Date: July 22, 2011

Griffin blog: Bitten in Fiji

It has been a while since my last update and plenty has happened in the meantime. In early June, I had the Nanshan Masters, an event on the One Asia Tour. It was in northeast China on a nice course that required good play to score well. My side of the draw copped the windy conditions both days, which made it difficult for scoring. On the Friday we even had a delay due to high winds but I played well enough to make the cut and be in a reasonable position heading to the weekend. This was good after a few tough weeks prior and felt like I could make up some ground on the weekend. Unfortunately as had been the case on the opening couple of days, I struggled to convert my chances and ended up finishing in around 50th. After a quick trip home it was then off to Fiji for a couple of weeks of golf and holidaying. The past couple of years Fiji has been the place, where I have turned my year around. The first event was the Fiji Open at Pacific Harbour, which has a nice design but was in poor condition due to the wet weather in Suva. This made the golf a bit of a lottery but I put myself right in contention, 1 back heading into the final day. With a bit of poor play and bad luck on the bumpy greens I fell back to 7th but it was an enjoyable week between golf and the pool. It was then back to the Starwood Classic, an event I won last year. Played nicely without reward and ended up 9th which was ok. I really enjoyed the week with some fun playing partners and great accommodation at the Sheraton Denarau resort. Unfortunately, I had an added thing from the week, which I hadn t bargained for as from the last Friday a red spot appeared on my leg, which grew to the point where it was tough to walk, excruciating and extremely hot to touch. The most likely cause was a spider or a mosquito bite that became infected. As a result I moved my flights forward a couple of days, which meant I couldn&apost join a boat and fishing cruise organised with a few of the other players out to the islands. Frustrating, but the right decision, as by the time I got home Sunday afternoon I had a bad fever. I went to the doctor, who sent me straight to Sandringham hospital. After being admitted I was put on IV antibiotics and the doctor made a deep cut in my leg to release the infection. This was done to stop the infection spreading, which I was told could have led to the loss of my leg. I was very glad I had made the earlier flight home! The cut had to be made deeper on Monday morning but by the afternoon I was allowed to go home. I still needed daily IV antibiotics by the district nurse until Thursday and then required regular dressing changes for the next 10 days. The nurses and staff were fantastic and made it as easy as possible, but by the last appointment I was happy to say goodbye to all medical staff. It slowed my preparation for the next 2 One Asia events but I was able to get a reasonable amount of practise, although I hadn t been able to get to the gym at all, which was frustrating. It was then off to Korea for the High One Open before heading onto Indonesia the following week. The High One Open was played at a large ski resort in the South Korean mountains, which will be a site used for the Winter Olympics in 2018. The course was spectacular and quite a good layout, although they had unfortunately grown the fairways in to be sometimes only 6 paces wide, which made it difficult. An early tee time on Thursday saw a good chance to get off to a good start. After losing my opening tee shot I wasn&apost so sure, but I played a great back nine, to shoot 3 under and in a tie for 8th when round 1 was eventually completed. I finished my round before 12pm on the Thursday but wouldn&apost get out again due to extremely frustrating weather. We were high up in the mountains and Korea had been experiencing a huge amount of rain. A combination of rain and fog delays due to the low clouds meant an extremely frustrating week for all. By 11am on Sunday the 2 round wasn&apost even nearly halfway completed, when the organisers finally gave up. During Friday and Saturday I had warmed up a couple of times but never really looked like getting back out. Unfortunately the whole field received the same amount of cash, $2000US so the nice start went to waste. It was then off to the Indonesian Open played at a great course in Jakarta that demands a lot of the players and has a closing stretch that would test the nerves of anyone. The course was in great shape and had the fastest Bermuda greens I have ever putted on running at 12-13 on the stint meter. The afternoons were significantly tougher and so a 73 on day one wasn t great but not the worst score. After an early bogey on day 2, I took advantage of the early conditions to shoot a five under 67, which put me back into contention. It was also a great learning experience to play with Stephen Leaney on the first couple of days. He has won all around the world and almost won the US Open back in 2003. After watching a lot of the British Open back at the hotel, I was inspired for a big weekend and played well on Saturday in tricky conditions for 1 under, but fell away from the lead a bit. A good Sunday and I could still finish well. On Sunday the pins were extremely difficult, a lot were tucked close to the water and with the fast greens, scoring was tough. A slow start wasn&apost what I was after, but my momentum gradually built and left a chip for eagle on the lip on 17 and was 3 back in 5th spot. A bogey up the brutal 18th left me outright ninth and a good week with a closing 68 to shoot 9 under for the week. It has been nice to return to form and feel like a big second half to the year is right out in front of me. The past couple of years have actually panned out in a similar way. The infection in my leg could end up being a positive as it has really made me get back to enjoying my golf. From here I have a couple more weeks at home before heading up to the Thailand Open and to a course I enjoyed back on the Asian Tour back in 2009. Hopefully I can go a couple better than last year.