This is the best form I’ve ever been in heading into an Irish Open, but I’m keen to keep expectations in check.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be all out to give it my very best for the four days in Co Clare next week. I just don’t want to be thinking about it all the time for the next 12 days or so. At least the Offaly footballers are playing on Saturday night in Portlaoise, so I’ll hopefully get to that and unwind a bit before the real build-up starts next week.
Offaly hammered Sligo last week – the game was over after 50 minutes and I almost felt like a Dubs supporter knowing my team was going to win! That doesn’t happen too often.
Lahinch is gearing up to be one of the best Irish Opens we’ve ever had, particularly if we get an extension to this ‘heatwave’ that’s forecasted. I’m looking forward to this event more than any of the other Irish Opens for the past few seasons or so.
Obviously, that has a lot of that to do with the form I’ve been in recently. It’s the best start I’ve ever made to a season, with an early victory in Abu Dhabi last January and three top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour to back it up.
The year is flying by and it’s hard to believe I’ll be at Royal Portrush for the Open Championship, in a few weeks’ time. Normally we’d only be half-way through the Majors now, but this re-jigged schedule, makes it feel like you’re always building to a major tournament.
I played really good golf again on the weekend of the US Open to finish inside the top 30, especially after a disappointing opening round where I played with the eventual winner Gary Woodland. I finished well though, and played some great golf on the Sunday. The problem is you can’t play good golf when you’re on the cut line on Friday.
If you’re in danger of missing the weekend, it’s all about battling to stay under the number and getting back into the clubhouse.
Free and easy golf in that situation, is not an option.
That’s the thing about this game and probably sport in general. When things are not going well you just have to ride it out and wait for the good times to come. Similarly, when it does change, you have to really enjoy it because good fortune doesn’t last forever, either.
You always get asked about links golf and how difficult it is. But that’s a hard question to answer as we don’t play a hell of a lot of it anymore. When there’s no wind, and you’re on wide-open fairways, it’s easy.
However, if a 20mph wind kicks in, it becomes very difficult. A 30-40mph wind can make it impossible.
I’ve had a couple days practice down there in Lahinch with 40mph wind and you’d barely hit a six iron 130 yards. That’s when links golf really shows its teeth.
I can handle the wind – just keep the rain away. I hate playing in the rain.
Most of the Irish lads like Graeme McDowell, Paul Dunne and Padraig Harrington have good experience on links courses as we’ve all generally grown up playing on them. They’re all playing reasonably well too, so I’m sure they’ll fancy their chances of putting on a good show in front of a home crowd. The Irish Open deserves that.
It will be some buzz if an Irish player is in contention on the back nine on Sunday week. I just hope it’s me.