I fly to Canada on Monday for the RBC Canadian Open. I finished T12 last year to Dustin Johnson, but we’re playing on a different course, in Hamilton, this time. I haven’t played there before, so I’ll get there, get some practice in on Tuesday and Wednesday and see what it’s like and go from there. I think the course is like an old school, tree-lined track, so it should be a low-scoring affair, like a regular PGA Tour event.
I don’t want anything that’s too hard the week before a Major. I just want to see where my game is and how it’s shaping up. It comes at a good time in the schedule for me. If I didn’t play, I’d be three weeks without tournament play ahead of next week’s US Open – which wouldn’t be ideal. Getting the right balance to my schedule is important and something I’m going to have to think about. It’s hard to play both the PGA and European Tours at the same time.
You really need to be in the top 10 in the world to do that. You find yourself in no-man’s land on both tours.
I’m obviously playing quite a bit in America, but I’ve played a couple of times in Europe as well. But it would nice to be able to play in Europe and then play a little bit in America and then kind of focus on Europe towards the middle or the end of the year. My goal for the next couple of months is to get into the FedEx Cup tournaments. I’ll see after that and make my decision at the end of the year. I didn’t set out with any target of trying to get my PGA Tour Card back or anything this year. If it happens, it happens – and I’ll take it from there. It’s great to be able to play in Canada the week before a Major though. I’m playing well at the moment, so the plan is to stay positive and take it as it comes.
The real business starts after Canada. I’ll fly over to San Francisco and go down to Pebble Beach, from there. I know the course very well so I don’t really need to be there practising relentlessly before I tee off on Thursday week. I’ll play some golf on Tuesday and Wednesday and get ready for it then. I’ve played in the Pro-Am there for about the last four years and I love it there, it’s a lovely place. Obviously, when we play the Pro-Am in February, it’s different. It’s a lot softer and it plays a bit easier. It’s very relaxed, although it can be a bit of a circus with all the celebs playing. I generally avoid those groups – give Bill Murray a swerve – and just play with a good friend of mine, Gerry McManus.
The US Open will be a lot different though. Thick rough and firm greens. You only have to look at the last two US Opens to see how difficult it plays. Very few players finish under par. It can be brutally hard. Having said that, I always feel that the US Open is certainly my best chance of doing well in a Major. When I’m mentally in the right frame of mind, I just like the whole grind of it and how difficult a US Open is to play. I feel like it suits me. When I’m ready mentally for those weeks, I generally do well.
One thing I love about it is how much other people dislike it!
You can take a lot of other players out of it straight away when you get them on tough courses. The 2016 US Open at Oakmont is my best performance in a Major to date when I finished T2 to Dustin Johnson, having held a four-shot lead down the stretch.
Baltray 10th Anniversary
I was in Baltray for the 10th anniversary of my Irish Open victory. I’ve been back a couple of times, but it was great to relive it again. It was a bit of a blur at the time so I’ve no stand-out memories really. Luckily, I can jump on YouTube and watch it. What I remember most is that it was a horrible day and a bit like a football match at the end when everyone invaded the green. Coincidentally, my brother was playing there in the Irish Amateurs last Saturday, so I went back up afterwards to watch him also.
It was good to be home. I spent a couple of days in Lahinch also with a couple of friends, getting in a practice round for the Irish Open and just having a look around. It pissed down. I was really looking forward to being home for a bit but on days like that, you wouldn’t mind still being back in Florida!
But it was enjoyable – a busman’s holiday really. Even when I’m not in tournament mode I’d still play and watch a lot of golf. I particularly like watching the European Tour golf during the day. When I’m at home that’ll probably be all that’s on the TV.