Golf quick links
Many members were interested in my latest Trip overseas so here's a short note:
Headed off for the three weeks plus trip, by flying into LA arriving early Sunday morning. Over the years I've learnt that it is the best day to arrive if you are wanting to get around LA by vehicle. I was down at La Costa Resort (north of San Diego) by 9.30 am and on the range coaching at 10:00am, no rest for the wicked! It was freezing, having been 30 degrees when I left Brisbane and 30 when I arrived there. (You can work out where the C and the F should be!)
A couple of the girls had arrived in early for the Kia Tournament, due to missing the cut at the Phoenix Tournament, so we were able to get a lot of good work done - before I fell into a screaming heap! A massive snow storm hit between San Diego & Scottsdale & many of the players spent their night following snow ploughs (getting in to the hotel / resort at 4am) or parked of the side of the road & arriving middle of the next day. Most of my players were exhausted, so next day proved not to be as busy as I had expected.
I worked with Karrie, So Yeon Ryu, Eun Hee Ji, Maria Hjorth and Gwladys Nocera for the week. All played well, first three made the cut and the last two just missed. It was a tough week on the greens, very small target greens that were very rough late in the day (as well as early in the day) typical of the West side of the US - poi greens, unfortunately not the best for building confidence going into a major.
All of the players were all just focused on doing high quality technical training off course as well as training their pre-shot putting routines & just going on the course, doing the routine with commitment and excepting the outcome on the poor green surfaces no matter what.
Karrie was doing well going into the last day but a slow start stalled her movement up the leader board.
Sunday afternoon headed off from La Costa to Palm Springs. By the way, La Costa Resort has just had a $50 Million refurb and is a great Resort, I recommend it. One of the courses has just had the greens resurfaced & will be open soon. There are numerous Tennis courts, big on Health, great spa for the girls while the boys attack the courses. The courses have a lot of history with many US TOUR events being held there in the past.
After a drive over the mountain, the last twenty miles into the desert down the desert mountain is white finger fever territory and bad weather, do not go! (I certainly wouldn't go that way again). Stick to those beautiful freewaysthe miles go by with the boredom!
As per usual, the Nabisco Tournament at Mission Hills, course prepared beautifully. My players were a little disappointed, they wanted the rough thicker and the fairways narrower. I agree for a Major, but with Club membership, mainly retirees, you can understand them wanting the other. It was still a great test, but just not as good a test as in the past. My players prepared very well, Karrie & Eun Hee looking great, Maria solid & So Yeon just a little off physically. All performed well and finished in the top 40's, a great result. Going into the last day both Eun Hee & Karrie had chances to get it done, Eun Hee played super, just didn't get it done on the greens in the last twenty holes, Karrie started last round strongly but just didn't go on with it. Man, that putt that IK missed, WOW, tree shadow across the hole, so short that you wouldn't do your full routine, but you need to just feel for her!
I then headed down to Houston for the Shell Open on the Wednesday to work with John Senden and finalise our prep for the Masters. Arrived into Houston to hot stormy weather and on the Thursday, John's late tee time saw us back in the house after one and a half holes. We made a couple of refinements on the Pro-Am day, a little quieter behind the ball and the walk in slightly slower. This made his movement away from the ball less firey in his hands and arms and bingo, he was flushing!
Out of bed next morning at 4am (nothing new, same every day last week & a half with 4 & 5 players though I was looking for a sleep in!) and out to play 35 holes.
First 17, John had 8 mud balls off the tee with the course being so wet, played well, nothing close enough to be able make some move forward. 2nd Round, PGA Rules boys brought in lift, clean & place and away Sendo went, 7 under. When he came off the course after the morning round happy with his play he just knew he had to go trust his game and wait for momentum. Wow, there was plenty of that.
Next day the course set up was tough, dropped two early at the 3rd and 4th with a couple of average shots and then spun one back in the water off the green surface to have another bogey at the 7th That seemed to turn on the after burners, three over after 7 and heading the wrong way on that leader board. Well, he just stood up and delivered, 7 under the last eleven, it was just unbelievable to watch. Two three woods were unbelievable, on hole 13 a par 5 , John hit his second shot to 10 feet & eagled, then two holes later, he hit his second another 3 wood 267 metres, just wow!
I'm afraid it is just plain crazy how far these boys are hitting it. The second and third rounds of John's showed not only great ball striking but great putting.
Last day, we were just not as sharp, maybe a little tiredness after walking a long wet course all week but just hung around par all day, nothing happening, as per usual a few outstanding shots on a very difficult course and a solid 19th finish position.
Well some have to do it! We left the course at Houston at 4.30, after a quick shower it was straight to the airport, the private jet section. We flew privately straight into Augusta Georgia and were sitting down for a meal at 7.15 in Augusta. We shared the plane trip with Ricky Fowler, Henrick Stenson and caddy, Sendo and myself. So quick, so convenient, drive the car up to the plane and unload the luggage, this could be habit forming. Champagne tastes, lemonade pocket, no chance!
The one commercial flight put on out of Houston once a year left at 8pm and players and caddies on that flight got to their accommodation at 1am in the morning.
Well Augusta was in outstanding order as per usual. John prepared very well, his game was in great order. A couple of nine holes and an eighteen hole practise round. Crowds were enormous and very excited as per usual, lots of first timers to the event on practise days. I know my first visit there, my feelings were just over the top, you just can't believe the amount of slope from the clubhouse to the bottom of the course, and you can't believe the drop slope of 10 fairway, the beauty of Amen Corner and the noise from the crowds that resonate across the course at quality results.
If you are a Masters watcher and love it, this has to be on your bucket list! It is very special!
Well as you know John played very well but missed the cut.The Tournament is played on the edge and you don't need too much for it not go your way. Because it is played on the edge lots of exciting things happen throughout the week and hence it is the spectacle it is. John was a little unlucky at the 1st on the second day, his drive landed on left edge of fairway and hit a spectator, then went left onto the left edge of 9 fairway, won't bore you, took a triple after leaving his ball 10 feet behind the hole & having a 20 footer back - three putt.
John came to the 36 hole at 5over, hit two great shots to be 15 feet away for his birdie. Looking at the Leader Board - Westwood 6, Duffner 6. The ten shot rule at the Masters is what made John's decision to give the birdie a run, two foot past and missed the return. Westwood doubled the last and Duffner bogied. John only needed to two putt to get in, leaves a sour taste, that's for certain!
All in all a great trip, each time I've been there I learnt a little more about how to play Augusta, maybe now I've done all the classes, I just need to graduate!