WGC - CA Championship - Review
This was my best ever finish here at Doral, normally I have struggled around the course but this year I got myself into contention. I was in the second last group on Sunday with a chance to win the tournament, it didn't pan out for me this time but it was still good to be there and back in the mix again. I know that the more times I get into contention then the better my chances are of winning. I finished in a share of third place with two others; I picked up some nice world ranking points for it.
Last week at the Honda Classic I felt that I played well but I putted horrendously, I knew that if I had putted well last week I could have got myself on the fringe of contention. So coming here this week I felt good about my game, it was just my putting that I needed to sort out. I spent a lot of time working on it and by the time I got to Thursday I was feeling good about my putting. The first couple of days the wind blew very strong, probably as strong as I have seen it here. I played ok on Thursday, nothing special but managed to shoot two under par which was a good score in the conditions. The highlight of the round was a birdie on the last hole; it was playing at it toughest as the wind was howling into us. I hit a good drive down the edge of the water and a five iron to 18 feet and holed for birdie. It was a great way to finish the round; I was feeling good about myself. Friday a played a little better and I managed to scramble well when I missed greens; again it was windy and we also had the threat of a thunder storm. I shot four under and when I came off the course I thought I had actually shot a shot or two worse. It was kind of how I felt at the end of last year; I wasn't focused on anything else other than getting the ball in the hole.
I played my best golf of the week on Saturday; I hit the ball very well all day. It was an effortless round of golf right up until my last hole. I was six under par playing the last and was hitting a wedge into the last; I miss hit my wedge a little and left 40 feet from the hole and then three putted from there. It was a disappointing way to finish my round as I had played so well. It left me on 11 under par, one shot behind Ernie and Charl Schwartzel; the missed putt also meant that I missed out on being in the last group.
My final round was a bit of a struggle, I never really got comfortable right from the start. I didn't birdie either of the par fives on the front nine which were playing pretty straight forward. This put me under pressure as I knew that the group behind me were making birdies, I could hear the cheering so I had to chase quite hard. The best I got to at any stage was 13 under but I was able to keep it there. I made three bogeys in a row from the 13th; this knocked me right down the leaderboard and out of contention. I made a good birdie on the 16th and then holed about a six footer on the last for a par to stay in a share of third place.
It was a good week overall, I had a chance going out on Sunday to win. Even though I didn't win I am not too disappointed as I felt that I managed to do as well as I could have considering how I played on Sunday. I putted a lot better all week, I still missed a lot of chances but all in all I am happy with how the week went. Having done my stats for the week I can see there are a few areas that still need some work but in general my game is coming on nicely. As I get more rounds under my belt I am feeling more comfortable and getting back into thinking about scoring and getting the ball in the hole as opposed to any technical thoughts.
WGC - CA Championship - Preview - Padraig tees off at 12.49pm local time with Geoff Ogilvy and Ian Poulter.
The second week of the Florida swing has us at Doral for the WGC CA Championship. It has been held here in Doral, near Miami, on the Blue Monster for a number of years now. The course itself has been holding Tour events for over twenty years and is one of the most famous venues on the PGA Tour. As a kid I can remember watching Greg Norman winning around here and thinking what a tough course it was. This is a great event for a number of reasons; it gets a great field on a great course, it’s a World Golf Championship event and also because Miami is a fun place. The crowd is always great and we are close to South Beach which is very entertaining for an evening; it is a great place to sit out and watch the world go by. You are likely to see anything going by - one of the guys was telling me that that they were sitting there on Monday evening and there was a fella walking down the street with a monkey on his shoulder!
I stayed in West Palm on Monday to film a TV ad for my sponsor, FTI. It took most of the day to complete; as always the behind the scenes work for a short ad is so much more than you would think. I quite enjoyed it and it was a relaxing and interesting day. It was a good time to film as I have played Doral a number of times now and so I didn’t need to play the course on Monday.
As I have played this course nearly every year since 2006, I only played eighteen holes in practice; nine on Tuesday and nine on Wednesday. There have been a couple of new tees added since last year but nothing too significant with regards to changes. I played the course so as to get a feel for how it is running and the effect of the wind. It is definitely playing faster than last year, which will make it more interesting as the new grooves mean that there will be a lot more fliers from the rough. Most of my time practicing has been spent working on my routines - I felt that last week they could have been better and that it cost me a few shots. I know that if my routines are good then I don’t get distracted that easily and I’m much more into my shots. I’ve spent all my range time and practice putting this week working on these. I’ve hit a lot of putts trying to get more comfortable after last week - to help this I have hit a lot of putts while looking at the hole rather than the ball; this has definitely helped a lot. It has taken my focus away from the ball and where I am lined up to and got me thinking about my target more.
Historically I haven’t performed amazingly at Doral. I have had a couple of top twenties but that’s about it. However I have generally come here when I am still working on my technique so it is hard to judge my previous performances. This year I am much more comfortable with my game and not worrying about technical issues. I am looking forward to the tournament starting as I am happy with the work I have done this week, especially my putting after all the work I have done while looking at the hole rather than the ball.
Another great thing about these tournaments is that the tee times are nice and late. In the first round I am playing with Ian Poulter and Geoff Ogilvy at 12.49. As always I will be trying to get myself into contention for Sunday afternoon and take my chances from there. It would be nice to get into contention as you never really know how you are getting on until you are under pressure.