A Different Desert Swing

What a difference a year can make! This time last year I had just missed my fourth consecutive cut of the season and I was 0/6 in the Desert Swing. This year I made all three cuts finishing 29th, 13th, and 15th. It has been my best start to a season in a long time and to say it’s been eventful might be an understatement.

My most remarkable result was making the cut in Qatar. After 27 holes I had not had a birdie. I was sitting five shots outside of the cut mark and was thinking about the possibility of catching an earlier flight to Dubai. Things started looking up when I birdied the 10th and 11th, and all of a sudden I could smell a chance. With three holes to go I was still three outside of the mark. I birdied 16 to keep my hopes alive. What happened next was the most valuable shot of my life! A hole-in-one with a nine iron from 136 yards, which meant I was now inside the cut…and received a voucher for $150,000 to spend in Qatar Duty Free (which I didn’t find out until after I signed my card). After a birdie on the last I made the cut with a shot to spare! It is by far the most remarkable ‘comeback’ I have ever achieved and shows you should never, ever, give up!

The second moment I have to pick out was the Saturday of Dubai where I got to play with Henrik Stenson. It really felt like David and Goliath (and this time Goliath won), but it was a great experience. Not only is he an exceptional player, he is also a very funny and genuine guy. We shared a few laughs about him outdriving me with his three wood on every hole! It was also another great learning experience and one common denominator I have noticed with top players like Stenson, Willett and Schwartzel is their focus. They never hit a shot until they are ready, and they never give less than 100% on every shot; they treat every putt as if it was to win the tournament no matter what position they are in. It sounds easy, but not that many guys actually do it and that is something I will continue to work on. It has been a very encouraging start to the season – lets keep it rolling!