My 28th appearance in The Open last week at Carnoustie coincided with me playing my 100th round of golf in this historic championship.
I’m not one who tends to dwell on the past, but obviously I’m proud to be able to say that this tournament has been a part of my life for almost three decades. It’s my favourite tournament in the world, so obviously it hurts to not make the cut. No complaints, though. The course was playing harder and faster than any links that most of us have ever seen, but hats off to the R&A. They did a great job with the set-up. The fans were really incredible, too, as they always are at The Open.
And huge congrats to Francesco Molinari. To play bogey-free over the weekend of a Major is seriously impressive and he deserves to have that beautiful old Claret Jug in his possession. If he’s anything like me, the next day is particularly surreal, when you wake up and see the most famous trophy in golf right there next to you! Francesco now goes down in the history books as the first Italian to win a Major Championship. It doesn’t get much more special than that.
After getting back from Scotland at the weekend, we took part in The Gary Player Invitational at Wentworth on Monday. In years gone by I’ve had commitments to play the Canadian Open straight after the Open Championship, but not this year. So with a free week in my calendar there was an opportunity to make my first appearance in this particular event. I’m glad I did. It was a wonderful day.
The weather was unbelievable. The event has a great sponsor, Berenberg, and a strong line-up of professionals from the women’s and the men’s game including Tom Watson and Freddie Couples. Gary’s foundation has raised literally tens of millions of dollars for charity over the years and we hear they’re aiming for the 100 million mark. There’s no doubt they’ll hit the target if this day is anything to go by. Big respect to Gary and his team and to everyone else who was involved in the day.
So, we’ve now got a week off. The sun continues to shine here in the south of England and I’m continuing to work hard on my swing with one of the guys at Queenwood. These past few weeks I really feel like the benefits are starting to feed into my ball-striking. That still excites me. I’ve also got a new set of irons in the bag, including Srixon’s new prototype utility irons 2, 3 and 4, which are incredible! Going back to Cleveland wedges, which I had in the bag for my two US Open wins, feels good, too. Mine are RTX3 prototypes with lofts of 52, 56 and 60. An XXIO driver and 3-wood, Bloodline putter, Srixon golf ball, and ECCO shoes, complete the kit list.
Anyway, let’s see if we can start shooting some good scores now. We’ll get our next opportunity in the Fiji International, a tri-sanctioned event by the Australasia, European Tour and Asian Tours, which takes place from August 2-5. I’ve never been to Fiji, so this is an entirely new experience for me. When you’ve travelled as much as I have, that’s quite unusual.
I’ve done some homework on the golf course. Vijay has played there, Brandt Snedeker has won there, and I watched a little bit of the action on TV in 2015 when the wind was blowing unbelievably and Matt Kuchar won. Hopefully the wind stays away a little bit, but whatever happens I’m sure we’re in for an interesting and enjoyable week. I’m very much looking forward to it.
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