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I have better memories of Seville

It's a bit of a trip to Seville; you either fly to Malaga or Faro and then drive about two and a half hours from either airport.  We chose Malaga due to flight times from Gatwick.  Seville is probably my favourite destination on the Tour.  It's a very picturesque city with lots of narrow cobbled streets, an amazing Cathedral and a Moorish Royal Palace.  It's also where Bev and I got engaged two years ago. We travelled on Monday, the day starting slightly earlier than required as Bev misread the Easyjet confirmation.  So we arrived at Gatwick at 830 am for a 1230 flight.  At least we had time for a huge breakfast in the Sofitel.  It kept us going until we picked up a Burger King on the road from Malaga to Seville around 5pm.  A healthy day to start the week!


I met Phil Kenyan, my putting coach on Tuesday morning and was rolling it nicely and then spent one and a half hours hitting with Jamie Gough who'd just arrived in from Korea - a 25 hour trip via Dubai, Madrid, Faro followed by a long drive.  He was shattered.  I played 9 holes with Simon Thornton in the afternoon, winning the money (a grand total of one Euro!) and spent the rest of the day catching up with my physio Shane and planning strategy with Owen.  The course has been set up really tough, the rough was thick and the fairways narrow, the greens are fast and slopey.  It was definitely a week for your "A" game!


The Pro-am on Wednesday took 5 hours; it's a tough course for us never mind the Amateurs.  One of my playing partners made an Eagle with a shot for a net Albatross, not something I see too often!  I was struggling with my swing - blocking it too much and getting too legsy.  Old habits definitely die hard!


Last time I was here in 2010 it was 36⁰C and sweltering, the total opposite of this year.  It was more like an Irish Open - cold, wet and windy - very unusual in Andalucía!  I was playing on Thursday afternoon and got the best of the weather.  It was still tough but less windy and wet than in the morning.  I started really well, was 2 under after 3 and really enjoying it.  I lifted my head a fraction on a long bunker shot on the 9th, ended up in the water and double bogeyed.  After that my confidence took a knock and I didn't hit many fairways.  Even though I got the ball up and down nine times I finished with a disappointing 3 over, 75 in 80th position.  I spent the next hour and a half on the range with Jamie and Owen trying to get some confidence back into my swing and remember all the good stuff we've been working on over the past 2 years!  Sometimes it's hard, especially when you have people watching.  My parents were out for the week and sometimes I feel a little more tension when there are people who know me well watching.


I had an early start on Friday and wasn't accurate enough from the tee again.  I was 3 over after 9 holes and out of it.  I knew it was going to be an early exit and that's a horrible feeling with 9 holes left to play in wet and windy conditions.  The adrenaline leaves you and all you want to do is get off the course, especially when you're playing partners are having a great round.  Robert Rock only missed 1 fairway on Friday, scoring an impressive 5 under par.  He's a really nice bloke and someone I've not spent much time with before.  Carlos Del Moral had struggled a little on Thursday as well but played really well until the final hole on Friday.  He hit it out of bounds on the left and thought he'd missed the cut by one because of it.  He finished on +3 and I thought he would be safe as all the afternoon guys still had to play in the tricky conditions.  The wind stayed consistent and the cut ended up being +4.  There were a lot of glum faces around the club as lots of really good players missed the cut - even the Irish, and we should be used to playing in this weather.


Jamie gave Bev and I a run-down of the practice I needed to do over the next two weeks in preparation for Wentworth.  She acts as his eyes and ears when I'm practicing at home and videos a few swings every day to send to him in South Africa for review.  Basically she just reminds me not to meddle with my swing too much and keeps me focused on the basic items Jamie has asked me to work on.  I'm confident that I'll be back in great shape for the BMW at Wentworth if I follow Jamie's advice and hit the gym a few times as well.
So we changed the flight and travelled home to Ascot on Saturday morning, through the most horrendous rain showers.  We ended up meeting up with Jamie at Gatwick (his flight from Faro arrived at the same time) and delivering him to Heathrow for his flight back to South Africa and a much needed 2 weeks break.  Then we caught the second half of the FA Cup Final, both of us screaming at the TV, Chelsea probably the better team.   Was it a goal?  Who knows!  It just wasn't my weekend in sport! 


The hard work started on Sunday, in the rain.  I swear it's following me around!  I had a good session and took the weeks frustration out in the gym later, watching the end of the golf.  I knew it would be someone with a game like Francesco who won, someone who hits the ball straight and is on lots of fairways and greens.  I played with him in The Dubai World and his game is solid, his ability to get out of trouble and remain calm is unbelievable.  So there's work to be done, even though it's not real work if you're enjoying it!