I’ve played the first eight and a half holes very well, so I’m looking forward to the last nine and a half. Mostly my irons (were the problem). I also had a couple of swing thoughts that weren’t quite right.
I didn’t hit enough fairways in the last two days in Ireland and that’s why I shot two 71s and also had 70 putts over the weekend which was too many to catch up on anybody. It was unfortunate that all happened at the one time and I shot two 71s.
But it’s nice to know that not driving the ball and having trouble with my irons and taking 70 putts that I was still scoring level par. Very nice to know. I know what’s I’m doing. I have three particular thoughts with my swing and one of them wasn’t quite working and I’ve sorted it out fine. The shafts are a similar brand, just a bit stiffer.
Q You’ve talked about your desire to win in America. How does winning in Scotland stack up?
A Sure I’d love to win in Scotland. I’ve been close a couple of times in the Scottish Open as it was and now Loch Lomond. I’ve been top ten here the three years it’s been here but I haven’t quite challenged properly. I’ve been seventh, fourth and tenth so I haven’t performed as I might have done and obviously I’d like to challenge better this weekend than I have done the last three years. Yes, I’d love to win an individual title here in Scotland. We won the Dunhill Cup with the help of Coltart and Torrance on that occasion so it would be nice to win individually in Scotland.
Q Can you tell us your thoughts on Sergio Garcia?
A Well obviously he’s got a super future is he keeps himself fit and healthy. He’s got a super future ahead of him. He’s obviously very courageous and he doesn’t tend to suffer in any way through nerves or lack of confidence or self belief. He seems to be a very confident young chap and very full of self belief which is everything in this game if you feel you’re to achieve something you’re halfway there. And he’s certainly more than halfway there. He’s full of confidence right now and it’s good to see. Every so often a very, very good player comes along and we’re lucky that he’s European on this occasion.
I said a couple of months ago about the picks. I’m not the captain and it’s Mark James’s position but I said at that stage that Garcia and Parnevik were the two picks at that stage. Now that Garcia is only £50,000 behind the tenth sport I personally believe he’s going to make that up – and the rest, so Mark James will have a free pick if you like as opposed to having his hands tied and having to pick that particular person. It would be super if he does make it and if he does, having played half the tournaments the rest of the team have, all credit to him. He’s very confident and full of self believe and I think he’s feels sure he’ll make it now and I go along with that.
Would I play with him? I think he’s got a ready partner in Olazabal so we’ll leave that alone.
I didn’t set any targets for these week. I try to get into contention and hopefully I’ll be speaking to you on Friday evening in contention to win this tournament and that’s all I can do. Beyond that, lady luck plays a huge role in the game of golf and beyond that all I can do is try to be in contention every week. Last week I had a chance and we’ll try to do the same thing this week.
The course is very long indeed. The ball’s almost dropping dead with a driver. We’ve had an awful lot of rain and it was touch and go whether this course was open. It’s very very wet. So let’s hope we can have a dry evening and get the first two days out of the way.
I’m staying at Troon but not to play. I’m in a tournament here. I will not be playing. I don’t spend much time with my father so it’s nice to do that. I might stay up here tomorrow. I’ve no idea where the notion comes form that I am practising my pitch and run shots. It’s a bit of a myth. There’s heavy rough around the greens at Carnoustie and if I have one pitch and run shot a day around Carnoustie I’ll be lucky. The best golfer usually wins around these Open courses, whether he’s a great and runner or a great links player.
Mark O’Meara proved he can win at Augusta and win an Open and so have a lot of others. The best and most confident player will win. The guy who doesn’t think he’s going to win has no chance. This is fantastic preparation for confidence-boosting if I finish in the top three because this game is based on confidence.
Q Are you here out of a sense of duty?
A Exactly. There is no money involved here. I just feel that the obligation to play golf in Scotland – I don’t have the opportunity often – and we only have one in Scotland and it’s right that I play here.