It’s refreshing to be out in America surrounded by, well, Americans.  It’s an opportunity to listen to their take on all things golf and to remind yourself there really are a host of different opinions on just about everything.

Take Rory, for instance.  He’s universally loved stateside and seems to be generally lauded for his stance against LIV golf and for becoming the voice of the PGA Tour (along with Tiger, of course).  His decision to miss last week’s tournament at Hilton Head has resulted in a loss of $3 million for the Irishman due to new rules regarding the number of appearances required by the top players.  Unfavourable comparisons to Jon Rahm who honoured his commitment to play, despite post Masters exhaustion, also abound.  There is now an understandable distinct lack of sympathy for Rory.

However, I was talking last week to a friend of Rory’s who had some text communication with him after the Masters and he told me Rory was “below basement level” mentally at his ninth, failed, attempt to complete the career Grand Slam.  Accepting that, it’s no wonder he pulled out of Hilton Head.  My friend continued, “Rory’s tried everything he can over the last nine years.  He’s turned up early; he’s done his practice early and turned up late-ish; he’s treated it like a normal tournament; he’s prepared forensically;  he’s talked down the importance of winning the Masters; he’s talked it up; he’s tried everything.”

When I reported this conversation to Patricia she unsympathetically snorted and said, “He hasn’t tried starting well!”

Will we ever see Rory win another major? []

Whatever your opinion, I think it may be some time before we see the McIlroy bounce and swagger return.

If you haven’t dipped into your reserves of sympathy yet, I urge you to spare a thought for Will Zalatoris, the cocktail stick of a player who came to prominence in the 2021 edition of the Masters when he finished second.  In 2022 he was 6th in the Masters, then lost to Justin Thomas in a play-off for the PGA title and then finished runner-up to Matt Fitzpatrick at the US Open – and all of this achieved by a player yet to win.  That win came in August last year and one week later the back problems started in earnest.

Last week his troubles culminated in a withdrawal from the Masters and on Saturday of Masters week he underwent back surgery and the 26-year old is out for the rest of the season, including the Ryder Cup.  That’s tough for a young player who has just begun establishing himself.

Meanwhile, life for me this week is the sanctuary of a cabin in North Georgia.  We decided against all the travel to Florida we had expected to do and opted instead for R&R and getting “off grid” for a few days.  Good decision!  The days are filled with nothing more taxing than the wonderment at the size of the portions in the restaurants and the size of the beds.  Is there a correlation, I hear you ask?  Who knows?  What I can tell you, though, is I’m six feet tall and can sit on the side of the bed with my feet dangling a good 12 inches off the floor!  I have several friends who’d need a mini trampoline just to retire for the night!

As I write I am really looking forward to The Chevron Championship, the women’s first major of the year, which is taking place in Texas for the first time.  I have discovered the requirement for multiple degrees just to be able to work the television out here.  Alas, I don’t seem to have graduated just yet, so wish me well in that endeavour.

Jennifer Kupcho, defending champion at The Chevron Championship, the women’s first major of the year. [Getty Images]

If I’m unsuccessful, I’ll just have to continue enjoying the stunning walks in the vicinity of the cabin.  I met a chap this morning who in reply to my question told me it was really quite safe indeed as there was “very little bear activity!”

Hope to be writing again soon.