There has been a lot of learning this year.
It’s been a lot different to my previous years as a professional. Lots of travelling, meeting new people, new golf courses, knowing the places to stay; it’s definitely been full-on compared to previous years.
As for my game this year, I’d describe it as average at best.
I started the season OK but once it started up in Europe after the desert and Asian swing I lost my way a little bit.
I wasn’t as sharp from a golf perspective but I also wasn’t as sharp mentally.
At the start of the year a mate of mine, Ryan, was caddying for me and we played quite well and had a bit of fun.
Then I got a gig with a well-known professional caddie when things kicked off in Europe and the first event we had together was in Morocco. I was staying by myself that week and as soon as I got to the hotel I felt so lonely.
It hit me straight away in the first week of a six-week block. I hadn’t even teed off yet and I was thinking that all I wanted to do was to go home.
It was a bit of a shock because I’d never felt like that before. I’m not the type of person who would normally get down about stuff like that but once I got to Morocco I felt myself changing.
I got through the middle of the year and played in some big tournaments but I wasn’t enjoying my golf as much as I should have.
I look back now and I’m disappointed in myself that it got to that stage rather than knocking it on the head earlier, working out what was wrong and fixing it.
For the past nine weeks I’ve had another mate caddying for me, James, and it’s been really fun. I’m enjoying being back out on the golf course again and the improved results are reflective of that.
Even if you’re playing bad, if you’re having fun off the golf course it’s a lot easier to go to work every day.
Because I was on the European Tour I thought I had to have a professional caddie and do this, this and this but then you lose what you did well to get there in the first place.
I’ve back-tracked a bit on what I used to do and the last 10 weeks have been good. I’ve had a couple of good results and made five out of seven cuts and while it would have been nice to convert a couple of those into better finishes, it’s been nice to play four rounds most weeks.
Even though it sucks that I haven’t played near to how I wanted to play I know now what I need on the bag. The types of things they need to be saying to me and what I expect from them whereas before I didn’t really have any idea what happens out here.
While there have been some challenging times, there have been just as many highlights.
Playing in my first major at Royal Portrush was pretty cool. That was sweet.
Playing the two World Golf Championship events too has been really cool. I really enjoyed Mexico and the hotel we’re in this week is unreal. It’s built into this rock wall with a waterfall and light shows every night.
I had my first hole-in-one in a tournament in Qatar earlier in the year and won some money so that was nice.
Off the course, the best thing we did was a Porsche Experience at their racetrack in Germany during the Porsche European Open.
We got to drive a 911 GT3 RS through this time trial track, there was a drift pan and they taught us all these things about the cars. That was by far the funnest thing I’ve done this year. I wanted to buy one. I looked it up on Google afterwards and it was $500,000 so I’ve put that on the wish list.
The Aussie boys all did it on the same morning. There was me, Dimi Papadatos, Lucas Herbert, Sammy Brazel and ‘Digger’ Lawson so that was a bit of fun.
We did a time trial and ‘Dig’ got the fastest time somehow. He came in and told us one time but then they posted a quicker one. I’m still a bit curious about that.
Having a good result like I did in Portugal last week is obviously good because that gives you the belief that you can compete at that level.
I haven’t really had a tournament where I’ve played my best for four rounds all year this year and I’ve still had a couple of good results.
If my game is there, I know I can compete week in and week out with them all, which is nice.
This year involved a lot of learning but for next year I really want to sharpen a couple of things in my game and set some higher goals such as making it to the Race to Dubai finals. I definitely believe that is doable.
I’ll reflect more when I get home but I definitely feel that I’ve grown as a player.
WGC-HSBC Champions (AEDT)
11.45am: Matthew Millar, Xinjun Zhang, Bryce Easton
11.55am: Jake McLeod, Chan Kim, Zander Lombard
12.15pm: Daniel Nisbet, Joost Luiten, Ryo Ishikawa
12.35pm: Cameron Smith, Yosuke Asaji, Matthias Schwab
12.45pm: Scott Hend, Taehee Lee, Wenchong Liang
12.50pm*: Adam Scott, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson
*Starting from 10th tee