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Season Wrap 2008

Date: 20/12/2008

Its been another hectic year on the ladies European Tour. Ive played 22 tournaments this year and travelled to 19 different countries. The strength and depth of the LET this year has been amazing and better than ever. Im sure the girls that come through tour school in January will only add to the quality of golf and flair that has become expected of Womens golf.

I am very lucky to be supported by a few companies at this time in my career but one local car company has been supporting me since the very beginning. Richard Smith and his team at Cleckheaton Motors, Hunsworth, have been fantastic they have provided me with a sponsored car for the past 7 years and have recently taken the decision in these tough economic times to continue that sponsorship to an eighth year! I will be driving around when home in the fabulous C4 Picasso which is very sporty to drive and has endless space for my golf clubs, suitcases etc. This has been extremely helpful to me over the past 7 years, I am very grateful to Cleckheaton Motors and looking forward to driving my stylish new car throughout 2009.

A big thanks also goes to Special Steel who are sponsoring me for the third year running and Eurocontrol Technics who are in their second year of sponsorship. I am truly delighted by their support and couldnt do what I do without them. This sponsorship pays for crucial caddy fees, flight and accomadation expenses which can build up over a year of travelling. I cant thank them enough especially in these tough economic times and I look forward to working with them next year.

My season has been a little bit up and down but on the whole I have improved in many different areas of my game resulting in my joint best ever finish on the Order of Merit 23rd! I have continued to work with my coach Graham Walker and focus on different areas of my game and now that I am 5 weeks into a strength and conditioning program I am hoping to improve my stability throughout my swing ready for the 2009 season starting in May.

Highlights from my season include a second place finish in the Portuguese Ladies Open when I fired a final round 5 under par, chased the lead all day and made a birdie on the final hole to force the winner Anne Lise Caudal to have to birdie the last to win. Another highlight was finishing 3rd in the Welsh Ladies Championship of Europe. I finished 2nd there last year, I really enjoy the golf course and the greens, unfortunately the weather has been horrendous every year though! We fought hard in the weather especially after having a day of play controversially cancelled, where I had moved up into 3rd and then had to start from 19th again on the Sunday morning. A great 3 under par on the back nine on Sunday though bumped me up into 3rd again and I received another nice cheque from Wales.

I was very pleased with my end to the season as I had a six-week run where I consistently finished in the top 20 every week! This is a real improvement from last year and one which I intend to build on throughout the winter and into my 2009 season.

The Oaks Junior Pro-am

Date: 04/08/2008

Well what a delightful day we have had todayI played in the Oaks Junior Pro-am and asked 3 junior girls from Cleckheaton to join me. Two of them had only just got handicaps in February but Charlotte and Megan did me proud. They were not only serious dedicated golfers but also they were a delight to be around, making Russell and I laugh on many occasions. Katie a seventeen year old off a handicap of 4 also played well and possibly took the girls longest drive during the day. I say probably because we had to leave the girls to make any speeches and head for Manchester airport as we were flying out to Sweden. I am currently in Arlanda airport just outside Stockholm killing time before getting on a bus to the hotel and my long awaited bed!

Hopefully the girls took the girls team prize possibly the longest drive and hopefully competed in their age groupsI cant tell you how impressed I was with them, to say they have only had handicaps for 6 months what a talented pair! And determinedI only know one other junior girl that could rival their determination, and that was a long long time ago now!!!!! Its so nice for Cleckheaton to have some junior girls at long last, I went through my whole junior years on my own practising or playing with the lads so it was warming to see that they each had a friend to tease, beat and keep them company through the trails and tribulations of the game. I hope the ladies section at Cleckheaton realise what talent they have in their care and encourage them all the way!

Portugal 2008

Date: 15/06/2008

What can I say about today..I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. As you may know by now we have finished second by a shot after shooting 68 today, 5 under par, with a total of 15 under par for the tournament. We played great and are very happy that the second place finish will move us onwards and upwards on the order of merit but we did leave a couple out there Im afraid. Anna-Lise Caudal finally won making a birdie on the last hole to stop a play-off. I finished tied second with Gladys Nocera and Louise Stahl in 3rd. It seems that our relaxed approach to the week was just what we needed to free it up and score.
Russell set at target at the start of the daythat if I matched 25 euros off him with our games he would buy me dinner. We stood on the 18th tee with 23, needing a birdie to reach 26 euros and a free dinner! How come dinner tastes even better when your not paying for it?My ribs were amazing!!!

Portugal 2008

Date: 14/06/2008

Today we played fantastic, we had eight birdies and two bogeys and shot 67, 6 under par. That leaves us on 10 under total and tied for third position. We still left some birdies out there but the good thing is that it is coming together more now and we are finally scoring! The most enjoyable part of the day though was taking 25 euros off Russell and taking second in the sweep for the 2nd day running!!!

Portugal 2008

Date: 13/06/2008

Well the first day of our relaxed laid-back attitude has gone very well. We played exactly the same as we have been playing but we managed to score and shot 4 under par 69. I took 16 euros off Russell and enjoyed every minute. After the round we holed some putts and then headed for some shade, a good day.

Portugal 2008

Date: 12/06/2008

Hot Hot Hot in Portugal this week! We are playing at one of my sponsors golf course, Quinta de Sima, just outside Taveira. Thankfully it is the course I play with Alan when I am in Portugal so Im really looking forward to the week.

We are going into this week with a different attitude.normally I work very hard, trying to improve every part of my game around tournaments, however the last two tournaments I have worked hard, played great and scored awful resulting in missing the last two cuts. Therefore this week I have instructed Russell that we are on holiday!!! Okay maybe a bit of an exaggeration but we are going to just go out there and enjoy ourselves this week. I have lots of games we can play between ourselves on the course and off the course we wont be doing much.

German Open 2008

Date: 29/05/2008

A very frustrating day in Munich We hit some great shots today and unfortunately came away with nothing. A two over par 74 has left us in 93rd position, not what I had in mind at the start of the day! We had numerous chances for birdie and only managed to convert one of them. Then on the back 9 two bad drives left us with two bogeys and a very annoyed Simpson.

Hopefully our putts will drop tomorrow and the heat might just be bearable! I didnt think I would be complaining about the heat after having sooo much rain on tour recently but today was ridiculous. I came off the course red and frustrated and Russell looked like he had walked into every Sprinkler out there.

German Ladies Open 2008

Date: 28/05/2008

We arrived in Munich at 2am after a hair raising but beautiful 7-hour trip through the Alps. The bus journey was originally quoted as taking 5 hours and was therefore a tempting change from having to get on a plane but unfortunately after 7 hours and my back pain I think a plane would have been the right choice!!

This weeks tournament is a new event for the Ladies European Tour; the German Open has been missing on the schedule for about 7 years so I am delighted to be here in Munich and playing in my first! A surprise to us all is that Michelle Wie is here and playing in her first regular Ladies European Tour event. Having heard all the stories and read articles in the papers of her recent trials and tribulations all of us are very interested to see how she gets on.

I play at 12.10 on Thursday and 8.00am on Friday and cant wait to play this lovely golf course. The greens are amazing surfaces, despite being a tad on the slow side but hopefully they will get a bit quicker during the week. I am still working hard on my set-up both long game and putting so we will see if it has had time to settle in over the last few practice days. Ill keep you updated during the week on Michelle Wies progress and myself.

Swiss Open 2008

Date: 25/05/2008

We have woken up to even more rain in Switzerland this morning and after a few hours of deliberation they have decided to cancel the tournament. This means that unfortunately we dont get another chance to go out and improve our position so our 3rd day placing stands and we finished 31st.

This is unfortunate for the tournament because it is such a great event but at least we dont have to get on a bus to Munich wet through!!!! Im disappointed that we havent finished higher but we are changing things and I suppose its a good finish when you take that into consideration. All we can do now is learn from this week, continue to work hard and go to Munich with a positive attitude. Now we have about 7 hours on a bus through the mountains to Munich....I can't wait!!!!!!!!

Swiss Open 2008

Date: 24/05/2008

We made the cut comfortably after shooting an indifferent 1 over par the second day. Unfortunate really because being out in the morning we had the best of the weather but were unable to put a score together. I hit 14 greens and had a few too many putts but thankfully it only dropped us ten spots.

Today we played the entire round in the pouring rain; I cant believe what horrendous weather follows the LET. I have packed for 5 weeks of summer in Europe and have lived in my waterproofs for the whole week!!!! I hope the weather improves or I might have to buy some warmer clothes and a mac!!

We battled our way around that golf course today. It started out great, a solid birdie at the first followed by some great iron shots then it all fell apart and a couple of 3 putts later we were over par and looking like dropping places fast. The trouble is at the moment, I have changed quite a lot with my putting and I forget that it takes time to settle in. With anything that I spend time on I want to get it straight away and expect it to perform under pressure when needed. Unfortunately its not as easy as that and I needed to remind myself that on the 10th hole today after I could have thrown my putter into the lake!!! Thankfully realising this helped me to find some patience from somewhere and birdie 2 out of the last 3 holes for level par.

My trouble is that I want everything now and I expect to be able to do anything I put my mind to but it doesnt always work out like that in this game. Im sure if I were talking this through with Graham he would tell me that it is building blocks and that if I keep building (practising the right moves) it will eventually work very well. Very true but not what you want to hear when your so frustrated you are seriously wondering if you could finish the rest of the round putting out with your 4 iron!!!!! Hopefully we will have a little less frustration tomorrow and more birdies!

Swiss Ladies Open

Date: 22/05/2008

We are in Losone this week for the Swiss Ladies Open; a beautiful place nestled in a valley between nearby mountains and lakes. The weather is horrendous again; I think the rain cloud follows the Ladies European Tour wherever we go! However the views from the course are still spectacular and looked like something out of gorillas in the mist today with the constant drizzle and fog hanging in the mountains.

Finally we have had a decent start to a tournament!!!!! We had 3 under par today and are in joint 13th place overall. The main difference is a change in my putting set up which has allowed me to be more connected during my stroke, resulting in better control of pace and a much better roll on the ball. I am also concentrating on my long game set up as well and beginning to see a far better consistent strike on the ball. Another difference is that we just went out and played some relaxed golf today, something a golf professional can overlook at times!!!!

Its nice not to have to claw back the shots we have wasted on the first day so tomorrow we will focus on enjoying our golf and continuing to move forward.

Turkish Ladies Open

Date: 13/05/2008

Unfortunately my reserves werent there to pull it back this week. We made the turn in 6 over par without doing too much wrong really! After a great par at the first and then my only birdie of the week on the second hole my back nine had started with promise but after a ridiculous putt that again bobbled off line at the 5th hole I knew I had to make another birdie to have a chance at making the cut. We played really steady giving ourselves birdie chances until the 8th. From the middle of the fairway and trying to be delicate with a high wedge we ended up taking 5, this speaks volumes of the golf course which was unfortunately struggling with the set up of the greensWe pared eighteen and knew we had missed the cut by two shots.

Im obviously normally gutted to miss a cut and am never far away from it when I do but I must say two more days around that golf course would I fear have left me brain-dead! Instead we worked on my game and spoke to Graham and thankfully there is always something to work on. We have a week off tour this week so I can visit the Oaks a couple of times, practice at Fixby and then I am at The KP Club on Friday giving a clinic for my new clothing sponsor LIJA. We leave for a 5 week stretch on Monday so I will be getting everything in order ready to take with me and I might even have time to have a few glasses of wine with my friends over the weekend.

Turkish Ladies Open

Date: 08/05/2008

Thursday came, the greens werent watered and the unfortunate result is high scoring. When you hit a high well struck 8 iron 15 yards short of the pin and you see it disappearing 27 yards through the green it is devastating, not to mention difficult to club. The only thing you can do is chip and putt and even that becomes a nightmare due to the inconsistent first bounce. That is how everybodys day went today, including mine. I had 7 over par thanks to 2 x 3 putts 1 visit to the water and 2 putts that bobbled off line. Despite that we are in 60th place and considering 60 and ties make the cut we have everything to play for tomorrow.

Turkish Ladies Open

Date: 06/05/2008

A quick stop at home, enough time to put a few loads of washing in and enjoy a takeaway curry on the couch and then we arrive in Turkey for the first ever Turkish Ladies Open. We are staying in an amazing all-inclusive resort called Calista just outside Belek. It is a popular holiday destination by the amount of people here and much loved by Russians!

We are playing at National golf club, a tough, tight tree lined course with lots of water and unfortunately very hard greens!!!! Im afraid there will be some high scores if they dont water the greens by Thursday morning!

Scottish Open

Date: 04/05/2008

Wednesday was indeed a wash out with the second pro-am only making 13 holes and the course suffering for it! The greens had also suffered with so much water on them twinned with a lack of growth due to the time of year.
Thursday afternoon was a tough day for me, it started with an unplayable lie in the waterlogged bunkers and just got worse from there. The course was long and wet but when you add in the wind as well on Thursday afternoon you can understand why the scores were so high! I ended up with 9 over par as shots escaped rapidly from me and as we all know the harder you try in golf the worse you get!

On Friday morning the conditions were much different the tees had been moved forward and the wind was at ease at least until lunchtime. I played much better and got it to one under par at one point. I was disturbed by a spectator and unfortunately dropped one shot on my 16th hole to be at one over par for the day. All day I had a feeling 9 over par would be the cut so I was well aware that we needed one birdie in the last two holes to be able to play on Saturday. I said to Russell we need to give ourselves two good chances and thats exactly what we did. The seventeenth was a par five and we hit a good wedge into about 8 feet but the putt just missed on the topside which left us standing on our 18th hole needing nothing but birdie. Our 18th hole was the 9th hole, a tough long par 4 uphill to a very firm green, we hit a 5 iron to 6 feet and was delighted that we had given ourselves a chance. A six-foot putt left to right stood between us making the cut, to my absolute delight it held its line and fell into the cup. The cut ended up being 9 over par and thanks to that birdie we made it on the button.

On Saturday the conditions were much the same as Friday but despite the wind at ease and some very accessible pin positions I couldnt do any better than 1 over par. I played really well hitting 15 greens and putted great but unfortunately the wet conditions played havoc with my chipping and my putts all shaved the hole. All in all after that disastrous first round of 80, the 71,72 that followed were much more positive. We finished 51st and moved up 14 places on Saturday. We leave for Turkey at 8pm today and will be focusing on making a better start to the tournament there. Ill let you know if the sun is shining in Turkey in the next few days.

Scottish Ladies Open

Date: 29/04/2008

After a long frightening drive in the spray on Sunday, (or so Russell said), we are at the Carrick at Loch Lomand for the Ladies Scottish Open. We played the pro-am today and I must say I have been blessed with another great team in Scotland. Despite a few obstacles we managed to get the most out of the day and thoroughly enjoyed each others company. No prizes this week but a few tips to go away with and a lot of laughs!

The course is a bit wet in places but looking good for how new it is! When the sun comes out though it is really quite beautiful with the views over Loch Lomond. However with the weather taking a turn for the worst from tommorow we may never see the Loch again for the rest of the week! Wishing for good weather near Glasgow!!!

Spanish Open 2008

Date: 20/04/2008

Saturday at the Spanish Open didnt start very well. A good bogey at the first hole and then a struggle to the turn for 2 over but then my game returned on the back nine to have two great birdies in the wind only to put it in the water at the 17th and make another good bogey for a total of 1 over par 73. Not the kind of score that moves you anywhere but backwards on a Saturday but taking the positives out of the day, my game is still moving in the right direction and in true Yorkshire style we never gave up fighting!

We woke on Sunday to lots of rain and played the first 5 holes not very well and in a downpour! It seemed to take us the first 5 holes each day on the weekend to wake up! After being 2 over and it all being a bit of a struggle we then managed to birdie 3 in a row on 6,7 and 8 to make the turn in 1 under par. The back nine was a breeze in comparison and despite hitting all 9 greens and 4 within 6 feet; unfortunately we couldnt buy a putt. I am very happy with the game though, it has shown definite signs of improvement over the winter in all areas and now finishing 18th here at Panoramica just shows that it can stand up under pressure. We were 82nd after the first day in the wind so to finish 18th in the first European tournament of the year after such a bad start I am happy with.

I am now looking forward to building on the good foundations we have and achieving our goal at becoming more consistent as the season moves on. Russell has also had some changes to make on the course and has taken to them like a duck to water. On the whole a more professional team SIMPSON has taken to the course this year and the early signs are looking good.

We now have a week off at home before I empty my wardrobe and head for the next tournament in Scotland. I think they had snow last week so it should be interesting!

Spanish Open 2008

Date: 18/04/2008

After 2 days play at Panoramica I am lying in tied 23rd and looking to improve my position over the weekend. Two very different days here just south of Barcelona. The first day we played in the afternoon wind and with a few more mistakes than I expected we had 76. Today was a 9.00 am start with very little wind until the end of the round, which resulted in a 1 under par 71. We knew we had to make some ground up today and managed to jump a massive 59 spots with solid playing and a little help from the wind in the afternoon!

I managed to take 11 euros off Russell (my caddy) today. I hit some great shots and managed my short game far better than the previous day. My putting still needs some time to come together under pressure but the good thing so early in the year is that it is all moving in the right direction.

Spanish Ladies Open

Date: 16/04/2008

After a couple of quiet days on nothing but dry bread and water I am rested and almost raring to go in the pro-am for the Spanish Ladies Open. I just need to get some energy into me now but I cant grumble with the weight loss it has provided, if only short lived! My game has changed an awful lot in the last 2 months and without being put to the test under tournament pressure so I am really looking forward to seeing if it can stand up.

My team came second in the pro-am and my game is far more consistent than it was 6 months ago but still needs some tournament rounds to bed the changes in. My putting is un-recognisable from before India but a lot of that is due to my set up so I am still finding it difficult to feel comfortable over the ball. It is one thing getting comfortable on the putting green but when you have a five footer downhill left to right and the wind is up it is something quite different!

Catalonia Masters

Date: 14/04/2008

Catalonia Masters the first event in Europe on the European tour this year. It was held at Emporda golf club just outside Gerona in Spain. A nice resort with a new modern hotel and a golf course in good condition apart from the greens. The weather was a little chilly with a real wind that picked up around 11am every day. The first day was a bit of a non-starter with me shooting 78. Unfortunately I just never started to score and shots slipped through my fingers on the front nine. The back nine I started to hole one or two putts and gain a bit of momentum until I hit a wall and dropped 3 shots in the last 2 holes.

On the second day I was in a bit of a sorry state. I had been up all night with food poisoning from under done pork on Saturday. Despite having severe stomach cramps etc Russell managed to get me around the golf course and we played great. We did so many more positive things on Sunday even with the cramps and had it at 4 under par on the 18th tee. Unfortunately my nemesis this week was that 18th hole, all I can say is thank god I dont have to play it again! It cost me 4 shots in 2 days and about 1,000 euros!

I was just pleased to get around though and lay dying in my room after the round especially with only 2 hours before a four-hour bus journey ahead of me to the Spanish Openscary! We eventually finished tied 15th a good learning week and not a bad finish considering illness and the first week out.

Catalonia Masters

Date: 11/04/2008

From the serenity of Julias beach bar in Vale do Lobo to what turned into a bit of a nightmare journey from Faro to Emporda golf club just outside Gerona. I must say though Russell kept me laughing all the way. One of the best things about travelling week in week out with your cousin is that you have a similar sense of humour and find the same things absolutely hilarious, we are often commented on on tour for always laughing. However one of the worst things about being related is that we have similar faults too so our forgetfulness and lack of attention to detail sometimes has us both questioning each otherFor example this happened on the train from Barcelona to Gerona when we only had to count 3 stops before it was our stop but found ourselves in a bit of a confused state due to our continuous conversation and lack of attention to detail!!! Thankfully a nice Spanish women grunted Gerona at us and we managed to haul ourselves and our luggage off the train just in time.

We took the train at the very last minute after having paid for and then cancelled a hire car at the desk in Barcelona airport. I was originally quoted 70 euros for a one day car hire just to get us to Gerona but when we got to the counter I was asked for 156 eurosAfter deliberating that the traffic through Barcelona would be a nightmare with Barce playing in an hour and having to return the car the next day 30 mins from the golf club we decided to take our chances on the train. This turned out to be a fantastic idea until we realised yes we had managed to get on the right train but did we have a ticket????No we didnt. After asking around on the train it was very clear that our options were to get off at the next stop before the conductor caught us on the train without a ticket or take our chances and pray that we got to Gerona before he made it down the train. Unfortunately when Russell turned to me with a face as white as snow I knew we were doomed..We spent the next 5 minutes role playing and practicing how we were going to talk the conductor round. Thankfully to our complete surprise he allowed us to pay on the train and responded to my pathetic smiling and attempts at flirting my way out of the situation. I know we got away with it but I felt sick for the whole journey and I think Russell is actually scared for life!

Portugal 2008

Date: 02/04/2008

A few weeks of luxury at home and its off again for the start of the season in Europe. I first fly down to Portugal for 5 days stay with my friends at Barringtons and practice at Villa Sol. Then its off to Spain for the Catalonia Masters and then Panoramica for the Spanish Ladies Open. Two weeks in Spain should be lovely at this time of year and a welcome break from the weather at home.

Ive just had a couple of solid days with my coach Graham Walker, one at the Oaks and another at Woodhall Spa on the short game area. I cant tell you how pleased I am going into the start of the season, weve managed to make a lot of improvements in and around tournaments at the end of last year and at the beginning of this season, so Im all fired up and raring to go!

My cousin Russell, who caddies for me, is joining me in Portugal for a couple of days and then we will leave for Barcelona together on the 9th April. Unfortunately he had a fall during the not drunk, in fact very sober and actually with me and my coach at the Oaks when it happened. I wont talk you through it, as it was a little silly of us. Lets just say Russell won the race, I came secondand coach walker was an eventual third! I just found out that hell need an operation at some point during the year but for now at least he is going to soldier on. So if you see my bag being trolleyed around on tour this year, you know why.

Im sat writing this at one of my favourite places in the world. Julias beach bar on the Algarve in Portugal. Im sure a lot of you have visited Julias if you have ever been in the vicinity of Vale Do Lobo. It is so relaxing, right on the beach and a great place to finish off a long days practice. I love watching the waves roll in against an unspoilt blue sky and of course a gin & tonic not too far away!


Date: 01/04/2008

Well lots to tell you since my last blogI came home from Australia injured, having had to pull out of the last event out there the ANZ ladies masters. Unfortunately I awoke the morning of the tournament to find that I couldnt move my neck at all without severe pain. I think this had been due to a new training regime that I went full speed into due to the bad weather on the gold coast that week, also an air conditioning unit that I had mistakenly left on during the night, didnt exactly help!

Thankfully I am now fully recovered and stretching things I never knew I hadSupple and raring to go which is amazing if you had seen me crawl off the 3 flights home from Australia. I did try and blag an upgrade due to my unfortunate circumstances but of course, not a chance! In fact dont get me started on airplane travel at the momentwhat a nightmare its turning into. I was charged 205 pounds excess luggage for my golf bag being 10kg overweight on my way out to Australia and that was after I had pleaded for an hour! .The original figure she wanted to charge me was 350 pounds.YES 35 pounds per kilo! I nearly fell over at the counter when she said that with a smile on her face. I have travelled with Singapore airlines 6 years straight now from London to far away and have neverever had my clubs weighed at the airport. Unfortunately as every airline is doing these days, I was a victim of the lets squeeze every pound out of our customers regime. I wouldnt have minded as I did have 20 clubs with me.and expected to be a little over the limit but bearing in mind I had already paid 400 pounds more for my flight this year than previous years so I was a bit shocked to be paying 35 pounds extra per kilo on top of that!!!!!

Anyway before I loose the plot completely as I could so easily do when talking about airlines, Ill change the subject

Life at home is so sacred theses days with the season extending all the time, I find myself feeling lost for the first month before I can really adapt to home life and relax. Friends are moving on with marriage and children and Im finding less and less single friends to hang out hoo! Being at home is still fantastic though; I get chance to cook, slob out on the couch and clean.yes, maybe a little strange. But these are things Im not able to do week in week out like normal people. I think Ive had my fair share of washing up now though and cant wait to start the new season. Lets hope its one to remember!

ANZ Ladies Masters

Date: 03/02/2008

Arrived on the Gold Coast for the ANZ Ladies Masters. To my surprise it is absolutely persisting it down and when I say rain, I mean proper, wet through in 10 seconds rain. Apparently the locals tell me they have had rain every day since the 1st January!!!! Not the norm for summer on the Gold Coast. Ive been coming to this tournament 6 years now and they have always been in a drought but this year their dams are overflowing and their water restrictions are non-existent, for now anyway!

Aussie Open 2008

Date: 02/02/2008

Not the start I had hoped for at the Aussie Open at Kingston Heath, I missed the cut by two in the end and was devastated not to be allowed to play that wonderful golf course another two days

I actually hit the ball very well and only missed 2 fairways both days, which around that golf course is quite an achievement. The problem was more my management in the wind and my scoring ability rather than playing bad. It is the first week of the year though and if I was to examine the bigger picture I am happy with the work I have done and the direction I am heading in.

My putting has been a focus for the last couple of months, changing my stroke before India and Dubai. It has taken a while to feel comfortable on the course but this week I was very impressed with how it held up. I actually had the lowest amount of putts in a good 4 months on tour, with a total of 27 on the first day. Unfortunately I didnt repeat that on the second day but it is a work in progress and it has shown me that it is going in the right direction.

LIJA Clothing

Date: 02/02/2008

I had some good news this week on tour so I thought I would share it with you. I have been chosen as a tour style leader for 2008 by the Canadian clothing company Lija. This means I will be wearing Lija this year on the European Tour. I am delighted with this as I have been an admirer of Lija for a few years now. Their clothing is so classy, cutting edge and with classic lines you really do stand out from the crowd when your wearing Lija. I should have it for the start of the season in Europe in April and cant wait to show it off to you all at home and on Sky Sports throughout the year.

I must take the opportunity to thank my previous clothing sponsor of 6 years, Cross. I have thoroughly enjoyed wearing there clothing and how I have seen it blossom over the years. I hope Lija has the same success that Cross has experienced in Europe and if their 2008 Catalogue is anything to go by you will all want to know where you can get Lija from by the end of the year.

Ramsey McMaster

Date: 28/01/2008

Monday afternoon after 18 holes at Kingston Heath I had arranged to have a 3 hour session with Ramsey McMaster, a golf specific physio/bio mechanic guy with a great reputation for getting golfers fit to play golf. I met Ramsey through Graham my coach in late October last year and have been impressed with his drills ever since. His methods are a little out there but you can instantly feel a difference. He has worked with players like Henrick Stenson, Lee Westwood, and Stuart Appleby to name a few and helps a lot of the European Tour guys that are coached by Pete Cowan.

He has given me an upgraded program to use while Im away on tour this year and then well meet up again and check the progress. I am having to adapt my thought process to a little of everything every day goes a long way instead of focusing on one goal and doing that until its done. Ive always been good at having one thing to think about but Im finding with my coach and now Ramsey that you dont have to do things in excess to change them, its better to do a little every day.

Im seeing Andy a physio that works with Ramsey tomorrow morning and Ive a feeling the massage that I am going in for is not going to be pleasant.. He is going to try and work out some of the tension I have in my muscles which sounds painful to me; Ill let you know if I can get out of bed tomorrow

Aussie Open

Date: 27/01/2008

A quick flight down to Melbourne Sunday night and an early start at Kingston Heath on Monday morning. What a golf course.Ive never played on greens like it, they are gorgeous, no excuses this week they are so true, fast and roll out beautifully. They do say that Melbourne have some of the best golf courses in the world and after seeing Kingston Heath I think they might be right!

Im really looking forward to this week, I am going to spend a lot of time working on the changes we have made on my putting over the winter and lots of short game. My long game needs a bit of work on my set up and I need to make sure I deliver the club but apart from that I am really happy. Ill keep you posted on how I get on during the week but for now I have some work to do

New South Wales Open

Date: 26/01/2008

Tough first day at Oatlands golf club. I was 5 over after 5 and finished with 2 over par. Not the best start to my 2008 season but a fighting, determined back 9 holes and I managed to pull 3 shots back. Not too bad though with a bit of jet lag, new clubs in the bag and the first round of the year.

I managed to play better the second day and shot level par. I made the cut comfortably and my goal for tomorrow is to shoot under par and hopefully move up the field. Not too sure about the wedges yet.

Well a much better day today. I shot 3 under par, which leaves me on 1 under par for the tournament and has moved me up to 12th place. Not a bad first week! I spoke to my coach Graham Walker last night and he gave me a few pointers over the phone, which worked so well today. Im really happy with what we are working on at the moment and its great to work with somebody that knows me so well he can even help me from thousands of miles away!

So a good first week in Australia. I met so many lovely people this week at Oatlands Golf Club. My lovely host family, vice captain Perry Hall and wife Helen, Cathleen and James. Thanks for making us feel so welcome during our stay and hope you enjoy the wine. I had two caddys during the week husband and wife team Tony and Marylin. They were both so nice and really helpful around that hilly golf course. Hope your back gets better soon Marilyn. You wouldnt believe that I met a lovely couple from where I live, Gomersal, the first day I was there. Bryan and Betty Dickenson actually used to live in Gomersal years ago before they moved to Australia on Christmas Day 1960. Brian worked at Burnleys Mill at a similar time to my father and knew the exact street where I now live. It was great to have some Yorkshire support during the week and listen to stories from the olden days. I really enjoyed my time at Oatlands and am looking forward to seeing everybody again next year.

New South Wales Open

Date: 20/01/2008

I really like it at Oatlands, I am staying with a family that are members of the golf club and they are great! They have made us feel so welcome, we come and go as we please and meet them for dinner in the evenings its so easy and within walking distance to the golf club. I dont think Ill want to leave at the end of the week.

The golf club is in great condition and actually quite a tricky little course when the greens are fast. Ive managed to sleep quite a lot for the first couple of days and even though Im still tired in the afternoons Im gradually getting more energy. I have 20 clubs with me this trip.I have 3 new drivers, 2 new rescues, a new 3 wood and a new set of Ping wedges with me and they all need trying out this week. Ive had a couple of days tinkering with them all and Ive decided on my chosen set to play with this week. One new driver and all 3 new wedges are in the bag plus 2 new rescues and a new 3 wood. Wish me luck!

A new season 2008

Date: 13/01/2008

Not much time at home between Dubai and leaving for Australia. About 3 weeks to be exact, just enough time to fit in Christmas with the family, new year with friends and be in bed a few days with the flu! We havent really had much time off at the end of 2007 and now before I know it I am on another plane to Australia

I will have a couple of months at home after Aus though where I am looking forward to doing a shop at Tescos and cooking for myself. I know it sounds a bit sad but when your travelling and eating out constantly you do crave being able to open your own fridge and cook for yourself. Im also looking forward to playing a bit of golf at Fixby, I havent been at home enough to take advantage of their great course and facilities yet.

My first week in Australia is in Sydney where I am playing the New South Wales Open at Oatlands Golf Club. I have a bit of a nightmare trip to get there this year. I actually couldnt get a flight to Sydney so I have had to fly to Brisbane and then down to Sydney, making my already long trip even longer.First I was meant to fly down from Manchester to Heathrow but my flight got cancelled due to the Plane that crash landed on the runway at the start of the week. So eventually I had to catch the train from Leeds to Kings Cross, then instead of getting on the tube with all my baggage I took a taxi to Paddington and got the Heathrow express into the airport (which I was very impressed with.) I then flew from Heathrow to Singapore, Singapore to Brisbane and then Brisbane to Sydney. Yes Im Exhausted! Ive landed Monday afternoon and the tournament starts on Friday so at least I will have a couple of days to come round and find my feet

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