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.

Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard

Entry Date:
Mar 25, 2009

Padraig's Tour Diary

When I played here last time back in 2000 I thought that this was a really tough golf course and having played here this year I am still of this opinion. However when I played it back in 2000 the scoring was very good whereas this year it was more like a US Open. I definitely prefer it the way it was this year because before I couldn’t see how people were shooting in the high teens under par. This year I finished in a tie for eleventh which was a dramatic improvement from missing the cut nine years ago.

In my last event at Doral I felt that I was on the right track in terms of getting back into playing golf and not worrying about technical swing thoughts. This week I was better again. It is not quite fully there yet but I felt that I got better with each round. The work I have done with Bob Rotella over the last few weeks is definitely paying off. Last week I felt much better over my shots, and more like I did last year when I was fully into my season. I came here looking to get myself into contention so as to really test how I was feeling over the ball; while I never quite got fully into the tournament I did manage to get to the periphery of it.

The first two rounds went reasonably well. I shot a level par in the first round which was a reasonable score. I made three birdies and three bogeys; it could have been better but for a couple of silly mistakes, which came from getting distracted by things; when I get distracted it means that I am not fully into my target. In my second round I shot two under par and was very disappointed; I made three birdies and one bogey. I played well and missed a number of chances to be three under playing my last hole, the ninth. I hit a good drive and left myself a six iron but I pushed my approach to the right half of the green, from where I three putted to end up shooting two under. It was a very disappointing way to finish off a good round but more disappointing was the fact that I had missed three good chances for birdies in my last five holes.

The third round was the toughest round of the week; the wind was blowing all day. It made the course play extremely difficult. I started the day at two under and finished the day on one over which only dropped me one place. I made four bogeys and one birdie for the day for a round of three over par. It was a tough day and my score wasn’t that bad but again I made a couple of mistakes that really I shouldn’t have. My final round wasn’t my best really. I felt that I struggled and as such my round of level par was probably the best I could have done. I made three birdies and three bogeys; the disappointing thing about the round was that I dropped shots on the 16th and the 18th, which dropped me from a share of fourth to a share of eleventh.

I was happy with the progress that I made during the week in that my focus was getting better each round. I still made a number of silly mistakes over the four rounds but not as many as in my previous tournaments. Playing with Tiger for the first two rounds brought its own distractions as the crowds tend to move around a lot but it definitely helped get me more focused. Overall I was pleased with the week but a little disappointed to have finished where I did. When I look back over my stats for the week I see that I missed eight putts from inside eight feet and had a poor week with my wedges. Even though I putted well this is quite a lot of putts to miss. During a week that I win or contend in I will miss no more than two putts from inside eight feet. I just didn’t hit my wedges close enough for the week to be getting into contention. Another issue for me was my driving. While my stats looked fine for the week in relation to fairways hit I struggled in the final round. I never really felt comfortable on the tee; this is something that I will have to work on next week so as to make sure that I am happy with it come the Masters.

All in all I felt that I made good progress last week. I would have liked to have been into contention but even though I didn’t I managed to get the feeling of being there. I head to Houston for the Shell Houston Open and my final event before the Masters. I am going there trying to give myself a chance of winning so as to get the feeling of having to hit shots under pressure to see how good my focus is.

Talk to you all soon, Padraig!