BACK IN THE U.S. OF A
Posted: 17th June 2009
It's US Open time again and with it come back memories of last year's championship in Torrey Pines, San Diego.
That's where I proved to myself that I had the game to win the second major championship of the season. And after failing by just one shot to get in a play-off last year, I'll be aiming to go one better this time.
I'm really looking forward to my first visit to Bethpage Black on Long Island because what happened last year in San Diego showed that when the pressure is on, I have enough game to cope with it. I'll be hoping to get in the same position again this year. My confidence is high and I've got a good draw alongside Zach Johnson and Shingo Katayama, who has unfortunately withdrawn due to back injury. Nineteen year old David Erdy (USA) has since taken his place.
I haven't been on the course much lately, but that doesn't mean to say I haven't been working hard. Indeed, the opposite is true because I've done more practising in the last two weeks than I have in the last 10 years.
I've gone back to my former coach Pete Cowen and together we've been concentrating on every aspect of my game to get it as sharp as can be for this week's US Open at Bethpage.
We started off with my short game, particularly bunker play and chipping, but decided that the main fault runs not just through those aspects of the game but all through the bag so it's been a thorough overhaul and now I'm ready to play again.
I've also been busy away from the practice ground, having been to a Boyzone concert to watch. The last time I saw Ronan Keating in concert was at the Nelson Mandela Concert in South Africa and he invited me to join his backing group. Thankfully he didn't extend the offer at the Sheffield Arena where there were 14,000 fans.
I also went to York Races to see Hoof It, a horse I own jointly with my manager Chubby Chandler, finish fourth on his debut in a pretty hot race. He's definitely one to watch out for - that's the horse not Chubby.
And I had a very enjoyable afternoon at son Sam's sports day where he won the 75m and 200m sprints and helped his team to a relay win. He didn't come anywhere in the other relay, but his overall efforts meant that he collected the shield as Victor Ludorum so you can imagine I was a pretty proud dad.
I also accompanied Sam to a football birthday party and couldn't resist joining the father and sons match. I was fairly satsified with my efforts hugging the left touchline, but Sam wasn't impressed, blaming me for a tackle which caused an astroturf burn on his leg.
Now I'm ready for New York and pleased to be getting back into the swing of things again.