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Preparations underway for Galgorm after cut mix-up at Denmark event

I think it was the first time in 11 years that a tournament has been held in Denmark.  It's strange since the banks didn't borrow like ours did and the resulting economy has not been hit as hard.  The Danish golfers like Bjorn the 2 Hanson's and Soren Kjeldson are all doing well so the gap has been surprising.
Allborg was tricky to get in and out of (we will talk more about this later) the only options were Belfast to Amsterdam and up, or Dublin to Copenhagen and on, or Dublin to Frankfurt then Billund which was 2 hours away.  I had 4 hours in Schiphol airport, not too bad and with a new Lee Child book for company I was happy!  Reading about Reacher beating people up and as a plane enthusiast the stop gave me plenty of time to watch take offs and landings.   I would encourage the younger pros to become plane geeks which is not easy if you think it's boring, a bit like train spotting.   I used to be afraid of them which is rather unfortunate in this line of work but I'm an enthusiast now, call me a geek, but it helps you pass the time.  The flight radar app is great and it's pretty addictive, being able to watch all the flights progress around the world. 

  It was good to be part of the pro golf fraternity again, seeing the players and cads. It felt like back to school again after 3 weeks away.  Finding out what caddies have been sacked and who's with whom, it's a bit like changing girlfriends!
 
  Allborg airport was only 15mims from our hotel and I checked in to discover there was no restaurant in the hotel, I think was a first ever in 15 years of pro golf!  So I headed out for food.  I happened to bump into James Morrison, his coach and David Horsey and asked to join them.  We found a really good local restaurant and ordered Chateau Briand, why not treat ourselves.  David Horsey won the Russian Open two weeks ago.  I had won the event last year but I couldn't defend the title because of the laceration on the sole of my foot, it was a shame as I loved the course.  He had treated himself to a Ferrari 458 just last week, I was jealous!  Bev says he's not married with babies like me, so I can get one after I get a house, pay off the mortgage and set up college funds.  It may be a while then!  It's a phenomenal car and price!  He says the noise is crazy good!  They are 2 a penny around Manchester although with all the footballers not like in N Ireland, I may stand out just a bit!
 
Allborg was a picturesque town on the river with nice old buildings, it reminded me of Sweden.  I guess it's a similar area.  On Tuesday I went up to meet Gerry at the course.  It was 45 minutes to the course, surprisingly far but it's the nearest big town.  Gerry had driven his van from Southport ready for 6 weeks of transporting clubs around Europe.  We both talked about the routines on Tour and how at home it's hard to get into a routine sometimes.  I started going to the gym at SINI, UUJ Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 730am.  It gives me a routine and gets me up.
I tested the new 915 Titleist driver on the range as I hadn't been happy with the settings and feel of it.  Phil at Titleist changed it to a C1 setting and put in a lighter shaft.  Trackman confirmed it gave me better launch and spin numbers, most importantly it felt better than my own old driver. 
  We were about to play 9 holes when there was a big wait on the tee so we decided to walk, you always see more anyway.  Just then a storm cell moved in and we were evacuated till 5pm with lightening.  It's frustrating when you've just had 3 weeks off.  I got Physio from the Tour physios as pro golf health weren't there.  It's a relatively small event this week in Denmark and a lot of the other guys using Pro Golf had played the US PGA.  It was only myself and Peter Ulhein who were here.  The tour physios do a good job but we only get 25mins as opposed to 1 hr that's what Shane (Lawlor my physio) reckons we need to loosen the tissue properly!  The body certainly feels the difference now!   I was back late to the hotel then grabbed a quick bite and headed to bed ready for a 520am car to the course for the 730am pro-am.  Early starts, long days.
 
We got lucky, the weather was fine and my team were nice local guys.  They made mattresses, right from the expensive tempur ones to the more basic models.  The 3 guys got to nominate me to play one of their shots which is a fun format, however it's easier to live with yourself after a bad shot than someone else.  I hit one tee shot well and 2 irons into the green, Gerry gave me a dodgy club to the back of the green and the guy 3 putted but the other shot got a net birdie.  The rain and storm came in just after I did some swing work with Johnny Foster so it was Physio again and home finally for dinner with Peter Lawrie and Damien McGrane.   Peter has really struggled this last little while which is surprising after 12 good years on tour. Golf is funny, he's been trying improve his ball flight to a stronger one and it hasn't worked yet.   The same happened to Kaymer, golf is like no other sport you work hard to get better and sometimes you just need to stay the same, work that one out!  It's difficult for driven and competitive people to understand! 
 
I read an article by Geoff Ogilvy saying the same thing, basically that he's worked harder than ever on the range but range golf is so different to course golf and you end up hating it in a quest to improve.  He's reduced his practice now and is playing better.
 
I was with Justin Walters and Steve Webster on Thursday.  I started lovely and was on the leader board, 2 under in a very strong wind. Then I lost concentration, a theme on back 9s lately, and a misread the putt on 18 for bogey which made dinner taste very sour.  I found the greens hard to read, a few guys said the same.  Justin sprayed it from the start and was millions over and Webby was decent.  He's a nice player, a good ball striker but chipping cac handed, it's always been a weakness of his.
 
 Friday was another 520am departure.  I hit it well at the start but lipped out a couple of times and then hit it way right on 2 tee shots and lost both balls. I was unlucky as the marshals didn't see or hear them.  I recovered each time with a birdie but was one shot too many I thought.  Webby was missing but birdied the 8th where I flew the green with a wedge, it killed my round.  The wind was helping more than I thought not right to left. 
 
The wind was dying; my only chance of making the cutt was if it maintained strength.   Gerry and I packed the flight bag and headed to the hotel.  To leave on Saturday was 600 quid just to get to Dublin.  This is what people don't see; if you play poorly and leave early it becomes a lot more expensive.  There was a flight to Amsterdam that night at 1820; I thought we would know the cutt by that stage anyway so I booked onto it.  Just before the flight took off I checked again and I was 70th with only 65 and ties making it and little wind I was happy it would miss.  I arrived in Amsterdam and was stood waiting for my golf clubs when Bev informed me I was getting closer to the cutt.  There were a few holes left to play and James Heath was on the cut mark, plus there was an amateur in the field who'd be disregarded when the cut was calculated.  My clubs still hadn't arrived and I was running about like a mad man trying to find them in case I needed them on Saturday!  Incredibly James Heath bogeyed the 18th and because of the amateur, 66th was now 65th so I'd made the cutt! I've never seen this happen in all the years I've been on Tour.  The clubs weren't there so I headed to the KLM baggage desk to file a report.  There was a big queue and I was frantic at this point while Bev and I were on the phone trying to decide how to get me back.  It was 830 in Amsterdam and things were shutting down as well.  After I got the baggage report filed we discovered a 945pm to Copenhagen, which was still 5 hours away from Aalborg so I ran up to the desk without my clubs, sweat lashing off me it was 910 I asked for a ticket and  she laughed at me.  Then we tried Billund at 950pm which was two hours away and again she laughed at me.  Then Bev tried other options, private light aircraft, helicopters the works.  Everything had closed for the night apart from a limo service which would take me but not till 11pm and for only 2 thousand dollars!  I called the limo company and said I was ready but they didn't have any note of a booking for me as Bev did it so recently.  I called again getting the same response then I said right I'll try a taxi, went down the line of cars and when I mentioned Denmark the drivers all said no. Finally what I presume was an illegal immigrant taxi driver (tonnes of these at European airports) who would have done anything for cash said he'd take me. I jumped in and he entered the address into sat nav, Allborg came up 900km away.  He said 1000euro and I had 8hours to make my tee time as it was 11pm.  This was something Jack Reacher would do.  I was so tired from the 5am start, hadn't eaten anything and just couldn't face this crazy journey to play with borrowed clubs on no sleep.  I would have shot millions even if we had to get there but that wasn't likely toll road payments, refuelling and the sheer distance.  The guy would possibly kill us both en-route.  Bev was on the phone telling me not to get in the car at this stage, don't think she fancies funeral planning as a new career.

  I headed to a hotel instead and was so wound up hardly got any sleep.  I had to be up early for my flight back to Belfast, the reason I left on Friday night.  Luckily I found my clubs in the airport the next morning and managed to get them to Belfast.  Julien Quense's caddy happened to spot me in the airport and said my clubs had sat beside him from Allborg, this despite KLM insisting they were not in Allborg the previous evening!  Thankfully EasyJet allowed them on relatively late and they arrived back in Belfast.
 
I watched some of the golf.  It was good to see Gareth Maybin playing better, but the weather was the same rough stuff it's unlucky for the tournament as it was a good show by the sponsors and there was a big crowd turnout.  Schmichel played the pro-am along with the Crown Prince.  50,000 tickets were sold and all we needed was a touch more sun.
 
I spent a lot of time watching the US golf whilst I was off since the Open.  I can't believe how well Rory has been playing.  What an unbelievable run of form he's hit on!  Three wins in three, for three of the hugest events out there.  Amazing!
I'll be in the gym this week and will be trying to put in some work before next week's Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.   It's going to be a great event, tickets are free is you register online at www.niopen.com.  There's a food festival too and tons for all the family!  I'm looking forward to sampling some of the food and beer on offer, all we need is a bit of decent weather.  Hopefully it's better than this horrible stuff at the moment.