John Parry: The most nerve-wracking week on the calendar.January, 2013
As he reflects on his win at Q school.
I had five practice rounds before it started. I have done it before and found I was rushing as there wasn’t time to do it properly. I had two before anyone got there and had nine holes and practisedon the other days. I knew what I was expecting, which made it easier. I don’t think anyone was better prepared than me as I had 10 days in Dubai beforehand where the conditions were ideal.
I have been seeing my trainer Rob Hopkinson since April – it has been a massive help. It is a slow process but will help a lot in the long run. I have never done much fitness before and this is biomechanics which shows how your muscles are working and how you create power. My exercise programme changes every 8 to 10 weeks. Then you are tested to see if your fat has gone down and your muscle has gone up. I mainly do weights – there isn’t much cardiovascular as golf is a power movement so there is no value in running on a treadmill.
In Spain I was going to the gym after each round. Rob was going to come out before Q School but had a physio course so came for the tournament itself. It worked out brilliantly; he was able to cook the right things for me and make sure I ate right on the course. With my caddy’s help too, all I had to do was play golf.
It crosses your mind it could all go wrong Starting the last day with a four-shot lead it does cross your mind for a split second it could all go wrong. But that is all before you play. When you get a few pars under your belt you settle down. It is not your normal event and people aren’t as chatty but having my trainer there I didn’t chat much to the other players. I would practise after each round, go back to the apartment and then the gym. When you hang around other players there is always some negative chat and that doesn’t really help at Q School, or any week actually.
Hopefully I won’t have to go back to Q School but it was probably the least amount of pressure I am ever going to feel there. After the fifth round I pretty much knew I had my card so it was then just trying to win. If you are 25th you are trying to hang on and you are playing OK but not great so that is the real pressure. I started the fifth round well and the most pleasing thing was that I didn’t stumble over the line and I kept pushing on.
There isn’t a massive gap between the Challenge Tour and European Tour. The winning scores are about the same but the strength in depth is greater on the main tour. You can shoot level on a tough course and still miss the cut while you can get away with mistakes a bit more on the Challenge Tour. I need to keep to a routine this year and not neglect certain things. The players who thrive on tour are those who are mentally strong and don’t worry about knockbacks.
I don’t feel like a new person on the European Tour, I just feel like I’ve been away for a bit.