Chris Paisley reflects on his 2019 season and sets out his pan for 2020
My sixth season on the European Tour is in the books.
After a strong finish to the regular season in France and Portugal, I was feeling good heading into the final series. First up was the Turkish Airlines Open, which was a bizarre week. I finished 62nd out of 75 players. The strange part was the disparity in my scores on the two nines. I started each round from the 10th and played the back nine in a combined 13 under-par. I played the front nine in 12 over-par!
Looking back, it was pretty obvious why. I was struggling with my long game and I just didn’t have the control that I’ve had in previous weeks. The back nine at The Montgomerie course is fairly forgiving – there is room for error, especially from the tee – whereas the front nine is much more demanding. It certainly caught me out, although I didn’t run out of balls like Mr Pepperell! As always, I battled to the end but some weeks you just don’t have it, and Turkey was certainly one of those weeks.
It was a similar, but slightly improved, story in Sun City, South Africa. I grew into the tournament but it is one of the most demanding courses we play all year and if you have anything less than your A game, you will struggle to break par. I played some great golf in spells but the consistency wasn’t there and I finished the week 44th out of 63 players.
After a long stretch of golf over the previous three months, I was feeling mentally and physically low on reserves. I also missed my wife and daughter as they hadn’t travelled to Turkey or South Africa.
I had planned to start my 2020 season at Leopard Creek, but decided the best thing was to have an extended off season of six weeks and spend some quality time with them.
As always, my attention quickly turned to where I want to improve for next season and beyond. Put simply, my ball striking is average at best relative to the rest of the tour. My putting, short game and wedge play are all extremely strong and very consistent. I have also developed mentally over the past year. I am extremely level-headed and have more self belief than ever before.
Without getting too technical, for the past year or so, my club face has had a lot of rotation through the impact area. While I can still play some great golf, it means that my consistency isn’t as high as it could be. The best players are the ones who play well most often, and I feel I need to develop a more stable face through the ball to take me to that next level. I truly believe, and the stats show, that the rest of my game is at an extremely high standard.
My season will start with the South African Open in January. From there I will play three events in the Middle East. I’m excited to have some time off to spend with Keri and Ella, who is now walking and becoming more and more fun every day. She certainly has a cheeky personality! I will also be hard at work to try and make 2020 my best season yet.