Transitions Championship - Review
It was an interesting week for me, I played in the Transitions Championship for the first time and I also went to the White house for the first time. I pulled out of the pro-am on Wednesday to attend a function hosted by President Barrack Obama for St. Patrick’s Day; it was a very enjoyable day. It was a big affair with over a hundred people in attendance; there were speeches from The President and the then our Taoiseach. It was great getting to look around the White House, especially after finding out that it was an Irish man that designed it - I got great pleasure in telling the pro’s during the week that it was an Irish man that designed it. It definitely took quite a bit out of me going up and down in one day but it was worth it.
As for the other first, playing in the Transitions Championship was a great decision. The course is one of the best of the year and I really enjoyed playing; it tested every part of your game. My performance for the week was a tale of two halves. The first two rounds I played nicely, in fact on the Friday I played quite well. Thursday was only my second round on the course so to shoot three under par after traveling up and down to Washington was a good result. Friday I played in the morning when the greens were a little more receptive, I played well all day and shot five under par for a two round total of eight under and a one shot lead after 36 holes.
The weekend couldn’t really have been any different; I played terrible over the weekend. I struggled off the tee and spent my weekend hitting it from the trees; I just felt that I was going to hit it anywhere and a lot of the time I did. I ended up shooting two 72’s which considering how I played was a great return. It dropped me to a tie for eighth spot which was disappointing considering I was leading after two rounds but it was also a good achievement considering how I played and where I was hitting it. It is always tough when you drop shots over the weekend but I didn’t feel too bad as I struggled so much.
Even though I didn’t give winning the tournament a good run over the weekend I am still able to take a lot of positives from the week. I played well Thursday and Friday and over the weekend when I was struggling I stuck to my guns and kept going through my routines and not trying to fix anything on the course. As bad as I played on both Saturday and Sunday I still managed to create plenty of birdie chances which is a good sign. I putted well for the week, I may not have holed a lot of putts but I hit a lot of very good putts that threatened the hole. On top of this my chipping and bunker play was good again; which is the reason why I managed to finish where I did.
All in all it was a good week considering how I played and when added to the previous two weeks it was a good three weeks. I got myself into contention in two of the three weeks and the week that I didn’t was down to a terrible putting week. I am happy with how I am progressing; I head home for a week off and a little bit if practice. Nothing too major, just maintenance really.
Transitions Championship - Preview
It was good to be back in contention again last week - you can’t beat the feeling of playing in the last couple of groups on a Sunday with a chance to win. Unfortunately I never really gave the tournament a run on Sunday but it was still good to be there. This week I am playing in the Transitions Championship in Tampa - ist my first time here but so far I like what I have seen. I arrived here on Monday afternoon having driven up from Miami through Gator Alley! The road goes right through the Everglades and all you can see on both sides is water, scrub and a lot of alligators….
My build up for this week is slightly different to my normal tournament preparation as I visit the White House on Wednesday. I did not play in the pro-am so that I could travel up and down from Washington DC for the day. Normally I would play the Wednesday pro-am as it is a big part of my preparations but in this case I was more than happy not to.
I was tired on Monday so I didn’t do a whole lot, mainly a bit of work on my putting. I played the course on Tuesday for the first time and my only practice round; I have to say it is a course that I really like the look of. It is not like any other course I have played in Florida and actually reminds me of an old course at home. The holes are tree lined and there are a lot of shots up and down hills. I had heard good things about the course before I came here and I it has lived up to them. I spent a lot of time looking at the greens on Tuesday so as to get a good feel for them, especially as it would be my only round before Thursday - they aren’t the biggest of greens and there is quite a lot of slope in them. It is definitely a course where par is a decent score.
The Copperhead course measures 7,340 yards and plays as a par 71, however it is not length that is the course’s defense. There are a number of holes on the course that do not require driver from the tee - it is more important to be coming from the fairway than trying to get the ball down as far as you can. The thing that makes this course tough (last year it ranked the ninth toughest course on tour) is the approach shots to the greens and the greens themselves. Here you are trying to hit your approach shots to certain areas of the greens, which can get firm by the look of them and meaning that you will have to do quite a bit of chipping. It is definitely the type of course that I like playing tournaments on; you have to be patient and not try and overpower the course.
There is no doubt that not playing the pro-am is a disadvantage to me in terms of performing in the tournament but it is not something that I am worrying about. I played the course on Tuesday and got a good feel for it; the important thing for me is to stay patient and ease my way into it. I am happy with how I played last week, as I was with the week previous. I have spent a good bit of time working on my putting again and it is certainly helping me get a lot more comfortable.
As far as the tournament goes I am looking forward to playing this course as I feel it is a course that challenges us as players. I am also looking forward to my trip to the White House, which is something that you don’t get an opportunity to do to often. Even though I am away from the course on Wednesday I am still very much focused on the tournament and will be looking to get myself into contention again come Sunday. I enjoyed being in the mix last week and I want to get back there and try and give myself another chance to win.
Thankfully I am playing late on Thursday as I won’t be back from Washington until after midnight; my tee time is 1.12 pm with Kenny Perry and Stewart Cink.