It has definitely been a disappointing start to my season; missing the cut in Pebble was very annoying but another missed cut this week in L.A. shows that I have been concentrating on the wrong things for the last few weeks. The funny thing is that I was actually a lot better here in Riviera but just not good enough. During the first few weeks I have spent too much time working on things and not enough time getting myself tournament ready. I realized this at Pebble Beach and tried to get myself to do the right things here this week but it was a struggle; I wasn’t able to really get ready properly for the week. I definitely made a lot of improvement from last week but I know that there is a lot more to do before the WGC Accenture Match Play starts on Wednesday.
Coming here this week I was hopeful for a decent performance as I had done well here the last two years but I always knew that it would be a struggle as I had done so much wrong in the past two weeks. The fact that I liked the course so much did at least give me hope but that was all as it turned out. I ended up shooting two over par for the two rounds; one over in each. The funny thing is that I felt I played better and managed to do more things right in theses two rounds than I did in the previous two weeks. Over the two rounds I putted particularly badly; when I gave myself chances to make birdies I wasn’t able to incorporate them as I lost a little bit of confidence over some putts. I had been working on my putting during the week as I hadn’t putted well in Pebble; I figured out something with it but I wasn’t able to get it into my putting straight away. I have always struggled with uphill right to left putts and it was the same this week. However I feel that I am decelerating on these putts and so causing me to miss them. I spent the week working on accelerating though them a bit more; it definitely seemed to help but I wasn’t able to bring it onto the course. Hopefully I can get it into my game for next week.
There is not a lot to say about this week; I missed the cut and I am disappointed but I know what I have been doing wrong. I know that I have to forget about technical practice and get back to preparing for tournaments properly. That means more work on my mental side and getting my routines flowing; the one thing that I have to make sure I don’t do is get caught up in the fact that I have missed two cuts in a row and feel that I have to practice harder. This is something that a lot of players get caught up in when things aren’t going their way.
I am disappointed to have missed the cut but I am not worrying about it. I have one more event left before I am home for a few weeks so I am committed to getting myself in good shape for the start of the Match Play. Having missed the cut I decided to travel to Tucson on Saturday so as to get an extra practice round in on the course. I didn’t get to see any of the final round as I was playing but looking at how it finished it must have been an exciting event. I am committed to putting the last three weeks behind me and getting myself back into swing of things starting at the Accenture.
Padraig's Tour Diary
My first two events here in the US have not gone as I would have liked, an average performance in Torrey Pines and then a missed cut at the AT&T. Coming over here I would have been looking to perform well at those events and coming here to Riviera for the Northern Trust Championship full of confidence. However this is not the case, I am still very unsure of my game and short of confidence as a result, but this is a tournament that I have performed well in over the past two season. Also it is a course that I particularly like and one where I really enjoy the challenge, so for this reason it is a good place to come to after the previous two tournaments as I will take some confidence from the last two years.
Even though I am short of confidence after the last couple of weeks, I actually didn’t play too bad last week. My long game was far better than the previous week but my short game was quite poor. With this in mind I have spent a lot of time working on my putting and chipping. I arrived in L.A. on Monday night as I had a corporate outing on Monday morning; then spent Tuesday working mainly on my putting. I put in quite a few hours on the putting green trying to get more comfortable over my putts; in the end I figured out that I was moving a little at impact which meant that I was collapsing, causing me to start a few putts off line. This is something that I have come across before so it is not a hard thing to work on for me.
As I have played here for the last two years I didn’t feel the need to play any holes on Tuesday. I know the course well so I felt that I was better off working on my short game and hitting a few shots on the range. I also got my irons bumped up a couple of degrees more upright as I hit a lot of my shots out of the toe last week. When I looked at my divots I also noticed that they were a little deeper in the toe area. I am pretty sure that this is down to the fact that my swing changes are coming to fruition and so my equipment will have to move with it. Wednesday I played the pro-am as usual and for the first eleven holes I was really struggling; I had so many things going through my head I couldn’t get comfortable over any shot. On my twelfth tee I decided to go back to what I normally do; focus on my target and forget about any swing thoughts. When I did this I hit the ball far better. Generally at this time of the year I go through this sort of thing and after a few weeks I generally come to the same conclusion, “focus on my target.”
Rivera Country Club is without doubt one of the best golf courses of the year; I would put this course in my top five courses in the US. I look forward to coming here every year; this is the sort of course that I love playing. The holes are tree lined and the rough is not the defence; the defence here are the greens which is always a test that I like. While the rough is not too heavy it is important that you are coming off the fairway as you need to have full control of your golf ball. There are a number of great holes on this course but my personal favourite is the tenth hole. It is a short par four that is comfortably drivable, infact it can be a three wood sometimes. However it is not a certain birdie or even par; the green is a narrow and long, one that if you hit it in the wrong spot you have no chance of keeping the ball on the green. Everyone is trying to hit it long left where the chip shot is much easier, but not simple. I would put this hole down as one of the best holes we play all year; any course I design will have a similar type hole on it.
With the form I am bring in it is hard to have any expectations; even though I am always struggling with my game at this time of year this year is a little worse than usual. I would love to be here when I am well into my season; it just comes a little too early in my season for me. I am happy that I figured out a couple of things in the last six holes of the pro-am but it still doesn’t give me much confidence. I am really unsure as to what to expect and I feel a little bit like I am going to a lucky dip! I am starting with quite a bit of trepidation but as ever I will be trying my hardest and hopefully I can get myself into the shake up come Sunday evening.