Two weeks ago we travelled rather early in the morning to the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play which was in Austin, Texas. This week was a brand new state for us to visit on our American Adventure and I think we both had completely underestimated how much we would like this part of the world. From what I have been told, even though it’s the heart of Texas, it couldn’t be more different to the rest of the state.
The drive from the airport to Downtown Austin took us through the outskirts filled with typical old school American houses that looked a little run down but the closer to town we got the cooler the areas became. The buildings still had the run down look but I think that was part of the appeal. Walls were soon scattered with rainbows of graffiti and artwork. Shops became very bohemian, filled with all sorts of original hand crafted clothing and jewellery. It had a real quirky vibe and I loved that. Throughout university we went on trips to cities which were full of culture and creativity, as good research points for our work. Austin could easily fit into one of those locations perfectly alongside Berlin, Tokyo and New York.
The very next day after we arrived, Tyrrell headed to the golf club to get his standard 9-hole practice round in so I grabbed the opportunity to hang back and go explore the city alone. It’s not actually often that we stay in locations where I can go out by myself to explore. Whether that be because we stay in the middle of nowhere or because being female it just isn’t a secure option to venture the streets by myself! Often that is one of the first questions we would get asked about travelling for Tyrrells job, it must be great… you get to explore the world? But honestly, most often it just doesn’t work out that way. Fortunately, this week we were staying in a great city and our hotel had bikes in the reception which you could take out and go wherever you wanted with. I think that was such a brilliant idea that most hotels should adopt! I spent the morning researching some places to visit, grabbed a bike and off I went on an adventure.
Following the main road to the artistic part of town I spent the afternoon exploring the quirky shops and local sights. Austin really is such a brilliant place. There is such an emphasis on the creative scene which I think brings fantastic character to the city and is the main reason why I would go as far as to say it’s been one of my favourite places we have visited in the States, so far. Even though it was March, it was super-hot with the sun beating down on the back of my neck as I rode around the city. It makes for the perfect place to come and explore during spring time- I would definitely recommend a visit.
The city is so geared toward cyclists that they even have trails that run along the river.
The tournament this week ran from Wednesday to Sunday so the very next day we travelled out to of the city and headed towards the hills to begin the tournament. The landscape couldn’t have been more different. As you head out of downtown Austin the views transform from urban sprawl to a Beverly Hills/ Californian type of scenery so you really do get the best of both worlds in a relatively short space of land.
The course itself was beautiful. The 18 holes again, couldn’t be more contrasting; the front nine showcased rocky landscapes and ravine style boundaries whereas the back nine had incredibly difficult water hazards on most holes. Perfectly suited to make for some very exciting match play.
Match play, for those readers who don’t know how it works, is a different format to the traditional stroke play. You play against one competitor at a time with the aim of winning your match, allowing you to progress to the next match, semi finals, and eventually become the overall winner. You could play the worst round of golf ever, as long as you play the hole in less shots than your competitor, you win the hole. The aim being that you beat your competitor by accruing as many holes as possible within 18 holes. Tyrrell won two of his three matches and ended up losing his third to Rafa Cabrera Bello, leaving him in a sudden death play-off for the final position to go through to the next stage of the WGC match play.
The first playoff hole was a par 4. Rafa and Charles Howell had both made par, leaving Tyrrell to sink his 3ft putt to carry on in the match. In a bizarre turn of events T went to place his putter behind the ball and managed to slightly knock it in the process. He turned to declare it to the other players, who didn’t know any different other than that was a ‘shot’ penalty, which added to the next putt would make for a 5. Catapulting Tyrrell out of the sudden death playoff in a split second. He shook hands with his contenders and began walking off the green, only to be told by a referee that a new local rule had come into play in January that he could have replaced the ball and tapped in for no penalty. *face palm*. Danny, Tyrrells manager, and I stood in utter disbelief from behind the ropes not quite knowing quite what was going on as they were muttering amongst themselves on the green. It one of those moments where your heart literally sinks into your stomach, especially when we realised what could have been. But, there is absolutely no point in dwelling on things that you can’t change, other than to take it constructively and use it as a life lesson. In this industry you have to learn how to pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off and restart all over again for the next tournament. By the time it was the evening we were packed and had a car picking us up for a flight back to Orlando for 4:30am ready for another week of rest at home.
The following day, as part of the Morning Drive interview that Tyrrell did a few weeks ago, we were offered tickets to Universal Studios to test their newest ride, ‘Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon’. I have to start this by telling you I hate rides. I don’t even like being a passenger in a car going too fast down a steep hill. Seriously, I’m a real puss puss. I was however persuaded that this wasn’t a rollercoaster… more of a tour. Begrudgingly agreeing to a day being the photographer at the park, I tagged along as we tested it out and I have to say it was actually pretty cool. They give you 3D glasses for the ride which turns into a simulated virtual race though the city. It even sprays authentic pizza scents when you’re passing by the streets. It was brilliant. Just the laugh T needed to recover from a tough week previously.
Then two days after that I turned 23! Which Tyrrell and I celebrated with by going to a wonderful restaurant in Orlando called the Melting Pot. They specialize in everything fondue. Cheese fondue to start, stock fondue for main and a chocolate fondue for pudding… cue watering mouths!! Of all the things I love in America, the food is the biggest. Which sadly isn’t going down to well with my bikini body. But hey, you only live once! So, if you come to visit Orlando, the Melting Pot is an absolute winner.
Coming up next on Wife on Tour will be a very special post, it’s on the crème de la crème for the golfing world, featuring our long awaited trip to the masters. Keep your eyes peeled for another post soon & If you’re not already, subscribe to my blog using the right hand column for regular updates on what happens as the travelling partner of a golf professional.