I can’t say I’ve noticed a big difference to the players’ attitude on the course in the absence of spectators.
Even though there were no crowds lining the fairways last Sunday in Memphis, I still felt the same way as I always did when I got into contention.
Although it undoubtedly would be preferable to have a crowd there, I still wanted to win or at least finish as high up the leaderboard as possible when I felt I was in with a chance. The lack of atmosphere from not having fans there didn’t change that for me, to be honest.
It hasn’t really changed the players approach to how they interact with each other either as far as I can see. I played with Dustin Johnston and Phil Mickelson in Saturday’s three-ball and while you’d obviously expect it to be way noisier with Dustin and Phil around, but we got on with it fine.
The three of us did rock up in the same outfit, which was a little strange! There was a good bit of banter over it on the course and on Twitter.
My first ever “who wore it better?”
Don’t answer because I really don’t want to know. First time in my career I remember this happening though! ??. @ShaneLowryGolf @DJohnsonPGA pic.twitter.com/7E800dSzpn
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) August 1, 2020
In general, the interaction is still the same as it was before. Some guys keep to themselves, some are quite talkative. It just depends who it is and how friendly you are with them I suppose.
If you’ve played or practiced with someone before, there’s more likely to be a bit more chat than if you’re playing with someone for the first time or only ever played with them on a tense final day.
Even last Sunday when I was all business in my final round, I had a good chat with Joel Dahmen, who is a lovely fella, and that led to some nice golf.
When I felt I was in the hunt on the final day and just trying to hit as many good shots as possible, it didn’t really make any difference whether the crowds were there or not. You’re still just trying to stay in your own little ‘zone’ and play as best you can.
My regular caddy Bo (Martin) was back on the bag for me last week too. Darren (Reynolds) did a great job for a couple of weeks as stand in, but I wasn’t playing too well then. Everything just clicked last week at the Fed-Ex St Jude Invitational.
It was good to get a familiar face back on the bag and I was just able to get on with my game and not have to worry about anything else. People mightn’t appreciate that your familiarity with your regular caddy and vice-versa helps a lot out on the course and even in practice.
The ability to say something positive – or to stay quiet when things aren’t going too well – can have a huge effect on your game.
I don’t want Bo to be getting too big-headed, but it was my first good week in a while and now he’ll be claiming all the credit!
We’ve rented a house in San Francisco this week but there’ll be no going out as such, as everyone’s trying to stay as safe as possible obviously. We’re effectively cocooning.
We rent houses every week on the Tour, we cook in every night, there’s no going out for dinner anymore. We’re just trying to stay as safe as we can over here and obviously there’s stringent testing measures we go though pre and post tournament.
The last thing I want to do is pick up something and not be able to play. You might go for a walk or stuff like that but that’s about the height of it. This week in particular, when I’m not playing or practicing for the USPGA Championship, I’ll just take it easy and relax away from the course.
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