Big players love the big events and with Major season now well and truly underway and the Rolex Series on the horizon, the competitive juices are flowing.
We’ve entered that crucial stage of the season when the big events are coming thick and fast and as a player, it’s the period that you enjoy the most as it’s the time when you can really make your mark in the game.
The month began at one of the most special places in the golf world, Augusta National and The Masters was a memorable experience once again even though I didn’t play as well as I would have liked. Before the event got underway I played in the traditional Par 3 Contest where I was partnered with the legendary Sir Nick Faldo and my good friend Jon Rahm. It was good fun and to have my wife Sofia on the bag made it even more special.
During the event itself, I was paired with Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose for the first two rounds, which was cool and I was even the outright leader after 28 holes! After that, it kind of fell apart from holes 11-18 on day two which was really disappointing and I fell way off the pace. But I did get paired with Tiger Woods on the final day which was amazing, it was great seeing a fit Tiger back and we had some good conversations during our round.
After I had finished at Augusta National I flew out to 11-time World Surf Champion Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch with Adam Scott. The Surf Ranch is not on the sea but inland so the waves are manmade and are the perfect form and shape for surfing. It was such a phenomenal experience to be able to surf again with one of the greatest surfers of all time – and one of my best friends in the sporting world – at his very own Surf Ranch. I’m still on a high from it three weeks later! The Ranch will be hosting the World Surf League for the first time later this year so I and I’m sure all of the competitors will be blown away by how good it is.
— World Surf League (@wsl) April 11, 2018
After my trip to California, I played in the Open de España. The tournament was a fairly late addition to the European Tour schedule so I didn’t prepare for it as well as I could have due to my pre-planned trip to the Surf Ranch. I got to the course on the Wednesday evening and felt really jetlagged. Unfortunately, I missed the cut by one which was a shame; I had a chance to get into the third round on the 18th but only managed a par. I did play with Jon Rahm for the first two rounds though which was nice. I remember inviting Jon to play with me at the World Cup in 2016 after he had just turned professional and he has gone on to become a fantastic player. We’ve built a very strong bond since then so I was delighted that he got the win in Spain on a course that he knows so well.
I’ve got another two huge events coming up this month with The Players Championship on the PGA Tour and the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. I really enjoyed The Players when I competed there for the first time last year and became the first person ever to make an albatross on the 16th hole in the final round. I got a little bit excited when the ball went in and threw my club in the air to celebrate. But when it landed it bounced into the water and I had to go in to retrieve it so I’ll try to remember to throw it in the other direction if I do something similar this year!