Ahlan wa sahlam, hello if you are not Egyptian.
Since my first column I have been on the road for the few weeks, my travels firstly took me to Egypt for two events on the Mediterranean Tour in Cairo. The media here, and across the world, portrayed Cairo as some sort of war zone. As a professional golfer you have to make decisions based largely on the prize funds and ranking points available and as these were both pretty good I booked my plane ticket. Golf here has improved since my last visit five years ago – but not a lot else has!
Once at the courses – the first designed by Jack Nicklaus– I usually play two practise rounds for most tournaments but trying to keep my trip as brief as possible I got to know the course quickly. One of the holes was particularly picturesque as you took your aim at the pyramids in the distance which was a cool view.
I made the cut sitting sixth and tried to put as much pressure on the leader as I could eventually finishing fourth which I was pretty happy with overall. The day after was a pro-am for the tournament sponsors and spectators.I enjoy meeting new people and just playing golf for fun again is nice. I played with the course owner and he revealed that it costs 1.1 million US dollars to water the course each year, a staggering figure considering I passed people on my way to the course who had no shoes.
The second tournament took place at Allegeria outside Cairo. I can honestly say that this Greg Norman designed course is one of the finest that I have ever played worldwide. But my sixth straight day in the heat touching 34 degrees and coming from almost freezing conditions, I was mentally feeling it. My first round was a little disappointing but I followed it with a good under-par round to make the cut. Shooting level par in the last to finish 12th consolidated a pretty good two weeks in Egypt.
I flew home for my next event on the Euro Pro Tour at Haggs Castle. I prepared by returning to Glenbervie and honing my game as I typically do, to get used to playing on familiar grass again. The grass out in Egypt is very different and requires a completely different set of skills especially around the greens.
I finished fifth which was a decent performance, capping off a good three weeks.
My next event is in Oxford which is also on the Euro Pro Tour before a short break where I will be focusing on nutrition changes I’ve made to my diet. I have teamed up with a company, pro gains, as an ambassador (using the code ‘Fraser M Progainer’ will add three free meals with any order on their website).
It is the Masters this week. A few people have asked me for any tips and outside the obvious top five in the world who I am sure will be up there, South African players typically do well at Augusta and I would say out of those Charl Schwartzel would be my chosen pick. However I can’t forget Mizuno Staff player Chris Wood who has been in great form over the past year.