Rest and Refocus

January 16, 2014 · James Blog, uncategorized
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Happy New Year everyone. I’m pretty sure my last blog began with a similar message it was that long ago, but I’m guessing the onrush of emails from fans expressing their outrage at my lack of blogging must have been pushed straight to my spam account, as I haven’t received any. *cough*

I do enjoy writing blogs though; it’s a chance to archive my experiences which I can occasionally look back upon, and also for other people (the faithful handful of you) to read about them. Not many people get to travel and see as much of the world as I do, so it’s a bit selfish to keep all those experiences and memories to myself. Last season was a tough one for me, and most weeks I just didn’t have the motivation or desire to write about what I was doing. But in hindsight, if I only blogged on the weeks that I won or played great, you would all be given a false impression of my life and career, and that’s not what I want. If you scrolled through the blogs on my website now, you’d think I was the happiest person in the world and had about a 92% winning percentage. Sure, I’m an upbeat person, but not all of the time, and I certainly don’t win 92% of the time. So my goal with these blogs from now on is to portray myself a bit more honestly and accurately, and by doing so, give you more genuine insight into my life.

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Start them young.

My parents and I spent this festive season over in Houston visiting my Uncle Steve and his side of the family. It used to be somewhat of a family tradition to spend Christmas in Houston, at least from about 2000 until 2007 until I went away to college in Arizona and preferred instead to spend the holidays back at home so I could see my friends. So this was the first Christmas we had spent Stateside in about 6 years, and it was really nice to go back. It was great to catch up with my Uncle Roger who I hadn’t seen in years, and also spend a bit of time with my cousin Tracy’s 4 month old baby, Cameron.

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Practicing at Champions Golf Club with 1995 USPGA Champion, Steve Elkington.

I didn’t play much golf (aside from a couple hours on the range at Champions with Steve Elkington, which was great fun), but I hadn’t really planned to. As I said, 2013 was a long, frustrating and particularly tiring season for me, so I went to America with the full intention of just being lazy and enjoying the holidays. I woke up late, ate far too much food, drank far too much beer and coffee and wine (not at the same time, although now I’m slightly intrigued), watched too much TV, and just had a nice time. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, and my birthday on the 2nd were all celebrated to the fullest and I’ve no doubt the 747 we flew home on was significantly heavier than the one we arrived on. I’m 25 now by the way, a quarter of a century old and counting. Where the hell did all that time go? Sometimes I really wish I was 4 years old again and could start over. But then I remember I’d have 17 years of education ahead of me, and quickly change back to being satisfied with being 25.

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Sticky Toffee pudding. Great for the taste buds; not so much for the waistline.

I got back on January 6th and without even having to weigh myself knew I’d be 10lbs heavier. Which didn’t particularly upset me as I was in reasonable shape to begin with, but the idea that I’m not getting the best out of myself just annoys me. As it’s turned out, that fortnight of overindulgence may have actually been a blessing in disguise, as since then I’ve been in the gym almost every day trying to burn off the Christmas and birthday cake, and I’m now in a great routine and feel really motivated about the year ahead. I’ve started going to yoga classes with my friend and fellow pro Callum, and I can’t see myself stopping until I get as flexible and strong as I really want to be. I’m working on a few swing changes ahead of the 2014 and I’ve been putting more hours in on the range than I typically would, and I can already see good improvement in that area. And of course, I’ve started blogging again, which has actually been more difficult than the other stuff, even though it’s just typing a bunch of letters. I suspect it’s because golf and exercise come quite naturally to me; whereas writing, although I enjoy it, takes a little more thought and effort. But I’m glad to be back on it, and I intend to keep it going for the rest of this season and beyond.

The next month or so has quite a bit in store for me, primarily Asian Tour Q School in Hua Hin, Thailand on February 12th-15th. I’ve successfully negotiated that qualifying in both of the previous two years, so I have a lot of experience and some great memories of playing those golf courses which is great. Since I’ve not been playing a lot of golf, my tentative plan is to go to either Thailand or maybe Bahrain at least a week in advance, and get myself out of swing change mode and back into competition mode. It’s an important adjustment, as I’ve learned over the years. Competing whilst tweaking just doesn’t work and should be avoided, and I fully intend to avoid it.

Until then, it will be more of the same stuff: getting fitter, stronger, stretchier and technically better, as I prepare myself for the start of the season. I’ll also be checking in with another blog within the next couple weeks, perhaps not quite as long, but at least an update of sorts. If I don’t, be sure to send me an email. I’ve changed my spam filter.

Till next time