I attacked the course and paid the price, but I learnt a lot

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The Independent Online

Upset, frustrated and disappointed. That pretty much sums up how I felt at 3pm yesterday as I holed out on the 18th and knew that my first British Open, on my first trip to Europe, was over.

Upset, frustrated and disappointed. That pretty much sums up how I felt at 3pm yesterday as I holed out on the 18th and knew that my first British Open, on my first trip to Europe, was over.

I'd played well in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'd been striking the ball well, my putting was fine. But the bottom line is that I didn't perform in the two days that mattered. My 76 yesterday and my 73 on Thursday add up to only one thing. I'm out.

Why? I could say that yesterday's conditions were something a little different.

The wind was starting to blow and I hadn't seen it like that earlier in the week. It was a strange situation for me, one I'm not used to. But that is no excuse and I cannot use it as such. Other guys shot low scores. The fact is that I didn't perform and that's down to me.

Things started going wrong early in my round. I wasn't putting well, lipping out on the 3rd hole for a bogey and then missing another makeable shot on the 5th. I had another bogey on the 7th but, despite making par at the Postage Stamp and a birdie at the 9th, I'd scored 38 going out. It's hard to recover from there.

It was frustrating because these are the holes that matter and it was already slipping away. Not that I didn't try to come back. After the first nine I was four over par for the tournament and at that time the cut was projected at four over. It was achievable in my mind. In fact, I was still looking higher than that, not considering missing the cut.

In the back nine, I knew I had to play my usual game, one stroke at a time, one shot at a time to keep it together. There's no other way to play this game.

After three pars on 11, 12 and 13 I felt my goal was still attainable. A bogey on the 14th and it looked less so.

After that I attacked the course. Unfortunately you can't afford to attack this course and I paid the price, with the 18th being a perfect example. Trying to reach the green with my second, I landed in a bunker on the front left, exited it to leave a long putt and then took a bogey five.

I never enter a tournament believing anything other than I can be competitive. It was the same here at Royal Troon. My optimism that I had the potential to do well - in the same way my friend Ben Curtis did well last year - was genuine.

Yet now I find myself thinking of home on Friday, not Sunday.

It wasn't the way I wanted to finish, but that's life. I'll go back to America, re-group, move on. That's golf. Being in Britain this week has been a great experience, especially off the course. Scotland has been incredible, the people could not have been nicer, the hospitality has been awesome.

I've learned a lot on the course. You tend to learn when things don't go your way. I can honestly say I'll leave with more positives than negatives. Even though I didn't perform well, I know now that I can. And I'll definitely be back to try to prove it.

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