Padraig's Tour Diary - Tour Championship - Review
My PGA Tour season has come to an end; it didn’t finish quite as I would have liked as I didn’t win an event and I dropped a place in the final Fed Ex cup placings. I came here to the Tour Championship needing to win it to have any chance of claiming the Fed Ex cup; in the end I finished in a tie for fourth, five shots behind Phil. I gave myself a chance by opening up with a good round on Thursday but I just wasn’t able to get enough going in the other rounds to push on. I wouldn’t have needed much to happen for me to have been more in the mix on Sunday afternoon but in the end it wasn’t my week. I finished off with another top ten, my sixth in a row which is at least some consolation considering the first six months of my season.
I finished on four under for the week after shooting rounds of 67, 69, 71 and 69 - it was solid scoring but it lacked the necessary fire works to win the tournament. After finishing I was looking at the scores I shot and thinking to myself that they were good scores particularly as this is a tough course. The thing that stood out for me was the fact that I never really felt comfortable, I really didn’t feel like I played well - It felt like hard work all week! I was talking to some journalist after my round and one of them asked me if I felt that I had lost it on the par fives as I only played them in level par. I had to explain to him that I didn’t think about it like that but if I was asked to say where I lost it, it was actually down to the fact that I didn’t chip well, didn’t hit my bunker shots well and I felt that I didn’t putt well and top of this I wasn’t comfortable with my long game, he was amazed! It is hard to explain to people what it is like when you are not feeling comfortable with your game as it just feels like hard work. Every round is a big effort and you feel mentally drained afterwards; even though from the outside my game looked fine it was a struggle for me. I found a way of getting it on the fairway and getting it in the hole but to me it wasn’t pretty. That said I am still walking away from the week disappointed as I bogeyed my last hole; it always leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when you bogey your last hole.
There is no doubt that I would love to be writing this and telling you about my great win in East Lake and how I won the Fed Ex cup but not this year. The thing that sticks out for me is that as bad as I felt playing here this week I still managed to get myself into contention whereas in the first six months of my season I had lots of days like this and I wasn’t able to get around the course in any sort of reasonable score. It is amazing what a clear mind will do for you.
I could definitely have finished better this week but then I also know that I could have finished worse. I never really holed anything of note, and to win tournaments you have to hole putts. Its not that I was missing putts I just wasn’t holing enough of the 15 to 25 footers which on this course were key as the greens were so firm it was hard to get the ball much closer. As much as it didn’t feel comfortable and there were areas of my game that I thought were poor it was ultimately the fact that I didn’t hole enough putts that cost me. Even down to my last hole, if I had holed my putt for par I would probably have finished fifth in the Fed Ex cup rather than seventh. Although my finishing position in the Fed Ex is not solely down to this week, I had my chances in the previous three playoff events to get myself further up the rankings and I couldn’t do it. That said, to finish where I did in the rankings after my first half of the year is pretty decent.
I am obviously disappointed to have bogeyed my last hole but overall I am happy to have finished fourth here this week considering how I was feeling. I have a few things to work on before next Thursday but I will also take away a lot of positives from the week. As I was leaving on Sunday a lot of the players were talking about how they are winding down for the season now and looking forward to a break. Gladly not for me as I have six more events left to look forward too before my season is over.
Padraig's Tour Diary - Tour Championship - Preview
After a short but enjoyable trip home I am back in the US for the final leg of the Fedex Cup playoff events. It is Tour Championship week which means that we are in Atlanta, the home of Coca Cola who sponsor the event. I missed out on the Tour Championship last year because I played poorly in the playoffs; this year I had a relatively poor year but played well in the last five events and now have a reasonable chance of winning the Fed Ex Cup.
I travelled on Monday as I have played here a number of times and know the course quite well. We ended up flying in to Atlanta in the middle of the worst storms for a long time; they have had nearly 25 inches of rain in the past week. It was so bad when we were arriving that we were sent to Nashville and then back to Atlanta once the weather had past. It was a long day traveling as a result of the delay; I was happy to get to my hotel and get some sleep. The weather was so bad that the course was closed on Monday so it worked out great the fact I traveled on Monday as I wouldn’t have been able to practice anyway.
The course was closed until noon on Tuesday so that the greens staff could repair the damage that the rain had done. I did some work with Bob Rotella in the morning before the course opened and then I played 13 holes with Brian Gay. I was amazed when I got out on the course to see how dry it was; the fairways were a little wet but nothing too bad and the greens were bone dry. A couple of years ago they put in a sub-air system under the greens, similar to Augusta, which means that they can dry the greens by sucking the moisture out of them. Playing the course after all this rain and to see how firm the greens are it is a great advertisement for the sub-air system. The course is playing long as the ball is not running on the fairways but other than that it is in very good shape. There is no pro-am at this event as the sponsors prefer us to do a clinic, or breakfast meeting or else a dinner. I always enjoy the pro-am and would prefer to play in one but I have done well in a lot of tournaments that don’t have them as well. I took it easy in the morning and then did some more work with Bob before playing the back nine with Luke Donald. The back nine has had some length added to it since I played here two years ago. It played tougher than I remember, especially as the greens are firm.
My last three events have got me into sixth place in the Fed Ex Cup standings; not quite in the magical top five but as close as can be. If I was in the top five it would mean that my destiny would be in my own hands, a win here would mean that I would win the Fed Ex Cup also. As it stands now I have to win the Tour Championship and Tiger has to finish worse than second. I can only look after myself so I have to make sure that I am not getting caught up thinking about where everyone else is and what they are doing. To have a chance of winning the Fed Ex Cup I know that I have to win the tournament first and then see what happens. I also know that my best chance of winning this week is by staying patient and getting myself into contention with nine holes to play on Sunday. During my few days at home last week I saw Bob Torrance and did some work with him and since I have been here I have worked with Bob Rotella. I am happy with the work I have done with them both and know that to perform my best I need to do stick to what Bob Rotella and I have worked on this week and every other week we work together.
It is nice to be in a position to have a chance of winning the Fed Ex Cup coming here. There is a lot of hype about the Fed Ex Cup and it is all the media want to talk about; it is important to make sure not to get caught up in the hype. I have had a good run in the playoffs so far but that doesn’t mean anything now.
I have played here in East Lake a number of times; I like the course and have shot some good scores on it. Since I played here last in 2007 they have toughened the course up by adding some length and adding the sub-air system to help make the greens firmer. It is definitely a tougher course now and with the soft fairways it is a big advantage to be a long hitter. I like the fact that it plays tougher, it means that the scoring won’t be low and there will be a premium on the short game.
I play with Heath Slocum at 1.45 in the first round and they will then redraw for the later rounds.