Things felt different today at Pebble Beach, the weather was cooler with a dense mist, the breeze picked up and you could feel everything just tighten up a little. It was a different buzz to the last few days. The jovial nature of the player’s area, putting green and practice fairway wasn’t quite the same, there was still a buzz but just a different one.
I couldn’t help but think today was like Christmas Eve was as a kid, the anticipation and excitement has been building over the last few days, and what seemed so far away on Monday, is all of a sudden here and tomorrow we get amongst it.
With less than a day to go, and feeling good about our prep, we played the back nine. Wanting to put the game plan to a final test, teeing off at 2:30pm with Erik van Rooyen from South Africa, who was a pleasure to play with.
I’ve had a couple of people ask, “how do you decide who you play with in the practice rounds” and the simple answer is it’s just like a golf club. There is a start sheet with names on it and you simply add yours wherever you want to. The only real difference is you can put your name with some of the greatest players in history.
One thing I like about Dan (and there are more than a few) is that he is not star struck and wouldn’t just put his name with a superstar if it didn’t fit what he was trying to achieve. Another great thing about him is, he isn’t scared play with one either and I think I was more nervous than he was when he played with Ernie.
During practice rounds, most players will try different clubs and start lines off the tees, to try to get clarity on which angles they want to approach the green from. This means that early in the week they will aim away from flags, try clubs that they may not hit in the event. They do this to get a sense of what might happen if they do and particularly this week they spend a lot of time around the greens. The rough around the greens is brutal, I’ve seen balls hit, land only a few feet in front of a player, players completely miss the ball by sliding right underneath it and a number that have come off the hosel!
Today we had a little more intent around score than we have had over the past few days. We created some scenarios as we went, which added to the intensity while not losing sight of the learning we needed to do.
We had a review of the preparation we have done so far, and Dan is feeling in great shape heading in to the first-round tomorrow. We feel we’ve nailed the balance of achieving what we needed to achieve, without getting too overwhelmed by the nature of the event.
All we need now is a good night sleep!