sunday night!
As for stuff away from golf entirely, I am a massive music fan and I love extreme sports. In fact music-wise there was a time when I was doing a fair bit of pro dj-ing but I have had to knock that on the head, I just haven’t got time. I’ll do a friend’s house party or something or I’ll do it for myself, which to be honest I enjoy a bit more because I can play exactly what I want. Also if I get a chance to see a big band or a dj when I am home then I’ll certainly take the opportunity. I believe you’ve got to live your life around golf, for me it wouldn’t be healthy to be 100% golf.
As for the extreme stuff, always a good laugh, I have to admit that I’ve stopped wakeboarding. It’s just too easy to injure yourself but I am going to do some surfing. I mean it’s just swimming really and sure you can hit some coral or get smacked by the board but you can always turn an ankle going for a run so give me surfing any day!