It's Irish Open week again, although it doesn't seem like a year since we were at Carton House. This year we are back at Fota Island, which produced great tournaments when we played here in 2001 and 2002.
Anyone who played here then is really looking forward to the week, especially with the weather we are having. The European Tour players don't know what to think, as they are used to having bad weather when they come to Ireland.
This is a huge week for myself and all the Irish players, as it's our fifth major. There is always great expectation on us to do well and we all want to perform for the crowds that turn out to support us.
Having won the Irish Open in 2007, I definitely feel more relaxed at it now. Prior to winning I was trying too hard to win it, but now I know that I have one and I can take a more relaxed approach.
I spent last week watching the US Open on the television wishing I was there playing. It's tough to watch tournaments that you are used to playing in but not qualified for. The good thing about it is that it reminds me how much I enjoy them and how much I want to get back to playing them.
I have great memories of Fota Island. I won an Amateur Strokeplay event here in 1995 and also finished 2nd and 6th in the and 2002 Irish Opens, respectively.
On top of this it is like a homecoming for me as my Father was from Cork and played for them. I have always received great support all over Ireland but probably none as good as Cork. I haven't been down here for a while and haven't played the course since 2002.
I got here on Monday evening and played nine holes on Tuesday. It was great to get out and see the course and I could remember a lot of the holes. Some had changed slightly with new tees and a few minor changes to the greens but, all in all, the course is as I remember it. It is in fantastic condition and the greens are immaculate - if you hit a good putt it should go in.
On Wednesday I played the morning pro-am - we gave it a good run but in the end we were a few shots shy of the winning total. It was an amazing day to play golf, very little wind with the sun splitting the skies. I played fine, nothing amazing, which is what you actually want in the Wednesday pro-am.
There is nothing worse than shooting six or seven under on a Wednesday. I am happy with how my game is progressing, over the last few weeks I have been putting in some good rounds but I just haven't been finishing off tournaments. In Dallas I had three good rounds, then in Memphis I had a couple of good rounds and one bad one. I can see the progress, I just have to get four solid rounds together.
After I finished the pro-am I called it a day - it was a long day in the heat and there were a lot of photos and autographs to be signed. In years gone by I would have gone to the range after all this and worn myself out, but I am now realizing that the most important thing is to be fresh and ready to play. I am still sticking with my reduced practice schedule, which is hard at times but I know that it is the right thing to do.
I have enjoyed the course, there are plenty of holes that give you birdie chances and there are also plenty of good tough ones where pars are good scores. If the weather remains as it is supposed then I think the scoring will be pretty low as the greens are good.