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.

AT-T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Entry Date:
Feb 11, 2010

Padraig's Tour Diary - AT-T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Review

Coming to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the one worry you have is the weather but thankfully this year the weather was great. It stayed dried for the week and as we got to the end of the week it actually got quite warm. However whilst the weather was great my golf wasn’t quite up to the same standard but it did improve a lot from L.A. I played a lot better than last week but I still wasn’t quite comfortable with my game; I felt like there was very little power in my swing. It was a similar feeling to what I had at the US Open last year; I remembered that I had worked on setting the angle in my swing earlier after the US Open and it helped a lot in terms of power. I spent some time working on this during the week and when I got it right I felt like I had a lot more power.

Even though I wasn’t quite happy with how I played I did perform a lot better than the previous week. My short game was much better and in patches my mental side was quite decent. I finished on 9 under par for a share for 16th which in the end was very disappointing as I was 10 under playing the last hole and I three putted to drop a shot and finish outside of the top ten. Looking back on the week my tournament could so easily have been different as my first round of three under was close to being one under. I played fine in the first round but still hit a number of shots that I wasn’t happy with and was two under playing my last hole having dropped three shots. The three dropped shots were all around or on the greens. I hit my second shot over the back of my last hole and left myself a messy lie and an awkward chip shot. I had already made a mess of two chip shots earlier in the round so it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for at that stage. I hit a nice chip shot that looked like it was going to be stone dead but thankfully it ran out and fell in for a birdie. Chipping in on my last hole made such a difference to how I felt about my round; I walked away feeling good and feeling like I could make a challenge in the tournament, whereas if I got it up and down or even dropped a shot I wouldn’t have felt so good about my round and I would have felt like I was struggling in the tournament.

I played nicely the second day in Pebble and shot five under which really got me into the tournament. I was eight under and lying two shots off the pace. My third round was on the new course Monterey Peninsula Country Club and unfortunately it didn’t go as well as I would have liked. I started on the tenth which meant that two of the three par fives were in my first three holes. I really wasn’t feeling comfortable over the ball and I only managed to par my first three holes, then on my fourth hole I missed a three footer for birdie. This kind of set the tone for my day and everything after that was a struggle. In the end I made three birdies and two bogeys to shoot one under par. It was actually a decent score considering how I played but it left me too far back to challenge for the tournament. I was nine under and the leaders were at 18 under.

In the end I was disappointed with my finish in the final round because of the fact that I three putted the last hole to drop out of the top ten. I had played nicely the final day but the course was playing much tougher than the other days so one under would have been a decent score. If I had parred the last I would have come away from the week feeling good about it as I didn’t feel comfortable and yet I managed to put in a decent performance. My short game was pretty good, I chipped in twice during the week and got it up and down 6 times out of eight from bunkers. Even tough I missed a good few chances on the greens during the week I still managed to hole out well for pars.

Coming away from the week I am disappointed to have three putted the last green but I am happy with my short game. I am fully aware that my short game and my mental approach are key to how I perform on any given week. If I can get these areas in decent shape then I am in good shape. Unfortunately JP and I missed the cut in the team tournament; we did fine but our third round killed us. I struggled and didn’t really do enough for the team and as a result we ended up a few shots outside of the cut. As always though we had a great week and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It would have been nice to make the cut but there is always next year.

All in all it was a decent week. I definitely felt a lot better over the ball by the end of the week and my short game was in good shape. I am happy that I don’t have much to work on next week at the Accenture Match Play other than my focus and mental approach.

Padraig's Tour Diary - AT-T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Preview

After missing the cut last week I came up to Pebble Beach on Sunday and did some practice before watching the New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl. Between myself and a friend from Titleist Performance Institute we figured out that I wasn’t quite getting onto my right side and that this was causing me to hit some of my shots to the right. When I hit shots working on this it felt much better and as if I had a lot more power.

The most disappointing thing about missing the cut last week was the fact that I didn’t get the chance to play two more rounds of tournament golf.

This week I am playing in the AT&T National pro-am, which I think is my fourth year playing in the tournament now. I am playing with J.P. McManus again - he’s great to play with and possibly more competitive than I am. I look forward to playing here every year, but every time I get here I wish I was more prepared in terms of being "match fit". The format of the tournament is one that I really enjoy and the courses are ones that I really like; I just wish that it came a month or so later in the calendar.

This year we have a new course added to the rotation, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, which has replaced Poppy Hills. Poppy Hills is an enjoyable course to play but it is definitely a little bit funky; it has five par fives and as a result it tended to throw up some very good scoring. On top of this it tended to be very wet which made for a messy time. So this year it has been replaced by MPCC; there are two courses at MPCC and we are playing the Shore Course.

I have played each of the courses in practice this week; normally I wouldn’t play three rounds in practice but because it is so early in the season I find that being on the course is the best practice for me. It gets me away from the range and working on my swing. The courses are quite wet as they have had a lot of rain over the past three weeks. Thankfully there hasn’t been too much rain so far this week and the forecast for the rest of the week is reasonably good, although I expect that we will be placing for the week.

This tournament is always a great week as there is so much going on; I think the hardest thing about this event for a lot of the pros is the fact that we are not really the main attraction, although that is nice for a week. There are so many celebrities that play in this tournament that they tend to get the majority of the air time. We all get to do a bit of star gazing this week.

The courses that we play this week are great courses and ones that I really enjoy. I always feel coming here that the courses suit me but I never really feel fully prepared as it comes so early in the season for me. If the tournament was held a few weeks later I would feel a lot more confident about my chances but being so early I am always unsure what to expect. There is no doubt that playing with J.P. helps me a lot as it takes my mind off my own game. I tend to focus a lot on the team event and as a result my own game looks after itself. After missing the cut last week I am really looking forward to getting started this week, as the more competitive rounds that I play the quicker I get rid of the rustiness in my game.

I have spent a bit of time trying to sort out the bad shots I was hitting last week; they were weak and leaking right. I still don’t feel that I have sorted it out fully but I have made some progress. Even though I wasn’t happy with how I hit it last week I know that if my short game and head were in better shape then I would have comfortably made the cut. The most important thing for me to perform well is that I get my routines and mental approach right, then it really doesn’t matter too much how I hit it.

As far as this week goes I am not quite sure what to expect but as always I am looking to get myself into contention on Sunday and that way I will really find out how my winter work went and also how my mental side is coming on. I’m looking forward to the week and will be trying hard for the team and myself.

Talk Soon,

Padraig.

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