After the intense media coverage on the incident I flew home Saturday night for some down time and decided on the Tuesday to fly to Huston and play myself into the Masters. (All players have to confirm entry for the following week by 5pm EST on a Friday which I did during the Dell). No way I could give up this opportunity on reflection. First day was a disaster and at 123rd place I actually went back that night and packed my bags! That was me playing games with myself and setting a challenge which turned out successful… I’ve been saying my game was good and it all clicked into place – the swing, the putting stroke, I just felt really good and focused. After a 64 and 65 went into the last round tied for the lead. Played in the last group with Beau Hossler. A few groups ahead Jordan got off to a hot start and the crowds went with him which in a way made our round a bit more relaxed than the usual Sunday last tee time pressure. Got off to a fast start and made 3 quick birdies. At one point I had a 3 shot lead but it’s never over till it’s over. Through holes 12-16 Beau made 4 straight birdies against my 4 pars and all of a sudden I am 1 back! I just told myself same patience, I was swinging great and had my irons dialled in. The last 2 holes at Houston are not easier through – on 18 Beau hits an amazing bunker shot to 30 feet and nearly makes the putt to win upright. The good news for me was we had the same line so I saw the putt committed and, well, you know the rest…
As I revealed in my interview I was always going to Augusta National. It was just a case of when I was going to Augusta National next week either as a commentator for Sky Sports or as a player!
It was well documented – I had never won a stroke play event in the USA, 6 years since my last win, needed a win to get into the Masters. Well if you believe in fate then after the Dell Match Play it was scripted to turn out this way. I cannot describe my emotions. Last few years have had their challenges on and off the course and as I said in my post round interview this one is for my wife Katie, she is the reason I am still playing out here, what more can I say…
In summary the first 3 months of the year has had its highs and lows, but how sweet is a victory the week before the Masters, one to treasure with fond memories!
Until next time