Date: October 09, 2011

Griffin blog: the home of golf and the trials of travel

By Matthew Griffin The past couple of weeks have seen the highs of pro golf and some of the lows. It all started last week with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews in Scotland – a $5m European Tour event that had 6 of the world&aposs top 10 players plus all of the European Tour big names along with many celebrities. It is a great week as you play Kingsbarns, St Andrews and Carnoustie over the first 3 days and get paired with an amateur partner before a cut Saturday night to the top 60 players. Unfortunately I missed out on Warnie or Steve Waugh but got the owner of Celtic Manor Resort in Wales as my partner. It is usually a cold and windy week in Scotland but incredibly the weather was beautiful apart from the Sunday. This was a good result and my form was good heading into the event so I was confident of taking on the big names. Got off to a great start at Kingsbarns on Day 1 to be 3 under after 7. Continued to play great to the 12th in quite windy conditions but didn t capitalise on my chances and could have been 3 or 4 better. A tough run home and I gave them back with a few visits to the pot bunkers, which was disappointing. A round of 72 was solid but given the way I had played I was disappointed. From there it was off to Carnoustie for Round 2 – traditionally one of the hardest courses in the world. After a slow start I made a good run before hitting it into the burn on 18, which was a very frustrating shot as I had the easier front nine to come. Played a great 9 holes and gave myself 9 realistic birdie chances but only made 2 of them despite putting nicely. A two under 70 was a good score but again I left a few out there while a number of the top players went low. Saturday would see a round at the Old Course and with soft winds another chance to go low. Got off to a great start off 10 and made the turn at 3 under having negotiated the road hole. There were plenty of birdie chances coming home and I played well but again didn t make the most of my opportunities to finish with a 4 under 68. A great thrill and most importantly I had made Sunday. Sunday would see the Scottish weather finally arrive and we played the first nine in a cold wind and constant rain, which was the back nine as I started on 10. In the cold and wet this nine is extremely difficult and after 8 I was plus 4 for the day including a visit to the road on 17, which is not the place to be! I stuck it out though and played fantastic coming home to play the front in 5 under and shoot 71 and finish 7 under for the week in 53rd place. Overall I was really happy with the way I played for the 4 days and with a bit of luck could have finished in the top 20. It was step in the right direction and playing Sunday at St Andrews is not something many people get to do! I m sure it will be the first of many if things keep going in the right direction. It was also a great week having my American friends Jamie and Lorrie come along for the week with Jamie caddying. He has earnt time on the bag in the future. Also have a few Scots and Englishmen who have spent time in Australia out there were fun too. I can t wait to return! So having just got over my jet lag heading to the UK, I would have to put my body through it again heading back to Korea and a 3.30 alarm Monday morning wouldn t help. Made my way there and just made my tee time for my Tuesday practice round. Yes – in Korea they make you play at a certain time unlike anywhere else! It was then back to the hotel and my concrete feeling mattress. Wednesday is pro am day and no Aussies get in so it is just practice and a restricted one bucket of balls. This would mean I would got more rest, which was good and headed for my tee time on Day 1. Just wasn t with it all day and keep hitting it in the wrong spots, which isn t hard to do given all the pins are tucked. This all added up to 5 over and struggled again on Friday so heading home tomorrow night. Still feeling good with my game and feel this week has been a combination of the worst jet lag I have had (waking up like it&aposs morning at 1am isn t good!), a big change of course and tough week added up to a poor result. So from here it is off to a week at home before starting the Aussie summer that I am really excited about. Looking forward to too seeing many of you along the way. Matt Griffin is a former National Squad member and current member of Golf Australia&aposs Rookie Professional Program. This blog can also be found at his website