James Morrison: “Organisation on and off the course is the key to success”
While it may not be an exact science, planning your schedule for the year takes some working out. Unlike some players I don’t need weeks on end at home trying to hone my game, I am kind of the opposite in that I need to play more to be able to play tournament golf.
As long as I don’t play more than four weeks in a row then I’m OK. It seems like I play quite a bit – I played in 32 events last year, but they were spread out quite nicely.
I try to break it down into thirds. The first part takes care of itself. We had the Desert Swing, then I was home for four days and then it was Malaysia and Perth so the six weeks off came at the right time.
I played in the Sunningdale Foursomes which is great fun at a great course and an event that I always used to play. Then I had a break with my best mate in St Andrews and now I have been upping my practice so when the Spanish Open, where I will be defending, comes around I will be ready to play.
Otherwise I will be doing a lot of fitness work. Now is the time to do some heavy lifting so when the season really gets going it will be more about maintenance and gradual gains.
These are things that you have to do. I’m 31 but feel like 41 compared to kids coming out of Q School, you have to do it. People talk about Rory McIlory and lifting heavy weights but everyone is doing it.
Generally I tend to play better in my second, third and fourth week on the road after getting into the rhythm of playing tournament golf. That said, when I won in Spain my previous tournament was three weeks before.
When I got there I felt like the course suited me. It was hard and fast and I relished that and my focus narrowed and I really got switched on. It was the same in Madeira; my category meant that I didn’t get into everything early in the season but I was sixth in Andalucia two weeks before so I was hungry to play and it was hard and fast so I was licking my lips.
My coach Hugh Marr and I use Golf Data Lab to measure our performance and my caddy Martin Seddon notes every single shot that I play, and where I hit or miss greens, so every week we are analysing where we can get better. Martin then inputs the stats after every round.
One example from last year was that I holed 96.4 per cent of my putts from within six feet so that tells me that I can play well on any course. If you are holing out well then can you can play most courses.
As for the prize fund, that isn’t a huge consideration. If it’s a small event on a course that I like then I will play it every time. At the end of the day you have to learn how to win and be in contention, you don’t just pitch up at Wentworth and compete.
Look at the likes of Ian Poulter or Paul Casey, they have won all around the world and that doesn’t just happen. A win is a win and I prefer to go by what courses that suit me.
When you are struggling to keep your card, that is the real test. Your scheduling always seems great when you are playing well. That’s where top players are impressive, they stick to their schedule and plan on and off the course and go with it. That is golf, there will be ups and downs.
When I lost my card in 2013 I started chasing it a bit more and playing eight or nine events in a row.
By week seven you are playing by guesswork and hope. You don’t have any real idea of what you are going to do.
The year I lost my card my son was born and I changed equipment to no-one and I was mixing things up. Clarity off the course goes with clarity on it, whatever you do for a living.
Now I’ve got it sorted. If I have a week off my son is in nursery three days so I will do a very early gym at 7am and get my practice done by 11.
Then the clubs go in the boot and I’m no longer a golfer but a father.
Someone said there are three reasons golfers play badly:
1) You have just got married
2) You have just had a kid
3) You have just got divorced
So I guess it’s true – clarity is a big thing.