Just to make this clear before I get going, I have retained my European Tour card for the 2018 season. I thought I’d explain because a lot of people are not aware of how I kept it. I finished outside the top 100 this season but came second on the Access List – a separate order of merit which excludes all points earned in Rolex, WGC and major events. It was designed to help players with a lower category; however, I was a beneficiary of this new list because I made most of my money in ‘regular’ events. The tour did not publicise this separate order of merit, probably because it’s boring and complicated to explain, as you now know!
It’s been a strange season. On one hand I am delighted to have a job next year. The competition is so fierce now that just maintaining playing rights is an achievement. On the other hand, there is a tinge of disappointment. I had a great start to the season but then totally lost my game over the summer, which cruelly coincided with most of the major events…very annoying! I then picked myself up and had some big results towards the end to secure my card – a third place in Denmark the highlight. I really thought I could kick on and get into the Race to Dubai or win a tournament but it wasn’t to be.
The main focus for next season is to improve the manner of my practice. I am quite an organised and routine-based person, which means it is easy for me to go through the motions when I practice. I always put the hours in and do all the right things but often my brain isn’t as engaged as it could be. To counteract this tendency we are introducing pressure and forfeits into my training. For example, if I don’t complete a certain drill or test I have to do a forfeit – such as sprints or go pillow shopping with my wife (if that doesn’t get my brain engaged nothing will!). The introduction of pressure-based training is to try and mimic the feelings golfers often experience when competing in tournaments.
I feel genuinely excited about the 2018 season. Next up is a quick two-week trip to Hong Kong and Australia at the end of November.