It only feels right to start this week’s blog by thanking all of you who took the time to email, tweet and comment on Facebook over the past few days. I’ve been blessed with wonderful support from fans all through my career, in good times and bad, and it continues to mean a lot to me, so thank you again.
I think enough has been said about what happened on Day One at Augusta and, as you would expect, I am taking the positives from the week and at the same time working hard on negative aspects. It’s fair to say Thursday was probably one of the toughest rounds of my career, but I was proud of the way I kept playing. No individual is bigger than the game and I have so much respect for the tournament and the sport that I would always give my best. People have since let me know that many of my stats for the first two rounds were actually very positive and the truth is I hit a lot of quality shots in extremely challenging conditions, especially on Friday, and to some very tough pin locations. So as I say, there are some positives that we can take into this week’s RBC Heritage.
Watching over the weekend showed how fine the line is at Augusta. I must say huge congrats to Danny Willett for shooting a bogey-free 67 on Sunday and winning his first major. Danny has been playing great golf for a while now and has won some big tournaments. I know some people this side of ‘the pond’ haven’t seen him play as much, but believe me, everyone will see him more now and be impressed with his game. I feel for Jordan, who is a great player, obviously, but also a really good person. The emotions he will have felt walking up 18, and then having to be an integral part of the prize giving, will have been tough, really tough. You feel shell-shocked for a while and you could see that after Sunday’s final round. But he’s a mature young man, a wonderful player, and he’ll learn from this and bounce right back.
Anyway, moving on. I’m really looking forward to teeing it up this week at the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head. It’s one of my favorite locations on the PGA TOUR schedule. Harbour Town Golf Links, designed by Pete Dye in consultation with Jack Nicklaus, opened in the fall of 1969…around the same month and year that I was born! Maybe it’s no surprise that I love this place so much. My record in this event is strong, with seven top-10s from 16 starts, and the vibe is super-relaxed.
As I said, it’s always a pleasure to play here and I’m also proud to represent RBC who have done a really wonderful job with this tournament since becoming title sponsor in 2012. They’ve also been amazing supporters of The Els for Autism Foundation and thanks to their help, and our other partners such as the Heritage Foundation, Boeing (who are presenting sponsor this week), my friends at SAP and all my other sponsors, we continue to use golf as a platform to promote not only awareness of autism, but also the importance of early detection. The earlier we can diagnose these kids and secure the help that they need, the better chance they have of leading productive and rewarding lives.
As in recent years we have a designated ‘Blue Out’ day to promote Autism Awareness Month in April. This week it’s on Thursday 14th, and we’re extremely grateful to all of the many players, caddies, fans, media and tournament officials who will be united in their support for autism by wearing blue and also wearing the Els for Autism blue-and-white ribbon. The response has been amazing since we started this initiative a few years ago and we have faith that it will be the same again this week.
You’ll find more details on the ‘Blue Out’ day elsewhere on this website and via Twitter @TheBig_Easy in a few days’ time, so please do keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, please visit the website www.elsforautism.com where you’ll find out more about some of the unique events that we’re organising throughout Autism Awareness Month.
A final note for the week is that one of the Els for Autism family, Joshua Deer and his family, are holding a golf tournament with his beloved Lone Star Brahmas Hockey team today at Brahmas Blue Out Classic Golf Tournament at Iron Horse GC in Texas. Good luck Josh!
Thank you for your continued support.