The second major of the season looms and I’m delighted to be in great form coming into the US Open.
I do know a little about the Congressional course. I played there a couple of times in US Open qualifying back in 2002 when I wasn’t exempt. I got through there and that might bode well for me. So I’ve played a couple of rounds there and I remember most of the holes.
The plan is, though, to go the week before the US Open, get in a few practice rounds and refresh my memory of the course. It’s a long course, a typical US Open course, very tough and very long. It will be a strong challenge, I think.
I’ve heard they’ve made a few changes. They’ve switched the 18th to make it now the 10th hole, so that will be interesting to see. Both were par threes and I’ve been told the former 18th has been turned back-to-front to be the 10th and there have been alterations involving the 17th which is now the 18th. The new 18th is a long par-four downhill with the water on the left. It’s a great finishing hole. Can’t wait to see how it’s all turned out.
I think US Opens test all facets of your game, a mixture of driving it well, hitting a lot of greens, good iron play and, of course, when you get in trouble, which you’re going to, you’re going to have to rely on a good short game. At Wentworth I did get into trouble on the third day. I felt somewhat like Seve: in trees, leaves all over my back. I was dropping balls in high grass and escaping from everywhere. Then I made about 80ft worth of putts on 16, 17 and 18 to finish off the job. That’s the sort of short game prowess you’re going to need at the Congressional.
But majors always test everything in your game and you’re going to have to be sharp in all areas. My wedges are a vital part of my armory and I just love practicing with them. It’s nice to be able to control the spin, the distance. I practice a lot over different yardages, so that when I get on to the course I’ve got a great deal of confidence with my wedge play. I am loving my MP T-11s.
As far as my general game goes, I’m working on very similar stuff as the beginning of the year: a change in the direction of my swing. It involves my upper body and lower body, getting my transition a little earlier in my legs, get my arms to fall down a little bit more in place. From that I’m able to get a little bit more of a solid strike and a little bit more solid right-to-left shot. Having worked on it so long, I feel more comfortable with it now. And the extra distance is coming in my drives through better swing-work – but also some good work in the gym as well. I’m always thinking of ways to get better.
My first practice round at the Congressional – I’ll go from the Memorial to do that – will give me a good idea on what I need to work on. That will be tacked on to four weeks play in a row, so I’ll go back to Chicago for a couple of days of rest and then get straight back into it, working on the stuff I think I’ll need to be good at, for the US Open.
Thought I’d just pop in a little bit about tweeting after all the plans and technical stuff. There has obviously been a lot of interest over the Twitter network recently, with all that’s been going with these super injunctions. It’s not been getting good press, but I find it a great service. It makes my fans feel like they have my phone number, feel they’re a little closer to you. They send me text messages and I reply to a lot of them, obviously I can’t to all, but it’s a good way to interact with them and a good way of catching up with stuff that’s going on in the world.