James Morrison: Too much ego, the Rolex Series and my Player of the Year
European Tour star James Morrison on his efforts in 2016
That’s me done for another season, a bit earlier than anticipated. In some ways it’s been an OK year, with three top 5s, but it’s not been anywhere near as consistent as 2015 where I won, was second in France and finished inside the top 30 on the Race to Dubai. But golf has a lot of ebbs and and flows to it and it shows how far I’ve come to be disappointed by finishing 65th on the money list.
I have been inside the top 60 most of the season but have rather capitulated in the last few weeks. I’ve made cuts but my wrist has been hurting, my knee has been hurting and, by the end of it all, my brain has been hurting too.
I was chatting with my mind coach Lee Crombleholme and I admitted that I have been concentrating too much on the ego and not the mastery side of things. Mastery is focusing on being the master of what you can control, control the controllables like fitness, preparation, swing etc and tick those boxes.
Ego is focusing on money, winning and world ranking points and I’ve gone down that path too much.
That said, when I first started on Tour, I used to be obsessed with money and I would sit there on the Saturday and try and work out how much money I could make and how that might help to keep my card.
James Morrison column
Now I am in my eighth year so you learn to switch your mind off from that side of things, you can’t play the game thinking about the money, you have to think about the game. You get a text from the Tour after the tournament has ended with where you have finished and how much money you have made and then you have to forget about it. Easier said than done if you’re struggling.
On the subject of money the European Tour has just announced the new Rolex Series, a group of seven events with a minimum prize fund of $7m.
As players we heard about it about a week before and it seems to be a way to describe a collection of events which was the Final Series. It doesn’t count any more or less towards the Order of Merit and it will hopefully prove to be an exciting move by the Tour and the smaller events don’t dwindle away.
It’s not just about the prize money, the PGA Tour has 42 events with that sort of prize money, it is about getting players back from the States, improving how events are run and improving the logistics of a run of tournaments.
We will have a run of three links events leading up to the Open and, in theory, it would be nice to have an England Swing like Wentworth and then the British Masters and maybe something else. But scheduling is another topic where it’s not ever as easy as it is on paper and some events will want to be in a certain part of the calendar.
As a player I see the Rolex Series as a big opportunity to play well and show how good I am, I love the bigger events and there will now be more of those.
James Morrison column
A few players have had their say on the Ryder Cup selection process and it does seem stupid that a world-class player like Paul Casey wasn’t on our team. One way would be to do away with the captain’s picks and have either six from the world ranking list and six from European list, or maybe eight and four – you would have to recognise the European Tour players who aren’t in the Majors to have a chance of getting in the team. With picks you leave yourself open to criticism and there is always some negativity around them.
I will join the players’ committee next year and, if someone were to grant me two wishes, they would be to have more events in Europe. It is great going to Asia and it is a massive market for us but I would love more tournaments in Europe.
And the second is the same old problem that has been talked about from what seems like the beginning of time – slow play. It’s getting painful as a player so what it must be like to watch I don’t know. There was some optimism at the start of the year but, with everything else going on, it feels like it has been pushed aside.
Our group was monitored for a hole and a half in Turkey, it wasn’t me who was being watched, and that was good but not much has changed. Players are still so stuck in their routines and can’t get out of it. The only way to identify slow play is if a group is out of position but, if everyone is slow, then things will never change. A couple of guys were fined this year but that changes nothing. If you were docked shots and that doubled each time then things would soon pick up.
We’ll be voting for our Player of the Year soon and my top two would be Chris Wood, who won the PGA and played in the Ryder Cup, or Masters champion Danny Willett.
Both would be great winners and obviously Alex Noren has had a fantastic year. Then you have someone like Richard Bland who has had the best year of his career at the age of 43. He has always had a great game but has probably underachieved and his mental game has probably held him back. He too works with Lee and has been showing how good he is. Like I said, the ebbs and flows of golf.