2010-02-08 4,5 hours lay-over at Vienna Airport on my way to Monaco. Thought I would answer some of your questions. Thanks for all of them!
Q.: Great round Alex! .....looks like a tough course so good to see you are enjoying the challenge. A few questions:
Re: Bunker practice drill - You want to feel more on your toes for all shots or just bunker shots?
Re: One handed shots - Can you tell us what they help you with technique and/or feel wise?
Re: Mr Cowan - Looks like his advice this week was helpful - what did he work on with you?
A: I like hitting from the bunker when the balls is lower than my feet. It helps me get a little steeper swing plane. I need that. Regarding the one-handed shots, it gets you to feel and understand what each hand should do in the swing and if you can get consistently good strikes with each hand it's easy to hit solid shots when you put them both together on the club afterwards. Me and Pete Cowen usually works on different shots on the range that are needed that specific week. We also do a lot of drills to improve the technique during the week. I've worked with him for so long now and I know all the drills. We still need to go over them and polish it all up.
Q. what about the new grooves? what does the rest of the guys say?
A. I like the fact that we get less spin but I don't like how the tours have controlled it. The rules are so vague. For example, all my irons from last year were legal except for the 9-iron and my lob wedge. I could play with all the other ones but it would be a hassle trying out a new 9-iron and then get tested all the times during the year because some of the other clubs were on the border line for being legal. Same thing with the old wedge Phil Mickelson used which had square grooves but was legal. The governing bodies has to make it clearer for us players. A lot of players are very upset since some players can use old clubs and so on. I don't know the best way to control and govern this but I know that this is not the best way for sure.
Q. Hello Alex! Do you believe in vision 54? Will you be the one who brings home the first major trophy to Sweden?
A. Off course it's possible to shoot 54! You can shoot 36 if you are good enough:) I hope to have a chance to bring one home sometime soon.
Q. Alex, just found this video of you on Youtube
Can you explain the purpose of the drill (unless it's a magic secret, then you can just email me haha)
A. I like that drill since it helps you to get high and you turn enough in the backswing. It also gives you a good position to hit the ball from on the way down since you are pretty high.
Q. One question though: When you say the tournament is «run very professionally», what exactly do you mean by that? To me the tournaments all look a bit the same. (Different trophys though.) Is it how they treat you, is it the perks, is it the food, is it the cars?
A. I like tournaments where they set the course up tough, when the tournament is focused on the game and not everything around it. Sometimes, tournaments try to focus everything on the sponsors so they can have as much fun as possible in the beer tents. I think the sponsors like it better watching Watson and other great players playing a great set-up golf course than drinking beer. Maybe it's just me thinking that way. The course in Dubai was set-up so tough. The rough was very high, pretty firm greens and add a lot of wind on top of that. It's one of the best courses we play all year. I always learn so much by playing this tournament and that's how I grade the tournament. If I don't learn anything, the course is not set up well at all, probably too easy. This week, I really sharpened up my short game due to the tough conditions around the greens but also since I missed so many greens so I got a lot of practice:)
Q. Do you know a lot about equipment or do you leave it all up to the equipment guys?
A. I know enough I would say. I'm not a freak about it. I know how I want the ball to behave and try to arrange my clubs in a way that will produce tha ball flights I want.
Q. Your thoughts around Tom Watson please?
A. He is amazing. That's all I have to say. That course was set-up so tough but he is that good I guess. He beat the crap out of me:)
Q. lol at your drive from fairway at 18th during the 2nd round of the Dubai tournament, frustrated ...eh? But great shot!
A. Haha. I hit a lot of drives from the fairways in practice so I know pretty much how it will behave. I love hitting it to get some extra roll when it lands but in this case I tried to slice it up into the right-to-left wind and to carry the water hazard in front. I just cleared the water. I heard the TV-commentators thought I was totally nuts choosing that shoot.
Q. I was wondering what kind of economical agreement you players have with your caddies ? If you don't want to tell us yours specifically it would be nice if you could tell us what it normally looks like. Is it a percentage of what you win or is it a regular salary no matter results but with a bonus if the player do well in the tournament.
A. The usual caddie fee is around 1000 Euros a week as a fixed fee. Than add 5% of the prize money to a made cut, 7,5% for a top-10 and 10% for a win. This is pretty much the average deal. It can very a lot though from player to player.
Q. i noticed that u are wearing Boss now...have u got a got a new sponsor?
A. Yeah, started this year. Feels good!
2010-02-06 A lot of good shots today. I'm focusing on them now:) My new plan. No more negatives. Only happy things! Started great both nines.
Had a good session on the range afterwards as well. Feeling a lot better now than I was feeling last night. One more round to go. I'm gonna have fun.
An easy gym session. I hate it when Pierre tells me to go easy and save some energy for the sunday round. Edfors is the same. We like challenges. But, I guess Pierre knows what he is doing so we listen to him. Sometimes. It's great when Pierre is away. We can go how hard we want to:)
Pierre is getting a lot stronger. I don't like it.
My roomate this week and a caddie on the tour, Erik.
Pic from today's play.
2010-02-05 Let's see where I was today on the course...
And here. These lies add up to a 74:)
Jaidee was a lot happier. He played the easiest round of golf I've seen. 66 with no effort. I want to play like that! One day:) It was really nice to see! I had another tough day out there. It feels like I'm gonna hit myself in the hip on the way down to the ball:) I found away to not hurt my hip on the driving range after and it gives me hope for tomorrow. The higlight of today was when I driver-driver on the last hole to the back of the green and two-putted for birdie to finsih off with a smile on my face. Pierre waited eagerly in the weight room afterwards. It's amazing how happy you get after a workout. I know I've told you before but I have to say it again. I don't know what happens inside the body but is it endorphins that releases or something. I like endorphins then!!!
Late thai dinner with the brother and co. Sweet! He is a pretty good photographer huh?
2010-02-04 Nice day! 4 under and happy! Played good today, kept control of the ball and the temper:) It was a windy day here in Dubai and the sand was blowing around like crazy. Sharing the lead with McIlroy and Schwartze at the momentl. Some holes played so short today in downwind and some holes played unbelievable long into the wind. Had a wedge in on nr 6 where I usually have 4 or 5 iron left. But then it was the opposite on some other holes. Our hole group played well today. Hansen was -3 and Jaidee -2 so we helped each other a lot it felt like.
8.37 AM. Windy but no sandstorm yet.
Around 9.15 AM. Windy and sandy!
Now I understand why the camels have that special eye lid.
Heard that Tom Watson came in on +1. Not bad in these conditions. One of the media guys working for the European Tour said he liked my preview but after reading his preview mine felt a bit weak. I think I have to include his preview on the blog for the next tournament.
I have a new swing drill by the way. I always have new drills but this one, I've actually used for three days in a row now. That could be a record. The drill is to swing to the top, paus for 2 seconds and then swing down and try to hit a normal shot. That feels like the best drill I've tried so far in my life. My swing coach Pete likes it since I get shorter in the backswing and stronger in the change of direction and my physio Pierre likes it because my core looks stronger doing that. I like it because I hit it better. I really don't care exactly how it looks, I like a clean solid strike, which I haven't felt in a long time.
See you soon! Bed time.
2010-02-03 Trying to present a preview for the Dubai Desert Classic for you guys:
It seems like all players like this event. It's run very professionally by the "Golf in Dubai" corp. and since it's a great field every year it's a BIG tournament in our eyes. This desert course at Emirates Golf Club doesn't seem as "deserty" as other courses in this genre since it has a lot more rough in play. Not just fairway and sand as some of the other courses. Otherwise, Emirates Golf Club plays pretty similar to the last two week's courses in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Narrow winding fairways, fairly long, thick rough and hard and semi-fast greens. These greens go to super-fast on the weekend usually. They look like they are starving and begging for water. That's just how we want them though. The surface gets quicker and more even than when it's lush green.
The field is very strong. Pretty much all the top European players and some of the other world elites are here. Tom Watson's presence is great for this tournament.
I'm playing with Tongchai Jaidee and Anders Hansen tomorrow. I like them both and we have played together before. Teeing off at 08.25 AM local Dubai time and that's among the last early starters. My game felt pretty good today and my frustration from last week has cooled off a bit. I'm focusing my attention on keeping cool and staying in the present. All here and now. Nothing else. Let's see how I do. I'm excited to play some tournament golf again.
Hope you guys are all good and please let me know what you want in a tournament preview like this for next time. I hope my next tournament will be in Tucson, Arizona for the WGC Match Play. I'm now ranked 57th in the world and top-65 on the world rankings gets in. I will now by monday. But now, I'm here and going to do everything I can to play some sweet golf:)