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After a long week in Dubai it is great to become a dad for a second time

Turkish airlines kindly put on a charter for us from Antalya to Dubai, it saved us from flying up to Istanbul. The rich guys mostly took private jets so they didn't have to hang around but there were still some big boys on the charter, Westwood and Donald to name a few.
 They gave players good seats (a premium economy) almost like business class but real business class went to Westwood, Chubby Chandler, Stenson and his caddy.  All the folks important to the Tour and sponsors.  Some of the guys said it was like a nightclub up there, the drinks were flowing at the bar and on arrival some guys were struggling walking the long walk to baggage I'll not disclose names.
  

The flight was fine 3hr 30 although from the map we seemed to be going an indirect way I was thinking we weren't flying over Syria maybe there were air strikes taking place in this region.
 Because of the 2hrs time difference we arrived at 2am Dubai time and parked along way away in the older terminal non emirates bit. I asked Gerry to take my clubs which he kindly did and I headed to an airport hotel instead of the players hotel, it was a good plan 5 mins later I was there. I heard later that the clubs took an hour coming out.
 

The official hotel for the week is the Atlantis on the Palm, it's impressive. What I like most is the water park there are some really good rides I love it!  I checked in on Monday morning and went straight down some rides with Bev's dad Ken, who had come out to support me for the week. I talked him into a double dingy ride and off we went. I chickened out of the really fast vertical drop ride that I normally do, it's just not the same without a partner in crime!

 It was a good sleep and up to the course for a range session and putting with Justin Parsons. He really helped me to keep width in my swing and to get my right leg stronger.  I was happy at the end of the session!  the putter alignment was good too. I was trying not to do too much as I had a stomach bug in Turkey and was only just starting to enjoy food again. I had arrived home from China to find Bev and Erin slightly green and very unwell on the sofa.  It took me a week to succumb, but sure enough I got sick too!

Ken and I ate in the hotel each night as there's a big choice of restaurants most of which are frighteningly expensive but that's what you get in these fancy places.  I'd probably rather stay elsewhere as the hotels is a bit of a tourist attraction.  The lifts are incredibly busy and are always full, the corridors are noisy at night and it can take over an hour to get to the course but the player transport leaves from the hotel and the water parks are great.

Wednesday was an early start, trying to get on zone as I was playing early Thursday. I went and played the back 9 and chipped and putted quite a bit. I was hitting it really good keeping the legs strong and staying on my right side longer.
 Ken and I went back and did the slides again, it brought back his memories of taking Bev, Rod and Karen to the parks in Florida when they were younger, it wasn't too traumatic for him! We had an early dinner and were in bed early for th 5am wake up. This is what tour is like it's not that glamourous.

 My legs were lose in my swing,  I felt a bit flat and couldn't stabilise myself well during the round.  It was a struggle and if I hadn't putted well it could have been close to 80 instead of the 73 I managed. My putting has improved a lot over the last few weeks so that's one positive.  I played with Thomas Aiken, one of the best putters on tour, but he had an off day with a few 3 putts, and was.4 over.  The greens are quick and slopey, measuring 13 on the stimp and the course is tough if you miss fairways but not that hard from the fairway. I went back for a sleep after the round and had some dinner although my stomach was dodgey again so I didn't eat much, I just seem to be very unlucky at the moment.

 They redraw every night for DP World and on day 2 I was with Jamie Donaldson.  He's a fun guy and a very straight hitter now.  He's worked hard with his coach Matt Belcham these last few years. It's a centred swing they work on and it works for Jamie he can hit a fade now which was a struggle previously.  Obviously the Ryder Cup was great for him and I'm hoping I can turn from journey man into a better player like he did.  It was Ken's birthday on Friday so the later tee time of 925 was at least a better start.  I started well with a 3 iron to 4feet on the 4 th for birdie but then my legs got too quick in my downswing and I lost some width and really sprayed the ball all over the course and couldn't  scramble like the first day. It was deflating but I did try my best on each shot, though it's hard to accept that's all you can do. I feel I need to be able to control the pace of my swing better no matter who I'm playing with or how I'm feeling.


I was first off on Saturday at 740 again, the alarm at 5am with David Lipsky, an American who went to the same college that Luke Donald did and had the same coach. His game was solid.  My legs were more stable and I tried hard for 2 under, it felt good even though I was still tied in last position. Rounds are quick 4 hrs in 2 balls bit it's tiring as it's a long walk and 30 degrees outside.  I always find the Earth course hot and humid, it's further from the sea than the Emirates course we play in Janary, so there's less of a breeze too!

  Incase there was a playoff they started us earlier on Sunday.  I was out at 710, it was almost still dark. It was the 5th day in a row that we were up so early and we were all shattered (Gerry, Ken, Shane, Justin & Johnny) and it hit me on the back 9 with a misjudged chip and misjudged lay up into water on .  At that stage myself and Matt Baldwin were ready to finish the season after he hit into water on 17. It was a deflating end to the year when I had been pretty solid for most of it, but as long as you learn something then the only import at event is you next one which I'm thinking about already what I need to do.  Rory and Shane played well again, quite some season they've both had!


 It's a very busy time now for us in the run up to Christmas. We are having a baby tomorrow afternoon by planned section, if it doesn't arrive before and then we are moving house too.  I'm away on tour again in December, apart from that nothing is happening.


 Just hoping everything goes ok, I am looking forward to spending time with Erin as she's changing so quickly and see how she responds to no. 2. We had everything arranged..... 215am flight from Abu Dhabi getting into Dublin at 7 ish, the straight to Belfast and take Bev to the hospital.  Unfortunately Abu Dhabi was fog bound and the flight was delayed.  We sat on the Tarmac for 11 hours.  It is the worst delay and experience I've had!  All I can say is thankfully Erin and Bev weren't on board too, 18 hours on a plane trying to entertain a 17 month old would not be fun!  I missed the birth but got up to the hospital late Monday night to see them.  We now have a wee brother for Erin!  Everyone is doing well so at least that was something!

 There were spells this year when I had the swing in the slot, I gotta focus on what I did then and take it into next year and at least have a crack at some of these bigger events.


  It's not long off I'm planning back to school in 3 weeks in South Africa for just one week, it will get me outta nappy duty.