Open diary Day 3: England's Paul Waring reveals what it's like to play in The Open
TG Exclusive: We've teamed up with English professional golfer Paul Waring this week as he gives us daily updates on what it's like to be playing at Royal Birkdale this week in the 146th Open.
About Paul: The former English Amateur champion has been plagued with back injuries, and was granted a medical exemption for this season having managed just four events last year- but things are looking up. Waring had a runner-up finish at the Joburg Open in February to secure his place in his first Open since Royal Birkdale in 2008. That year he finished 19th and played alongside Phil Mickelson on Sunday.
Today was good, I did everything a little bit earlier today as there was bad weather forecast for this afternoon, so I was home by 3.30pm and was happy with all the prep I’d done.
I booked a taxi for 7.30 this morning to get to the course as I had a 9am tee-time. So I had a bit of coffee and breakfast and then I did a little bit of media then I walked down and hit some balls, and really just went through all the bits that I thought will be applicable tomorrow.
Again, I worked through the bag – I started off pitching, mainly looking at distance control and feel as that will be key. You can save par now and again if you hack it out the rough and leave it 100 yards from the green so those are a couple of things I was working on.
I also did a bit of driving as I’m really conscious it’s going to be important to get it in play off the tee to have a chance, and then I did a lot of short game. The weather we’re going to have means you’re going to miss a lot of greens and they are long as well so there’s a chance you’re going to leave yourself a bit of work to do.
After that we played the back nine today with Alex Noren, Joe Dean and Stuart Manley who I qualified with at the Joburg Open at the start of the year. I played 18 today yesterday and just wanted to get another look at the back nine to get a feel for it.
It was quite a bit of fun, there was nothing too serious today or a money game or anything like that. We were all just doing our own thing, hitting a few balls around here and there – just trying to get a real feel for the golf course. Everyone goes about their preparation a little bit different but we all ended up doing similar things, playing the golf course as we think we are going to play it tomorrow but also just trying to get a bit more of a feel for it.
On the course I was mainly practicing my short game, trying to find ways in to the holes in terms of positions or putting in to areas you think the flags will be or where they were in 2008 during that week when I played then. Really just trying to get the best idea of how the golf course is going to play this week.
For me it’s just another week so I want to be as settled as I can with my golf bag going in to the tournament. I’m just going to do my normal thing, my normal routine and I’m not doing anything special so to speak for this one week. Everything needs to be settled, you want to be comfortable and trust everything that’s in your bag. You don’t want something new golf clubs in or changing settings on drivers or anything this week and don’t truly know what it’s going to do when you’re under a bit of pressure.
Tomorrow will just be about keeping the same swing thought I’ve had for the past few weeks that seems to be working. I’m just trying to initiate the first move of the backswing with my left shoulder, trying to have a bit more turn in to the first bit of the backswing rather than leaving the body where it is. There’s a few places where you could definitely run out of fairway and end up in more bunkers or in the rough if you are too aggressive off the tee. Course management off the tee is going to be key tomorrow really.
I’ll have dinner in a local restaurant tonight. Right now I’ll have a little nap, and recharge my batteries it’s all about having a lot of energy. It could all come down to the back nine on a Sunday so you want need to have as much energy as you could possibly have later on in the week.
Then tomorrow I might watch a little bit in the morning on TV to see what’s going on, but mainly to see how my mates are getting on as well, but my caddie is going to go out and watch and have a little walk round to see how far the fairways and greens are playing.
I’m getting excited now and I’m feeling good. My golf game feels in pretty good shape at the moment, but I’ve learnt over the years that doesn’t always mean much though. It’s a scoring sport, it doesn’t always mean how well you hit the golf ball. You can’t have big expectations as you don’t know what the golfing gods are going to dish out for you weather it’s dodgy weather or you don’t feel quite right when you wake up on a Thursday as well.