Tom Lewis is struggling with the weight of expectation, and it’s frustrating the life out of him.
A year ago Lewis could do no wrong. Now he can’t do anything right.
Lewis’ appearance in this week’s Portugal Masters should have been a cause for celebration. Instead it was a reminder of how far his game has slipped.
Lewis turned up in Portugal as defending champion. However, he was in no shape to mount a serious defense of his title.
The Englishman surprised the world of golf last year when he won in Portugal in only his third tournament as a professional. The victory reinforced the hype he had attracted by winning the silver medal as low amateur in the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s.
Lewis pocketed €416,660 for the victory. More importantly, he earned a two-year European Tour exemption. The Englishman would be fighting for his Tour status this season if not for that exemption.
The man from Welwyn Garden City, England – Nick Faldo’s hometown – prepared for Portugal by missing five consecutive cuts. He had made only seven of 20 cuts all season. Indeed, the only weekend play he’d seen in 10 straight events was in the no-cut WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He was 123rd on the money list, with €166,990 in earnings.
“It’s disappointing that I won’t be up to my A-game” Lewis told European Tour radio. “I’ve had some good rounds, but I haven’t been able to put two rounds together.
“I was holing a lot more putts last year. It’s frustrating because I know I am capable of doing it and I’ve improved on most of the areas I’ve wanted to, but it just has not come together. I’m frustrated with myself for not performing to the level I expect.
“I’m disappointed and I wish I had done better. Luckily I’ve got next year. Unfortunately it’s been an expensive year because I’ve missed so many cuts. I’ve learnt a lot, but I’m also disappointed I haven’t turned that into performance.”
At least Lewis arrested his string of missed cuts. Rounds of 69-73-70-69 gave him a four-round total of 3-under 281 for 49th place and €10,575. His two 69s bring his total of sub-70 scores this season to six, and his stroke average to 72.87.
It’s an improvement, but still a long way from what was predicted of him this year. Sometimes the weight of expectation can be a heavy load to bear.