Like everyone in golf, the Ryder Cup has dominated my thoughts and attention

by Chris Wood on October 6, 2010

I'm envious of those that made the team.

Especially living in Bristol, only half an hour from Celtic Manor.

When they started I was in the gym when the match was badly disrupted by bad weather. Some of the members said ‘I bet you’re glad you’re not playing’. I’d play the Ryder Cup in snow or a sand-storm. The atmosphere was fantastic, like a football stadium.

Of course I’m envious of those that made it into the team, but I’m young and I’ve got at least 20 years of Ryder Cup chances in me, I hope.

It just didn’t quite happen for me this year. You need to have a couple of wins in really big events and I didn’t quite get over the line on that score. I had a good opportunity at Wentworth in the PGA but I had a bad final day. And I finished third in a couple of events as well. A shot or two going my way in those and I might well have been in with a chance. It was the difference between having a good chance of getting in for Celtic Manor and not getting in.

It would have been a huge achievement for me to get in at the first time of asking. I wasn’t really expecting it, so I’m not really disappointed at all.   I think Mizuno did ok without me – Luke Donald was incredible.  His ball striking and rhythm under pressure were something else. It’s inspired me to be at the next one – not that I needed any more motivation.

As far as the season has gone then I feel I have made good progress. I started working with Phil Kenyon on my putting the week before the Open. We’ve been working a lot on my basics: the set up, ball position, that sort of thing. I wasn’t rolling the ball very well, getting almost a slicing action. We tried positioning the ball back a couple of inches, so I could strike it better, give it a proper roll. It’s coming off the putter face a bit faster and I’m stroking it much better.

My putting is much better and a lot of that is down to the computer software we have to help us nowadays. The SAM Putt Lab has been a great help. It shows you everything, from your face angle at address, at impact, all sorts of things. From the results you can tell how well you’re stroking the putt.

Ireland, Killarney, was the first time I saw and felt a significant improvement. It was the best putting week I’d had the whole season. It was a consistent putting week, four really solid putting rounds. That was another one of these nearly tournaments. I finished tied third and had a great chance to win. And second place, even third on my own, would have done me a lot more good.

I’m pleased that everything’s going in the right direction.

I’ve been driving the ball really well this year. I’ve spent a lot of time with Mark from Mizuno. He came down to my club. We thought we could get a little bit more launch with my MP-630.   I went up a degree with my loft, leaving everything else the same as it was. I got an extra eight yards carry. It’s amazing that you can be that precise with getting the right spec for your clubs; how much it can benefit you. Eight yards is quite a lot.

My MP-68s have been so consistent all year. I don’t really do a lot of tweaking at all with them now.

It was great fun playing with my Dad Richard in the Vivendi Cup. He actually played quite well. He’s a four handicap, a pretty tidy player. The first day he was very solid; not quite so good the second day but still pretty good. He probably practises more than me! He’s golf mad.

Coming up next for me is the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. I think Michael Vaughan’s asked to play with me. He’s with International Sports Management as well. It will be great to play with someone like him.

The following week it’s the Portugal Masters and then two weeks after that a big event on the calendar now, the Andalucia Masters. I’m skipping the tournament in between, the Castello Masters. I only have bad memories of that event last year. I fell down some stairs and tore ligaments in my foot. I’m steering clear of it this year!

I’m pretty secure for my place in the Dubai World Championship but I’m looking for good results in the three big tournaments before Dubai. I want to get myself into the top 30 on the order of merit for starters. That will get me back to the Open next year. It will be a pretty decent achievement for what I feel has been an up-and-down year.

A top 15 would be even better. I need some really good finishes. But it’s definitely a realistic goal.

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Author Chris Wood

After a top-5 finish as an amateur in the 2008 British Open, Chris Wood proved his future is bright by following up with a 3rd-place finish in 2009, putting him on his way to earning the Sir Henry Cotton award as the 2009 European Tour Rookie of the Year.