Life is a lot easier when you play badly and then all of a sudden you get in contention and win one. No one gets on your back. When you finish runner-up seven times, everyone is asking, 'Why aren't you winning?' It's much more fun when you jump into a win out of the blue. It's a much tougher game when you play consistently well.

Barclays Singapore Open

Entry Date:
Nov 13, 2008

My final tournament of the year was almost a great success. I went to the Barclays Singapore Open looking forward to my long winter break but in search of one more win for the year. As it turned out it wasn’t to be, I came close in the end but a couple of unlucky breaks cost me. In the early part of the week I found it hard to keep my mind on the tournament, the fact that it was my last event was creeping in. However, by the weekend I was much more into tournament, I knew that I was getting myself in with a shout and I was forgetting, or at least putting my impending break out of my mind.

This was my first time playing here and I have to say that I really enjoyed it; it is a fantastic course and a great event. The course had a major feel to it; the greens were firm which made getting the ball close very tough. I certainly found that as the week wore on it played more like a major tournament. I think the only day that it seemed a little easier was the third round as the greens softened up to give us a chance to make some birdies. This course uses a similar system to Augusta to keep the greens firm and dry, whereby they have an underground sub-air system which sucks the moisture out of the greens. I can tell you that it was put to the test this week as we experienced some of the heaviest rain I have ever seen. However when we went out after the rain delays the greens were no different to before the rain.

As my season is nearly over I have been thinking about the areas that I want to work on during the winter and as a result I have been a bit mixed up when I get on the course. Last week was no different; I played most of the week with a swing thought which is something that I never do. The reason I did it this week was because I wasn't able to go out onto the course and forget what I was practising, I was stuck in the middle and so I felt that the best option was to go with a single swing thought rather than a number of them. I have to admit that I would hate to play golf like this all of the time; in the early rounds I really struggled with it as I found it such a distraction. As the week wore on though I got a little bit more comfortable with it and I also found that I wasn't thinking about it on every shot. As I got myself into contention I found that I was getting more into my normal approach, which is purely to focus on the target and not to be thinking about my swing. Looking back on the week I can definitely see where having this swing thought in my head cost me shots, particularly in the early rounds. The area where I struggled most by having the thought was my wedge play. I found that it really distracted me and as a result I wasn’t trusting my wedges. I did hit them fantastic but I wasn't trusting how far I was going to hit them.

Like the last few tournaments I have played, the Singapore Open was blighted with rain delays. It seemed as if the rain was following us. This time of year in Singapore is the rainy season so at least we were somewhat prepared for it this week. However the course held up fantastically well to all the rain. Bar a couple of spots on the fairways you wouldn’t have known that it rained.

My tournament got off to a slow but steady start, a round of one over on Thursday; I wasn’t too unhappy with my round when I finished as I had played in the toughest of conditions. We had some heavy rain and strong winds for most of our round and were on our 15th hole when it got really bad and we were called in due to a lightening threat. When we eventually got back out nearly three hours later the wind was dying down. Ironically I played my better golf in the poor conditions. I was level par when I was called in and when I came back out I dropped a shot on my last hole, the ninth, to end up shooting one over par.

My second round was a little better; I shot one under par for the round which I didn’t get to finish until Saturday morning due to more thunder and lightening. It was the third round where I made my move. I made six birdies and one bogey to shot five under par and move to five under for the tournament. The scoring in this round was substantially better as they softened the greens a bit which made them more receptive. I made two birdies on the front nine and one bogey, then four birdies on the back nine, the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th. The best thing about my third round was that I managed to finish it on Saturday whereas most of the field didn't finish until Sunday morning. The fact that I didn’t have to get up to finish my third round was a huge advantage.

I started the final round four behind in share of seventh place; I played in the third last group with Jeev Milkha Singh and Charlie Wie. Both Jeev and I got off to a great start by birdying the first two holes. I made another birdie on the fourth to go to eight under par, which I remained on until the 16th hole. Jeev birdied the seventh to get to eight under and then birdied the 11th to take the lead outright, only to come back to me on the 13th after a three putt bogey. With three holes to play we were tied at eight under and a couple clear of the field. On the 16th I was in the left rough, the pin was at the back of the green and over the back was water. I hit a nine iron for my second with the intention of hitting it short of the pin but it flew off the clubface, and pitched pin high and then trickled over the back and into the water and cost me a double bogey. Jeev made a bogey to be one ahead; we both parred the 17th to keep the status quo. On the last Jeev pushed his tee shot into the fairway trap and had to lay it up well back. I had hit my drive down the edge of the water line, and was within reach of the green but I had to stand on the sleepers. I went for the green with my three wood which I hit beautifully just left of the pin. When it was in the air I thought I had stiffed it as there was a big backstop behind the pin which I knew would feed the ball back to the pin. At least it should have; my shot pitched on the green and ran through and up behind the hole but somehow it stopped on top and didn’t come back to the hole. If it had come back I would have had a five footer for eagle as opposed to the five footer I had for birdie. In the end I had to hole my putt for a play-off but I wasn’t able too. I finished with a par for six under and one shot short of Jeev. I was particularly disappointed as I had hit some very good shots coming in and didn’t get rewarded for them. I just didn’t get the breaks when I needed them; at least not in this tournament.

It was still a good finish to the year but a disappointing one; however as I travelled home I thought about it and I realised that I got the breaks during the year when I needed them so I couldn’t be too disappointed about not getting them this week.

I am home now and off tournament play for eight weeks; I will be practising and working out during my break but no competitive play. I have been looking forward to finishing for quite a while now so to be finally finished is a good feeling. I can finally get a chance to sit back, reflect on the year and try and take it all in.

Talk to you all soon and thanks for all your support throughout the year!

Padraig

A gallent final effort just failed to secure Padraig the Barclays Singapore Open. Trailing by five shots going into the final round he opened up with three birdies in the first four holes as he relentlessly pursued the leaders. Steady par golf from there for the next eleven holes was good enough to move him in to a three way tie for the lead as the tough pin positions caused havoc with the field. But disaster struck on the par four 16th hole where he looked to have played a fine nine iron second shot to the green but the ball trickled off the back and into the water resulting in a double bogie six. Still trailling by one playing the last, he hit two magnificant shots into an impossible position just 20 feet from the flag to lose by one to shot Jeev Milkha Singh and finish in a tie for second with Ernie Els. He later commented that golf was a game of inches and that he had had enough luck during the season to capture two majors. He now takes a well earned break until January. Roll on 2009!

Padraig stormed through the field with a stunnng third round of six under par 66 to leave himself just four behind the leaders who still have to complete their third rounds tomorrow morning due to fading light. Out in one under par with two birdies and a bogie six on the par five seventh hole where he was in trouble, he raced home in 31 shots with two opening and closing birdies on the back nine to leave himself well placed going into the final round. It would be a fitting way to finish a magnificant year for the Irishman!

Play resumes on day three with most of the field having to play 36 holes as the organisers attempt to make up time for weather delays over the first two days of the Barclays Singapore Open. Padraig makes some ground on the field with a two under par score of 70 that had equal halves of 35 shots. He will be back out almost immediately to play round three and should get finished before bad light halts play. He needs a low round to get back into contention but feels he is hitting the ball better than ever!

Play Suspended on Day 2!
Play is suspended at the Barclays Singapore Open for the day due to adverse weather conditions. Nearly half of the field still have to complete their second rounds. Padraig managed to play six holes and is currently at level par for the day having swopped one birdie with a bogie. Six under par leads at the moment.

Padraig opens his account at the Barclays Singapore Open with a one over par round of 72. Four under par leads in a rain delayed first round. Three bogies in his outward half had him in a spot of bother but two closing birdies salvaged the day.

Tour Diary

Padraig Harrington plays his last tournament of an "unbelievable" season in Singapore this week and is determined to end it with a bang.

The Irishman has had his best year ever, winning Majors at the British Open and PGA Championships.

Speaking to The Times of India - Sports.

"It is my last tournament of the year and I always want to finish well," said the 37-year-old, who tees up alongside the likes of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Adam Scott and KJ Choi.

"I'm very focused on getting one last win to put the icing on the cake before Christmas. It's very important for me to win here, it is a very strong field and there are good world ranking points at stake."

Harrington has shot up the rankings to be world number five and after a tough few months in which he struggled to come down from the highs of his spectacular back-to-back Major victories, he is ready for one last hurrah.

"I'm enthusiastic about playing which is a good sign," he said.

"There's no doubt that after my two Major championships I wound down a bit, there was a period when I just didn't get enough time to get a break from the game and I suffered a bit because of that.

"But I am very keen to get out there now."

With the curtain coming down on the best year of his career, he admitted it was still hard to believe what had been achieved.

"My season has been all about going out there and competing in the Majors and winning the Majors so I look back at this season as unbelievable," he said.

"In the first six months I played very nicely and maybe didn't get the results my game deserved and then I got the two big results over the summer.

"It was very pleasing because it showed I can remain patient, which will help me in the future.

"Going forward, my goal will remain the same as for the last three years and that is to peak for the four Majors.

"Over the past few Majors I've managed to do that, get in contention and that's the key, to be in contention with nine holes to go."

While the Majors will continue to be his main focus, the lucrative new Race to Dubai is also on his radar, but only after the big tournaments are done and dusted.

"The Race to Dubai comes in after the four Majors. Essentially, my focus for next year will be all about building up for the four Majors, peaking for the four Majors," he said.

"Once the USPGA finishes in August then that is when the Race to Dubai kicks in, that's when I'll start thinking about how I'm going in that race and whether I am in a position to win it. It gives you that added focus to move on."

My final tournament of the year was almost a great success. I went to the Barclays Singapore Open looking forward to my long winter break but in search of one more win for the year. As it turned out it wasn’t to be, I came close in the end but a couple of unlucky breaks cost me. In the early part of the week I found it hard to keep my mind on the tournament, the fact that it was my last event was creeping in. However, by the weekend I was much more into tournament, I knew that I was getting myself in with a shout and I was forgetting, or at least putting my impending break out of my mind.

This was my first time playing here and I have to say that I really enjoyed it; it is a fantastic course and a great event. The course had a major feel to it; the greens were firm which made getting the ball close very tough. I certainly found that as the week wore on it played more like a major tournament. I think the only day that it seemed a little easier was the third round as the greens softened up to give us a chance to make some birdies. This course uses a similar system to Augusta to keep the greens firm and dry, whereby they have an underground sub-air system which sucks the moisture out of the greens. I can tell you that it was put to the test this week as we experienced some of the heaviest rain I have ever seen. However when we went out after the rain delays the greens were no different to before the rain.

As my season is nearly over I have been thinking about the areas that I want to work on during the winter and as a result I have been a bit mixed up when I get on the course. Last week was no different; I played most of the week with a swing thought which is something that I never do. The reason I did it this week was because I wasn't able to go out onto the course and forget what I was practising, I was stuck in the middle and so I felt that the best option was to go with a single swing thought rather than a number of them. I have to admit that I would hate to play golf like this all of the time; in the early rounds I really struggled with it as I found it such a distraction. As the week wore on though I got a little bit more comfortable with it and I also found that I wasn't thinking about it on every shot. As I got myself into contention I found that I was getting more into my normal approach, which is purely to focus on the target and not to be thinking about my swing. Looking back on the week I can definitely see where having this swing thought in my head cost me shots, particularly in the early rounds. The area where I struggled most by having the thought was my wedge play. I found that it really distracted me and as a result I wasn’t trusting my wedges. I did hit them fantastic but I wasn't trusting how far I was going to hit them.

Like the last few tournaments I have played, the Singapore Open was blighted with rain delays. It seemed as if the rain was following us. This time of year in Singapore is the rainy season so at least we were somewhat prepared for it this week. However the course held up fantastically well to all the rain. Bar a couple of spots on the fairways you wouldn’t have known that it rained.

My tournament got off to a slow but steady start, a round of one over on Thursday; I wasn’t too unhappy with my round when I finished as I had played in the toughest of conditions. We had some heavy rain and strong winds for most of our round and were on our 15th hole when it got really bad and we were called in due to a lightening threat. When we eventually got back out nearly three hours later the wind was dying down. Ironically I played my better golf in the poor conditions. I was level par when I was called in and when I came back out I dropped a shot on my last hole, the ninth, to end up shooting one over par.

My second round was a little better; I shot one under par for the round which I didn’t get to finish until Saturday morning due to more thunder and lightening. It was the third round where I made my move. I made six birdies and one bogey to shot five under par and move to five under for the tournament. The scoring in this round was substantially better as they softened the greens a bit which made them more receptive. I made two birdies on the front nine and one bogey, then four birdies on the back nine, the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th. The best thing about my third round was that I managed to finish it on Saturday whereas most of the field didn't finish until Sunday morning. The fact that I didn’t have to get up to finish my third round was a huge advantage.

I started the final round four behind in share of seventh place; I played in the third last group with Jeev Milkha Singh and Charlie Wie. Both Jeev and I got off to a great start by birdying the first two holes. I made another birdie on the fourth to go to eight under par, which I remained on until the 16th hole. Jeev birdied the seventh to get to eight under and then birdied the 11th to take the lead outright, only to come back to me on the 13th after a three putt bogey. With three holes to play we were tied at eight under and a couple clear of the field. On the 16th I was in the left rough, the pin was at the back of the green and over the back was water. I hit a nine iron for my second with the intention of hitting it short of the pin but it flew off the clubface, and pitched pin high and then trickled over the back and into the water and cost me a double bogey. Jeev made a bogey to be one ahead; we both parred the 17th to keep the status quo. On the last Jeev pushed his tee shot into the fairway trap and had to lay it up well back. I had hit my drive down the edge of the water line, and was within reach of the green but I had to stand on the sleepers. I went for the green with my three wood which I hit beautifully just left of the pin. When it was in the air I thought I had stiffed it as there was a big backstop behind the pin which I knew would feed the ball back to the pin. At least it should have; my shot pitched on the green and ran through and up behind the hole but somehow it stopped on top and didn’t come back to the hole. If it had come back I would have had a five footer for eagle as opposed to the five footer I had for birdie. In the end I had to hole my putt for a play-off but I wasn’t able too. I finished with a par for six under and one shot short of Jeev. I was particularly disappointed as I had hit some very good shots coming in and didn’t get rewarded for them. I just didn’t get the breaks when I needed them; at least not in this tournament.

It was still a good finish to the year but a disappointing one; however as I travelled home I thought about it and I realised that I got the breaks during the year when I needed them so I couldn’t be too disappointed about not getting them this week.

I am home now and off tournament play for eight weeks; I will be practising and working out during my break but no competitive play. I have been looking forward to finishing for quite a while now so to be finally finished is a good feeling. I can finally get a chance to sit back, reflect on the year and try and take it all in.

Talk to you all soon and thanks for all your support throughout the year!

Padraig

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