On the up

Progress across the board and a best-ever finish in a major – but there’s lots more to come in 2024

Having arrived home for a well-earned Christmas break with our families, it’s time to reflect on the 2023 season and share some of the highlights of my fourth year on tour with Matt Jordan.

One of the biggest highlights of the year was The Open at Matt’s home club, Royal Liverpool. As I wrote in my column earlier this year, this was an incredible experience; with him playing in front of so many friends and supporters and finishing in a tie for 10th place for his best-ever finish in a major along with his biggest-ever cheque. Personally, it was also the best finish I’ve been part of in a major, and I’m looking forward to doing that again when the chance comes.

The confidence and points that week, along with some really strong finishes early in the year in the Middle East, led to Matt finishing 63rd on the Race to Dubai – his highest finish to-date and only just outside the cut-off for the DP World Tour Championship.

Despite these highlights, I know Matt had a few disappointments this year – particularly not being up there competing for a win on a Sunday. I know how hard this is to do, and how few opportunities there are to do it, but Matt was expecting to be in the mix on the final day more often this year, and I know he has a plan in place to make that happen in 2024.

Outside of that result-based goal, Matt had a great year when you look at his stats. He has improved on tour in almost every category – in some cases moving up the rankings more than 50 places. That’s the path to the results I know he wants next season.

This year was undoubtedly the best of our four together so far, and we’re both very much looking forward to some time at home over Christmas before we get back out to the Middle East in January.
On a personal note, this year has been great. The best part for me has been having my son, George, and wife, Rachel, on the road with me for the first time. George came to 11 events in 2023, which is a lot for a one-year-old, but he’s definitely got the golf bug and it was great having them both out with me more often.

When I think back on the challenges, almost all of them have been travel related – as most caddies will tell you.

The long-haul flights are always tough, and being away from the family gets harder now we have George. Then there’s flying, which appears to be more and more frustrating as the years go by. I won’t bore you with airport stories, but I will tell you that if anyone wants a suitcase full of Adidas gear, I had to leave one in the lost property at Gothenburg Airport.

Overall, it has been a positive year with some big highlights and a few challenges. Let’s make 2024 even better.