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Burning up on the course in the heat & humidity of Malaysia

Our Emirates flight arrived into KL late on Sunday evening, by the time we got through passport control and got the golf clubs it was 11pm but only 7 in Dubai as we were 4 hours east.  It always takes so much longer when you travel with clubs to get out of the airport! Obviously the baggage handlers all try and avoid the heavy bags, not that I'd blame them!

Transport from the tournament was meant to collect me, I had it booked but they didn't show.  I don't know why as there were a lot of players and caddies on our flight.  I was thinking of getting the train to town which most of the caddies were getting but that's ok with a suitcase, not with a 28kg club bag as lugging it on and off can injure you.  I always say that it's not just the golf you need to be strong for it's the lifting of 50kg in the baggage reclaim hall that you want to be strong for so you don't get injured.  It's happened to plenty of players in the past.

I had to go back to my challenge tour days and haggle with taxi drivers, it's funny as we travel so much you quickly realise the first price means nothing and you strike somewhere in between.  I knocked him down to 15 pounds for the 1 hour trip, initially they wanted 40 quid.  The hotel is a good one, in a good location close to the Petronas Towers, briefly the world's tallest until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai came along and dwarfed them at 860 metres.
 
It was straight to bed but I didn't get to sleep until 2am (10pm in Dubai) because of jet lag.  I was up for 9 holes the next day and a Physio session from Ian.  Ian normally works Tuesday onwards but I had had 4 weeks off so he worked on me on Monday as a special treat.  The sweat was lashing off us and the course is hilly.  You forget how hot it is as soon as you leave and each year you come back to the course it doesn't get easier mainly due to the heat and humidity (heat index of 38 degrees).  The food at the course is great I love the chicken and rice dishes with broth, ginger, spices; I can't get enough of it.

Gerry kindly got me a local SIM card with data on it so I had mobile Wi-Fi for the week; it means I can see Erin in a non-pixelated format whenever I want, even on the bus home from the course.  Data is so cheap in Asia; it's just not easy to find the right phone shop especially with the language barrier but Gerry is great at it.  He has a dual sim phone which is key for tour so you don't have to unblock your iPhone or have a second one.

I played another 9 holes on Tuesday and putted for 45 mins. You have to be very careful not to do too much, you're so keen getting back on tour after 4 weeks off but it's too hot to hit more than 40 balls a session.  I guess my experience was helping.  I had some more local food and another Physio session with lots of rehydration drinks, and then headed back to the hotel.  I was sharing with Simon Thornton, he's a really nice guy and very easy to room with, he likes his bed early like me. They pushed up the prices of the hotel it used to be 100 dollars a night now it was 130 euro!  We had a Chinese that night.  It was pretty poor and I had to stop eating mine and get something different after.  Simon arrived on Monday and only had a little jet lag on the Tuesday night but I noticed a light on at 2am; he was awake but he got back off after that.  I was getting to sleep earlier each day, the advantage of having been in Dubai the week before.   As we played 9 on Tuesday Shane Lowry called over from his 13th hole and was dying in the heat.  He had been back in Dublin and it's a shock to the body, I'm not sure why he was playing 18 as he had another 18 on the Wednesday Pro-am.

Ian was rubbing Francisco Molinari, who had just made the 20 hour flight from Augusta to KL.  Francisco looked like a zombie.  Westwood, Matteo and Louis Oostuizen had also made the trip.  They were all being paid a lot of cash, but 12 hours' time change is a lot to cope with.
 
I wasn't in the pro-am field on Wednesday, a real blessing at this event!  So I just went up early and did 2 hours' work, mostly putting, getting used to the grain which makes some putts break twice as much, but is just experience in reading the green.  I found a laundry place outside the hotel probably saving 50 quid on hotel rates and left in some saturated clothes.  The rest of the day I watched the storms move in from the hotel, it's dramatic and I love the thunder and lightning as we don't see it often back home.  They come in every day almost like clockwork at about 4pm.
 
I had an early 630 bus for 830 tee time Thursday.  I was on the range and I felt the club moving in my hands through the swing.  I had left my grips in to get done the day before but they hadn't set properly and were literally twisting all over the place, the ball was going left a lot.  I didn't think I could break 80. I tired going right down the grips to near the steel where there was less movement and that helped fortunately the driver and 3 wood were ok.  I avoided hitting the wedge and the 3 iron as they were really twisting and had to improvise taking an extra club right down the grip but I found that I had good control as I wasn't trying to kill the shots and also because I didn't expect much I was relaxed and played great with 24 putts for 5 under.  A lesson to be learned I think.  A few shots went a bit left but the down grip really helped accuracy on some shots as there is less wrist movement.  It's the oldest trick in the book, after all Tiger used to do it all the time.

I went straight from the scoring tent to the workshop and took the grips off and spoke to the guys.  They had used petrol instead of white spirits as it was setting too fast to get the grips on.  I have narrow grips which are fiddly, so we used a combination of petrol and spirit and got them all sorted.  It took an hour, they apologised, and I said it was a lesson learned.   I went to bed early as I was so drained from the heat. 
My late tee off was at 120 Friday.  It was nearly unbearable on the range warming up at 1230.  It was weird to hit full shots and I was doing great 2 under after 9 then I just felt I was overheating as it was so slow and 5 hours in total.  I lost concentration on 2 wedge shots which went long and the 2 resulting bogeys took me off the leader board.  Robert Rock, my playing partner, hit the ball good but misjudged the Bermuda rough on a wedge shot.  The ball didn't carry the water, he made triple and missed the cutt by one, sometimes it's a very cruel game.   I went straight to Ian's table and lay down; it felt good. The sunscreen just runs off you and you get burnt which makes you even hotter.   After a shower at the course we went to an Irish family's house, they have lived in KL for 20 years.  They are lovely people and we met all the other expats living here. They have good jobs and a very good lifestyle. I asked them if they would ever go home but they said the winter weather would be too hard to take.  Simon shot 4 under to make it so our room were the only surviving Irish.

Saturday was possibly the hottest I've ever been on a golf course because of the length of time.  It was a u draw to try and finish before the afternoon storms.  I played 9am to 220pm, in the worst of the heat, 5 hours 20.  I thought my caddy Gerry was gonna pass out as it's a hilly little course.  He actually stopped talking something I've never seen before in all the years I've known him, so I knew he wasn't feeling great either!  It was a shame as I was 2 under after 9 and fell away on the last few holes through poor concentration more than anything else and had a 1 over par round.  I was straight into the aircon and back to the hotel on the first bus.  I don't think anyone went to practice after their rounds.  Westwood was dominant, he doesn't miss a shot when he is on and makes it look very easy.  He's probably is more relaxed knowing he is the best player and as a result is putting better.  It was basically back to the hotel for quick food and then straight to bed; we don't have the energy to do anything this week.
 
I had an earlier tee time on Sunday which meant I avoided the heat for 9 holes.  I was swinging really good.  I managed to keep it together on the back 9 for 3 under total and a move up to top 20.  I would have taken that at the start of the week as I had never made the cutt before in 4 attempts here so things are improving.
 
I spent Sunday night at the hotel in KL airport as we had an early flight to Hong Kong on Monday morning.  Monday morning traffic n KL can be horrendous so I'd decided to stay closer to the flight just in case I missed it!  We were delayed 1hr 30 at the airport, travelling in Asia is a hassle as the airports are so busy.  I had a 2 hour car trip with a border crossing to get to the next event in Shenzhen, China.  The temperature outside is very cool at 26 degrees, well compared to last week anyway.  Volvo put on a good event at the China Open so I'm looking forward to it.  Bev and Erin have the cold so hopefully they get better this week before I get home on the 29th.