Preparations for Shinnecock - 16.06.04
|I got an early look at US Open venue Shinnecock after solid play at Westchester wasnít solid enough to make the cut. |
My first sight of this linksy course on Long Island reminded me of Muirfield and having been told that Whistling Straits for the US PGA Championship is also of the seaside variety, it looks like we will be playing three British Opens this year.
Monday saw me having a knock with Vijay Singh, Adam Scott and Jim Furyk, who is coming back early from injury to defend his title.
Having played the course, I came to one conclusion. Itís impossible. Itís a little similar to playing down the M25 to an upturned saucer of a green - the ball runs off everywhere but where you want it to. Youíll definitely see a lot of Texas wedge shots this week.
My frame of mind has not been improved by my not putting well and Iím not sure what will be in my bag come the first round, but some of my best performances have come after not playing well pre-tournament.
Lee Westwood and yours truly took on two young whipper snappers in Justin Rose and Ian Poulter on Tuesday in a game which had quite a bit of banter. We were ahead early, pegged back and then Lee holed a 25-footer with three foot of break on the last to halve the match.
Our manager Chubby Chandler had been playing with Lee at Pine Valley over the weekend and Iím not quite sure what Chubby had said to him, but heís certainly playing better than Iíve seen for a while. Heís been working very hard with David Leadbetter and Iím sure heíll do well this week.
I was also very impressed with the way Justin played while Poults is a scrapper and excellent pitcher so he should get it around here. But I beat him comfortably on the fashion stakes although he says heís got one or two things up his sleeve for the championship. However, I think heís been warned off his Union Jack trousers because of the noisy New York crowd.
Hopefully my chances will grow as tee-off time approaches, but at the moment I donít seem to be able to get my eye around it. Iíll probably have a better picture by the time my caddie Pete Coleman has explained to me how Bernhard Langer would have approached it.