David Howell, the boss explaining how he thinks the everyday golfer can only benefit from booking a TCE!
Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai were the first 3 events of 2017 for Howller and myself. After a long break, 3 Months all bar 1 week I was ready to get back on the road and to the sunshine. I have to say the Middle east is a very nice place and the events are ran to the highest quality so with this in mind I was looking forward to getting going again. Our first round in Abu Dhabi didn't quite go to plan carding a 1 over par 73 and with the cut looking like it was going to be around the -2 mark we new we had to come out Friday morning with a round in the 60's in mind. 18th tee of the 2nd round we are -2 for the round and -1 for the tournament, with the par 5 18th ahead of us a must birdie was needed to make the cut, a decent drive and 3 wood pin high in the left semi left a 20 yard chip, Dave didn't play a bad shot which ran up to around 5 feet which in my eyes is a given for Howller being a brilliant putter that he is, but unfortunately it missed on the left edge and we both new it was going to miss the cut by a shot, GUTTED was an understatement. No one likes missing a cut but its even worse when your on a 3 week trip away. So a weekend on the beach before heading to Qatar. The next 2 events, The Qatar Masters and The Dubai Dessert Classic did not go well again missing the cuts, we put this period of bad form down to being a little rusty. One thing i would like to mention is about my trip from Qatar to Dubai, Sunday afternoon me and my room mate Jamie got in a UBER from the Rotana Hotel to the airport, we got dropped off and we went through security and found a bar to have a couple of beers before we boarded the flight to Dubai. It was time to board so i asked for the bill and reached into my bag for my wallet. After 5 minutes of turning my bag upside down I had realised i had lost my wallet between the hotel and airport bar. I can't tell you the felling you have when you lose everything in a foreign country especially with 1 week left and no cash or cards, what a nightmare. So we boarded the flight and flew to Dubai, i have to say it was the longest hour on a flight ever. When i landed in Dubai i turned my phone on to a missed call from a Middle East number and a voicemail to call Anthony. So i rang and unbelievably it was the Uber car driver, he had not only found my wallet in the car but he drove it back to the hotel, laid out all the money in my wallet, £300 english and £150 in dirhams on the desk and took photos of the guy he had handed it back too on reception to prove to me he hadn't touched any of the contents and to show me the amounts he had handed back to the Rotana hotel. That man deserves a medal, i tried to offer him some money for his honesty and kindness but the gentleman would not take a penny. I finally managed to arrange for my wallet to be DHL back home and i now have it safe and sound.
So 2 weeks at home and then back on the road to South Africa and then India.
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So, after a lengthy time at home (just over 6 weeks to be exact) looking after my 2 (but beautiful) children, MY GOD was I ready to get back on the road albeit for only 1 week. Sunday afternoon and I’m on route to Heathrow airport to catch my 6.25pm flight to Hong Kong, just the 11hrs 55mins from start to finish but hey, it was overnight so after a couple of vinos I knew I could have a decent kip on route.
The boss, and I arrived safely on the Monday afternoon, a little jaded but all in all ok. Around 8pm we had finished food and we were back in our room, by around 5 past I was fast off, with the 12hrs flight and 8 hour’s time difference I’d hit the wall and the pillow. Being as tired as I was, I stupidly forgot to put my phone on silent and at 1.11am sure enough a call came through, well that was the end of my night’s sleep! For the next 5 hours I was wide awake, JET LAG 1 BRO 0.
Tuesday practice was surprisingly good, normally after a big break it takes a few rounds to get in the swing of things but the boss was swinging it pretty good to say the least, this continued in the pro-am on Wednesday too, so things were looking good going into the Tournament.
Wednesday was another sad day in the caddying world, we had been informed that Max Zechmann had passed away doing the job he loved on the golf course in Dubai, Max was full of life and always had a big grin on his face and loved to share a story and a joke, life is cruel at time and this was one of them. This was the 2nd upset the caddies had had in the space of 2 weeks, Pedro Ramseyer also a veteran caddie of the tour passed away in South Africa the week before also doing the job he loved. Pedro was a funny guy and had caddied for some of the best players in world golf, including the great Seve. These were 2 of the good guys and my thoughts are with both family and friends.
After a slightly better night’s sleep, we were up and ready for our 11.40am tee time. After 11 holes things weren’t going our way, lying plus 2 for the tournament, with level par looking like the cut, the boss needed to dig deep for the last half a dozen holes and being the grinder he is he posted another 70 for a 140 total. So, we were here for the weekend and after a 6 week layoff well, we were both pretty happy.
8.15am was our Saturday morning tee time, a very pleasant morning with hardly any wind, so we knew we had a good chance of producing a low one with freshly cut greens. A driver and 6 iron to 15 feet on the first followed by the putt was the perfect birdie start. At the turn Howeller had just holed his bunker shot on 9 to turn in 31 shots, he was moving on moving day. The tenth tee was moved up for round 3, debating the tee shot we decided the driver at the green from 274 was a good play, we were right - a fifteen-foot eagle putt took Dave to -5 for the round and the tournament. Dave carried on his good run, birdying 2 out of the next 8 holes, to shoot a 7under 63, a course equaling record which moved us from tied last, to 5th with Sundays final round to go.
A steady 8 straight pars on Sunday afternoon kept us in contention with the leaders who were still at 11 under, and with Dave coming back in 4 under on Saturday we knew we still stood a chance of closing the gap. But the tough par 4 9th put pay to that, with a slight pulled tee shot and poor lay-up 2nd shot resulted in a triple bogey 7. To say the wind was knocked out of our sails was an understatement, but we had a good chat walking to the next tee and put that straight behind us. We played the back nine in 1 under for a 2 over par 72 which resulted in a tie for 14th spot, which after a 6-week break we were more than pleased with. Now for 5 weeks off over the festive season, returning in Abu Dhabi the 2nd week in January.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!!
Howler dialing in his wedge numbers using Trackman.