I was expecting to write my latest column from Cyprus before playing in the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open but unfortunately, I’m self-isolating in France after my caddie, Bruno, tested positive for COVID-19.
Before we set off for the first of two European Tour events in Cyprus, we were required to take another test and he came back with a positive result shortly after the Italian Open came to an end. Bruno was quite frustrated and apologetic about the situation but it’s not his fault in any way – this is the new normal. He has been feeling fine and hasn’t shown any symptoms but, clearly, we both need to self-isolate for the required period. The priority is for him to get better so we can make our way to South Africa when this is all done and dusted. In a way, I’m glad that this happened now, rather than the end of the season, as we wouldn’t want to miss out on the DP World Tour Championship. Despite Bruno coming back with a positive result, mine was negative so I had the option to self-isolate in Italy or drive to France to be closer to my girlfriend and isolate there.
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Uncertain times we are all living in. Due to a positive test before flying to Cyprus, I won’t be able to tee it up these next two weeks. @brunosantiagoisasii and I are self isolating and hoping that everything goes smothly and we are back soon. Gotta thank @europeantour for taking the right measures in and out of the course to make tournaments happen in these difficult moments. #KeepSmiling #SocialDistancing
I booked myself an apartment on Airbnb and set off on the drive which ended up taking a lot longer than expected due to it pouring down with rain for the first three hours so I couldn’t go faster than 60km/h! It feels like I’m in my second quarantine of the year after being locked down in Spain in the summer but that is the world we live in right now so we’ve just got to take it as it comes. Not getting out on the course or driving range for ten days is going to be a new experience for me but I’ll use the time to do some home workouts and I’ve also got my clubs with me so I’ll be able to practice my swing indoors. Sometimes it’s good to disconnect from the golfing world and just focus on yourself so I’ll definitely take advantage of being able to relax and not having to set any early morning alarms! Looking back on last month, I’m happy with where my game is at right now and I’ve put myself in a decent position in a couple of tournaments.
I started well at the BMW PGA Championship and was joint leader after the first round which was really satisfying as it was the first time I had played the course. The West Course at Wentworth is one of those courses that makes you think and I really enjoy that; it’s similar to Real Club Valderrama but not as challenging. I carried that momentum into the Scottish Championship and was in the hunt on Sunday which shows that everything I’m working on is starting to click. It’s a matter of going out on the course enjoying it and that was the main thing for me last month – coming to these events and being able to have fun again and have a more relaxed approach. There’s always pressure when you are in the mix in the final round but the more times you are in that position then the better you are going to get at converting that into a win.
I’ve worked a lot with my mental coach on keeping it simple in those situations, play it one shot at a time and also take my mind away from it at times by talking to Bruno about non-golf related things. I ended up in a share of fifth which was a solid result but I’m certain they will turn into wins soon. With three weeks away from the course I’m going to be eager to get going again so I’ll be heading over to South Africa for the newly announced tournaments. I’m happy that the European Tour put these South African events on the schedule because heading over there at the end of the season has always been good fun and hopefully, I can keep the momentum going until the DP World Tour Championship