Padraig's Tour Diary - The Barclays - Review
I am pleased to say that I had another good week and it keeps my run going of top tens going. After the start to the season I had it really is great to be back contending for tournaments again and last week I came up a shot short in the end. When I look back it wouldn’t be hard to make up a shot but I also know that everyone is in the same boat as regards this. The good thing for me about my last three tournaments is the fact that I have gotten myself into contention in each of them. I hope that as long as I keep giving myself chances that I will win one; the key is to keep getting myself into contention.
The Barclays has been good to me over the years as I have won it and performed well in other years. This year it was a new course and once I played it I felt that it was a course that I could do well on; I knew that it would be vital to be able to chip and putt well and also to accept that a good shot may not be rewarded as you would expect it to be. In the end the course didn’t play quite as tough as I thought it would because we got a lot of rain during the week which softened the course considerably. The rain meant that it was possible to fire the ball at the pins rather than having to play the slopes on the greens.
I ended up shooting eight under par for the week; after playing the course on Monday I would have snapped your hand off for eight under. Unfortunately it was one shot too many but only just; Heath Slocum ended up holing a 20 footer to win by one shot from four of us. I was on the range with Ernie warming up in case it was a play-off; both of us were equally disappointed when we heard the crowd cheering after Heath holed his great putt. I was looking forward to the prospect of a five man play-off between Tiger, Ernie, Heath, Steve Stricker and myself, which would have been great fun!
I was very happy with the way I played on Sunday; I gave myself plenty of chances but just kept missing them until the last seven holes. I made four birdies over the last seven holes to give myself a chance of a play-off; unfortunately I couldn’t hole enough putts in the first eleven holes. Over the rest of the week I felt that I only played reasonably; the first day I played solid enough to shot four under par and the third day I played poorly for the front nine and then very nicely on the back nine and ended up shooting four under as well. It was the second day that made things difficult for me; I played in the morning on Friday and it lashed rain. From the time we stood on the first tee till when we finished, it rained. On top of this I played poorly enough; the only thing that I did do reasonable well was chip and putt. I ended up shooting four over par which wasn’t actually that bad as the conditions were terrible. The only problem was that the afternoon starters got great weather, the rain and wind cleared up and stayed away for the rest of the day. As it turned out I think I was the only person from my side of the draw to finish in the top ten.
When I did my stats after the week to see what I did well and why I had a good week, I could see that my short game was good. I got nearly 75% of my chip shots up and down and about the same for bunker shots, all of which makes such a difference. Not only does it mean that you are saving shots every time you miss a green it also gives you more confidence to take on a pin as you have confidence in your short game. The rest of my game was solid enough, I had some patches where I struggled but overall I felt comfortable on the course. During the Friday morning and the first nine holes on Saturday I felt that I didn’t play very well but I managed to keep the mistakes to a minimum.
Overall I was very happy with my performance; I would love to have had the chance of winning a play-off but there is nothing I can do about that. I birdied my last hole to at least give myself the hope of one; I know that I performed well enough to win the tournament but I just didn’t hole enough putts. I came close but in the end I was one short. Heath Slocum played well and holed the putt that mattered and well done to him. The good news for me is that I moved up to 14th in the Fed Ex Cup race with three more events to go. If I can keep moving up the ranking over the next two weeks to give myself a chance of winning the Fed Ex at the Tour Championship then that’s all I can ask for.
It’s onto Boston this coming week for the Deutsche Bank Championship and the second leg of the Playoffs. Hopefully I can go one better than last week.