Best Irish Open I’ve ever played In
Looking back on last week, it was definitely the best Irish Open I’ve ever played in – apart from obviously the one I won – because it was the one I’ve enjoyed the most over the years. I don’t know why but I just think where my game is at the moment and the frame of mind I’m in, I didn’t feel under any pressure to be trying to play well going into it. I felt like I was playing well already and then Lahinch itself was incredible.
The job they did down there was unbelievable. I didn’t get to spend any time in the town but the golf course was really good and the set up they had there was amazing. I know from speaking to friends who were down there for the week, they had the best week ever.
I did say before I went down it’s probably going to be one of the greatest Irish Opens and it was.
The McGinley Factor
I think when you’re hosting the Irish Open, you can probably play as big or as little a role as you want but I think McGinley played a huge role in it and he was quite involved. I think it was a great warm-up week for the Open as he had been in close contact with Royal Portrush to ensure it was set up in a similar fashion.
I know from speaking to people down in Lahinch – there’s a fellow called John Gleeson who was involved with him and Paddy Keane who’s the general manager down there – McGinley was very involved in what he wanted to do with the way the course setup.
Actually, he didn’t even play because he wanted it to go so well. So hats off to him, he did an unreal job.
Feedback from the players
I thought some of the field might find the fourth and the fifth holes – the blind holes – a bit funny but speaking to a lot of players, they thought it was one of the better golf courses that they’ve played in Ireland. I wasn’t a huge fan of it over the years but the course grew on me massively last week. It was incredible, the way they presented it was great. I think all the players you spoke to had a great week. The weather was nice and the golf course was good and the crowds were brilliant. The first two days, the crowds were just unbelievable.
I was happy enough with how I did. I had a period of about six holes in the middle of my round on Friday that I kind of played my way out of the tournament a little bit. I wasn’t feeling great. I actually got sick on the golf course. I don’t want to make any excuses and I didn’t – I tried not to make any excuses afterwards. I battled well to make the cut and then I just didn’t get it going on Saturday at all and I had a decent enough day on Sunday but when you’re in that position, I knew I had played my way out of the tournament.
I was a bit disappointed. I wanted to be in with a chance to win it. I tried to just shoot the best score I could on Sunday and that was two under but all week I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent. That’s probably the reason I felt a bit down on Friday and I just didn’t do what I had to. Those six holes around the turn, they just kind of killed me.
The Open Preparations
This week I’m obviously not playing the Scottish Open. I’m just going to get some links golf in at home. I’ve had Monday and Tuesday off, I played Portmarnock on Wednesday and I’ll play a few more courses before the week is up – not sure where yet. I’ll just try and play some links golf and keep my game ticking over. I think after the week I had last week, it’s important to rest as well and be fresh going into next week because next week’s going to be a long week and it could be – weather dependent – quite tough as well. I just want to be as fresh as I can going up to Portrush next Monday. If I play three or four games this week I’ll be happy enough and my game will be ticking over nicely.
I was up in Portrush playing the course a few weeks ago and I came away thinking it was quite difficult and that was in perfect weather – not much wind and it was sunny. So I can imagine it’s going to play quite difficult next week. I’m not hoping for bad weather as in a lot of rain, but I wouldn’t mind a bit of wind.
A bit of wind takes a lot of guys out of play and I won’t be complaining about that.