It's been an amazing 12 months for Brandon Stone. Having won his first European Tour title at the BMW SA Open last year, he went on to play in the Open Championship, US PGA Championship and the Olympics before winning again at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. Ahead of his title defence, he took some time to write this week's Player Blog.
It’s a little different coming back to an event as defending champion. Parking is a lot easier! Getting the first parking spot outside the front door is cool, you don’t have to walk too far. Last year, everyday was a struggle to find a spot so being defending champion has its perks.
I’ve played here at Glendower Golf Club since I was a kid. I live just about 30 miles away so it’s pretty familiar. I’ve played a lot of junior events here and now quite a few professional events too. I really like the course. It’s an old-school, parkland course and that fits my eye. It helps to hit it long here and take on some of the holes but with the greens as good as they are, so much comes down to putting well. The greens look superb.
I did absolutely nothing over Christmas and it was great. I just stayed at home, worked on my house a little bit, watched a lot movies and spent a lot of time on my couch. It was great. Nice to relax after a busy 2016 and recharge for this year.
Dullstroon for a little R&R ... all I can say is thank goodness I play golf for a living and not fish! pic.twitter.com/bcAppZ7mzB— Brandon Stone (@BrandonMStone) 23 December 2016
As far as movies go, Assassin's Creed was really good. I don't think Michael Fassbender ever has a bad movie. I'm a bit of a Star Wars geek, too, so of course I saw Rogue One. It was a funny film, though, as they basically dedicated an entire movie to mistakes in the previous ones but it was good - you've got to love George Lucas.
If I had to evaluate 2016, I would give myself a pass. A good pass. I achieved a lot of goals I had set out for myself at the start of the season, winning early in the year and playing in a couple of Majors. But as soon as you achieve those goals, it’s important to raise the bar a little and keep improving. I think I’m 72 in the world currently so I’d like to make a push for the top 50 and try to get into the Masters. I’ve got a lot to do but all I can control is taking the fewest amount of shots over the next three of four months and hope it’s good enough.
Playing with Rory in the third round at the Open de France was probably the best Saturday of my life. We had a lot of fun on the course, we both played well, the fans were incredible and it was just a special day. Rory obviously hits the ball miles and whilst I’m not long, I’m not short. I might be close to him pound-for-pound but so long as I have my feet on the ground, I’m not going to out-drive him. The key when you play with guys like that is managing your game and concentrating on your own strengths. Often if you’ve got the adrenaline of a big group or a big atmosphere you hit the ball five or ten yards further. It’s important to be aware of that.
I love social media and sharing some of the places we get to go to. Anytime I’m bored, I’m on Instagram or Twitter just seeing what’s going on. What you see on my feeds is what I’m like. I’m a massive car enthusiast, I love my dogs, hanging out with my friends, having a good braai every now and then. It’s fun to interact with people on social media and not take yourself too seriously.
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