Tony Johnstone will turn his attention to his own game at this week’s Speedy Services Wales Senior Open after trying his hand at coaching in an effort to help Lee Westwood improve his chipping.
The Zimbabwean, a renowned short game expert, spent last week working with the former World Number One and will be keeping a close eye on Westwood’s performance in The Barclays on the US PGA Tour.
But he also feels as though his own game is moving in the right direction and is hoping for a good performance at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club, which he feels should suit him.
“I’ve known Westy for years from my time on the main Tour and his manager Chubby Chandler asked me the week before last to go over to the States for five days to help with his chipping,” said the two-time Senior Tour winner.
“They wanted to see if I could spot anything and give him a go-to chipping method he could use on 90 per cent of his chips because he had lost some confidence.
“He had got a bit long in the back swing so we worked for five days – four in Florida then he went to the Barclays and we worked a bit there for a day, and I walked around with him flew back on Tuesday night.
“It was just to get him back on track but to be honest it wasn’t the most difficult thing in the world because the boy has got such talent, it is frightening. He is so easy to work with. I enjoyed it, and I think that he enjoyed it.
“When I left I think we both felt he had made considerable progress, so now we have to watch this weekend. I hope he holes about five of them!
“His bunker play has improved so much. It is now very good. He has a good putting stroke and just needs to work on his speed. But his chipping from 30 yards and in needed some work. From 60 yards his pitching is great.
“He doesn’t miss that many greens, so maybe he hasn’t had chance to practise his chipping that much. He is a fabulous ball striker and once he gets his confidence back with the chipping he won’t have a weak area in his game. It was costing him shots that he feels he shouldn’t be wasting, but once we sort that out there is no reason the guy shouldn’t be winning Majors. He has everything – as good a striker as I’ve ever seen.
“We’ve no plans to do anything more after this – it was just a case of going to see him for five days and get him back on track. But we’ll see.”
Johnstone joins former Ryder Cup Captains Mark James, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam and double Senior Major Champion Roger Chapman in the field for the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open.
Having not recorded a top ten finish so far on the European Senior Tour in 2012, the 56 year old is keen
“I had to withdraw from last week’s Scottish Senior Open to go and see Lee in the US, but I’m playing well,” said the six-time European Tour champion. “I’m putting well and the game feels as though it is in good shape. I think I could do well this week and I love this golf course. It is a good honest links course. If you hit the shots, you get the results.”
The Speedy Services Wales Senior Open forms part of the Welsh Government’s support for golf which also includes The Senior Open Championship, hosted by Royal Porthcawl in 2014 and on two further occasions before 2024. The government’s support programme is part of the 2010 Ryder Cup legacy, following The Celtic Manor Resort’s staging of golf’s premier team competition two years ago.