Bula Bula! It's Fiji time again for the second installment of the Fiji International!! We are back at one of the worlds best golf courses again this year, Natadola Bay....simply breathtaking and an amazing golf course in incredible surroundings.
Last year I came over on Tuesday after an operation on my kidney to remove a stone on the Monday. After some complications during surgery it left me with a stent in place internally and in a large amount of pain all week. Playing on a heavy pain medication was less than ideal and I struggled to even walk around let alone play any good. This year I arrive without any of that to contend with......touch wood. It has been a year since my last kidney stone episode, hopefully my last!! No excuses this year!!
The course is once again in brilliant condition and credit to the staff here as they have done an amazing job. The only factor they may not have considered is the incredible high winds we have experienced and further poor weather forecast for the week. In saying that the greens aren't fast, they can't be as the balls would be getting blown all over the place.
The course is set right on the ocean with only 4 holes getting protection from the coastal winds although their altitude means the wind is still a major factor. Brutal in 50-60km winds is probably an understatement. The second hole is a 400m par 4 straight into the wind and slightly uphill, I would say less than 10% of the field are able to get home there in two shots with driver, driver tending to be a common theme there. The following 400m par four in the opposite direction I drove within 60m of the front but with the strength of the wind chose a hybrid chip as the best option, running it along the ground the whole way there!
Imagination and bucket loads of patience will be key this week along with an ability to hit quality shot after quality shot. There will be no let ups this week and even on the greens where putting for the best putters on tour is difficult due to the incredible wind. I have witnessed right to left putts breaking the other way this week thanks to strong gusts of wind at the wrong time! I think you will need a great ability to allow wind affects to be like water off a ducks back this week.
My goals are clear this week. To have my attention clearly on my intention this week. I am also introducing some new and improved mental strategies and a slight tweaking of the order of my routine. I am excited to play such a great course in demanding conditions, I like tough and this will no doubt be that this week! Bring it on.