|Day 1 – Tuesday July 8, 2003
My mind will occasionally stray 500 miles south while I am on the bonny banks of Loch Lomond. No matter what anybody says about this week, few playing in the Scottish Open will be able to blot out what’s around the corner.
The Open Championship started invading my psyche a couple of weeks ago when I went down to Royal St.George’s for a sneak preview of what’s in store for us when we arrive in that quiet little corner of Kent.
It will be quite an eye-opener for many because I had forgotten just how difficult a course it is. I shot one under or maybe it was level and felt as if I’d played well.
What I do know is that anybody who doesn’t have their A game with them might just as well pick up an A to Z and find the best way to the nearest airport.
It will be links golf at its toughest, particularly when the wind blows because Sandwich is arguably the hardest on the Open rota. Fortunately I like it and the course is in great condition and will be in fantastic shape come a week Thursday.
There are blind tee shots, difficult greens and changes that have generally toughened up what was already a stiff test.
I was never tempted to take a week off before The Open because it is important that I keep playing and groove my swing. Some people may think playing a parkland course before moving on to links may not be ideal preparation, but it is important to me to ensure I get into a rhythm. I grew up on links so I am no stranger to the vagaries of golf by the sea.
I don’t think I have ever looked forward with more enthusiasm to an Open and I do consider it my best chance of winning a major. I haven’t managed to break through so far this season, but I do know I’m very close… and what better time.