USPGA Championship Review
It was not the performance that I was hoping for last week. I came into the week very happy with my game - in the final round of the Bridgestone I played great and during practice at Whistling Straits I hit the ball very well. I felt that I prepared very well for the week; by the time I got to Wednesday evening there was nothing I would have changed.
I was to start early on Thursday but when I got to the course there was a heavy fog which caused us to be delayed for a few hours. It wasn’t too bad for me as I managed to find a place in the locker room and sleep for most of the delay. When we eventually got out on the course I never really got going. I struggled with my focus all day and never got comfortable over my shots - it seemed that everytime I stood over the ball I was still making up my mind as to what sort of shot I was going to play. My preparation before the shot wasn’t good enough, causing me to get distracted. No matter how much I tried during the round I couldn’t get myself into it properly. I ended up shooting three over par on a day that was perfect for scoring. Looking at my round the big turning point came on my seventh and eighth holes. I was level par through six holes after getting off to a slow start - I made made a bogey and birdie in my first six holes and some good saves. My seventh hole was the sixteenth, and I missed a five footer for birdie and then followed it up with a pulled tee shot on the par three seventeenth which caused me to take a double bogey. Even though I didn’t let these holes get to me while I was on the course they were definitely pivotal holes in my round.
Because of the delay during the first day it meant that my second round was to start two and half hours late but there was another fog delay on Friday morning, which meant that I wasn’t going to finish my second round on Friday. I eventually got out at 5.15pm and managed to play six and bit holes, which I played really well. I was much more into my routines and preparation before the shot and as a result when I stood over the ball I was only thinking about hitting it at my target. It felt so much better; Friday afternoon was tough day for golf as it was blowing quite strong but for those holes I played I made four birdies, a bogey and a par; my last hole was the seventh which I hit an eight iron to thirty feet and then marked so that I could putt on Saturday morning. I was feeling good about things, as I was back to level par for the tournament and thinking about moving up the leaderboard.
Coming out on Saturday morning I was still feeling good about everything - I felt that I could get myself into the tournament with a few more birdies. The weather was good and the greens were perfect, but unfortunately I wasn’t really able to take advantage of the conditions. I bogeyed the eighth and then made my only birdie of the remaining holes on the par-5 sixteenth, after missing from twelve feet for eagle. In the end I was standing on the eighteenth tee level par for the tournament; a bogey would have made the cut for me. I hit a good drive and left myself 219 yards from the pin, which was perfect for my four hybrid. As I was getting ready to hit I got distracted by a couple of photographers behind the green; I stepped off the shot and went through it again but not really properly. I caught it very heavy and hit it in the water short of the green, ending up taking a double bogey to miss the cut by one shot. I was devastated to miss the cut as I had done all the hard work to get myself back into the tournament.
As much as my second shot on the last cost me making the cut I know that I didn’t take advantage of the course on Saturday morning. I had a number of holes where I had wedges in my hand and I just didn’t hit good enough shots to give myself enough opportunities for birdies. Missing the cut was extremely disappointing as I am hitting the ball the best I have ever hit it. That said I just didn’t hit my scoring clubs close enough and that ultimately cost me. I didn’t commit enough to my wedge shots and as a result I hit poor shots.
The other disappointing thing about missing the cut was it was my last counting event for the Ryder cup as I am playing the Barclays Classic the week of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. I am left to rely on players doing me a favour over the next two weeks or relying on a Captains pick. It is not the situation that I had hoped for but it is the one I am in.
I am taking a week off for a family holiday and then I return for the Fed Ex Cup Play-offs, starting with the Barclays. I am feeling good about my game and looking forward to the rest of my season, as I have never hit the ball as well in my career.
A bitterly disappointed Padraig misses the cut by one shot at the last major of the year. Having had to come out to complete his second round on Saturday, he played some wonderful golf to get to the last hole in three under par. He proceeded to hit a career drive straight down the middle but then found the hazard on the left with his four iron shot and walked off with a double bogie and a free weekend.
Disappointing first round of three over par 75 for Padraig at the USPGA Championship. A fog delay meant that much of the field failed to finish their first rounds but even on a calm day the course played tough with any shot off line punished. Padraig got off to a reasonable start being level par after six holes but a short missed birdie putt was followed by a double bogie on the par three 17th hole. Four under par leads after the opening round.
Padraig is back on the USPGA Tour for the last chance of the year to win a major, the USPGA championship. It is being played at the Pete Dye creation, Whistling Straits which is one of the hardest links in the world. Padraig will hope to recreate the magic of two years ago when he won the coveted trophy. He tees off at 8am local time with Davis Love and John Daly.
USPGA Championship - Preview
We have moved from Ohio to Wisconsin for the final major of the year, the US PGA Championship. This year we are back at Whistling Straits where the 2004 PGA Championship was played. I played here back then and remember it as being a really good tough golf course. I remember thinking at the time how close it was to a links course at home, as it was firm and fast.
I have been looking forward to coming back here since I played it in 2004, when I played pretty decently but had a poor last round to knock me down the field. As far as I remember if I had played the back nine well I actually could have given myself a chance to win.
So far this year my performances in the majors have been poor. I missed the cut both at the Masters and the Open, and finished in the mid-twenties at the US Open. At the Masters I played poorly and deserved to miss the cut but at the Open I played well and missed the cut. At the US Open I played nicely in places but never really got anything going. I felt that my preparation for the Masters was as good as it could be, however I always feel that I could do with another tournament or two before it. For the other two majors I felt that my preparation was very good and things just didn’t happen for me. This week I am coming into the PGA Championship after two top tens, feeling that I playing well. I have been feeling good about my game for a while now but things haven’t gone my way. However, I have been in this game long enough to know that you just have to be patient and know that things will eventually go your way. I am happy with my preparation for this week and looking forward to playing.
I got here on Sunday evening; I pretty much travelled straight after my final round in Akron. Every major is really more of a mental battle than anything else and with this in mind I came here with the mindset of doing only what I have to do and to ensure that I didn’t do too much during the week. With this in mind I have played nine holes each day and spent a bit of time on the range, with the majority of my time been spent on my short game, as this golf course will test everyone’s short game by the end of the week. The greens are pretty big but when you miss one you are generally left in a really awkward position. Over the past few weeks I have put a lot more time into my short game and it has definitely paid off for me, as I have made a lot of very good saves.
The golf course is playing totally different to what it played like in 2004. Back then it was hard and fast and played very much like a links course. This year it is quite a bit softer and so playing much longer but the greens are much more receptive and easier to take on pins. It is in fantastic condition and will provide a great test as there are so many testing elements to the course. So far this week we haven’t had much wind whereas last time there was quite a bit. That said I like the course; it still has a links feel to it and it is in very good condition. It definitely suits someone that is driving the ball well as it will be hard to score from the rough. The fairways are a generous size but if you miss them you are penalised.
In the last few weeks I have been asked a lot about the Ryder cup and the fact that I am currently outside of the team. Whilst this is the case I am determined to try and get myself in the team; I know what I have to do and I will be giving it my all to make the team. A good week here this week would solve a lot of problems.
Having won the PGA in 2008 I now have the honour of playing in the Championship and attending the Champions Dinner until I am sixty. Last year I got to pick the menu as defending champion, this year it was Y.E. Yang’s turn. It was held on Tuesday night and was a great evening; I really enjoyed the Korean food. It is great to have a light evening during a normally stressful week.
I am feeling good about my game and looking forward to getting started. I play early on Thursday and late Friday with John Daly and Davis Love. I have prepared well and can do no more; I have to remain patient and keep playing my own game throughout the week.