"I am delighted to have been selected as one of Colin's wildcard picks for this year's Ryder Cup Matches and hope to reward his faith in me with some strong performances for the European team. I can't wait to be part of the team at Celtic Manor and hope that the experience I have gathered in my previous appearances will be of benefit to the team. I'm sure with the help of the amazing atmosphere the crowds will create, it will be a fantastic contest.", Padraig.
The Barclays - Review.
The first of the Fed Ex Cup play-offs is over. I had hopped for a better performance so as to move up the rankings but to no avail. My week started off fine after shooting two under par on Thursday and then three under on Friday, to leave me on five under and right in the tournament. But then the weekend was very disappointing as I shot even par on Saturday and then four over on Sunday to finish well down the field on one under par. I lost a bit of ground on Saturday as the scoring was decent and my level par was only average. Looking back at my performance over the weekend it was definitely affected by the practice I did after my round on Friday. I wasn’t happy with a couple of things during my round on Friday and I spent a bit of time on the range ironing them out. It didn't take that long but when I look back at it now I can see that it affected my performance for the next two days. I know this because my routines and my focus were not as good as the first two days; also I struggled a little bit on the greens which is generally a sign that I am a little fatigued.
On Saturday I actually played well from tee to green but just couldn’t hole a putt, struggling to see the lines at times. I made a lot of pars, as I just couldn’t buy a putt no matter how hard I tried. It was very frustrating; that said I still felt going out on Sunday that I had a chance to win. I teed it up thinking that I could still win but I played and putted poorly as well, which is a real bad combination. All in all it was a disappointing weekend on the golf course.
My final round on Sunday was definitely overshadowed by the Ryder Cup team announcement. It was definitely on my mind all week but much more so on Sunday. I had seen the other guys in contention for a wildcard during the week and we were all anxious and hoping that each one of us would get a pick. Everybody you talked to had a different opinion of who was going to get the picks and it was the main conversation point all week. I was more nervous waiting to hear if I had got the pick than I was standing over my putt to win my first major. I played on Sunday with Paul Casey and we were both on tender hooks - we knew that Eduardo had won in Gleneagles which we all felt had secured him a pick and so that left two picks. We had expected to hear the word around our fourth hole but in the end it was when we were on the sixth green that I got the thumbs up from Caroline. I was delighted and relieved; the hardest thing was that I was playing with Paul and he hadn’t been picked and he also has Chris Donald (Luke’s Brother) on his bag. It was all very awkward but Paul was very good about. We talked about it on the way to the eighth hole and then we left it alone.
I was totally relieved to hear that I had received a pick; it was not a situation I had wanted to be in. I am honoured to get a Captains pick and I know how hard it must have been on Colin as he had to choose from players who all had reasons to be selected. In the end his pick is a vote of confidence in myself; now it is up to me to ensure that he made the right choice. In my mind one of the reasons that he has picked me is that he wanted more experience, as there are a number of rookies in the team. One of the things that I learnt from the last Ryder Cup is that it is not just on the course where experience is needed. It is up to me to make my presence felt in the team room, to give players the benefit of my experience; definitely at the last Ryder Cup we lacked a leader in the team room - previously Monty and Darren had assumed the role, whereas last time round nobody did.
I am honoured to get Monty’s vote of confidence and I am really looking forward to playing at Celtic Manor. After two poor Ryder Cups I am anxious to improve my record; but the main thing is that the team regains the Cup for Europe.
The Barclays - Preview.
After the PGA I went away for a week with my family, we have done it for the last few years. After a week of doing practically nothing I am back in action in New Jersey for the Barclays Classic, the first of the Fed Ex Cup play offs. I have chosen to play here this week rather than head back to play in Gleneagles, which is the last qualifying event for the Ryder cup. I made a commitment too early in the year to do a clinic for the Special Olympics this week and I wanted to honour that. There has been a lot of talk about myself and the other players that have chosen to play here this week rather than Gleneagles - none of us made the decision lightly, we all had our reasons and we know the possible consequences of being here. I know that I will be following the events from Scotland closely during the week.
This week we are playing Ridgewood Country Club, the 2008 venue. I played here back then and loved the course but unfortunately I missed the cut. When I heard that we were coming back this year I was delighted as I thought that it was a great course. I got here on Sunday afternoon; it seems like as soon as I landed the bad weather came in. There hasn’t been rain here for months and as soon as I landed it came down in buckets and kept going for a few days. I played the course on Monday and it played totally different to the last time we were here as it was so wet. Last time the course was pretty firm whereas this week it is going to play very soft and as a result very long. It does make it easier in some respects and the fairways are easier to hit as the ball won’t run off them and the greens are so soft you can fire it straight at the pin.
I took Tuesday off, as it was Paddy’s seventh birthday so we went out for the day to celebrate. It rained quite a bit again so it wasn’t a bad day to take off. I was back at the course on Wednesday for the pro-am and again it was very wet but really enjoyable. I played with a few guys that work on Wall Street; I had a great time quizzing them on their jobs. After the pro-am I did my clinic for the Special Olympics and then a small bit of practice but not much. I made sure to keep it to a minimum as Wednesday afternoons are not the time to be working on your swing.
I am very happy with the way I am hitting the ball and feeling good about myself. I am very happy with where I am with my game and know that it is all about sticking to my routines and getting the right mental approach. If I can do this then I will be alright.
It is hard not to think about the Ryder Cup but I know that I have to put it to the back of my mind and concentrate on my own game this week. I am relying on a pick and like everyone else I will have to wait until Sunday afternoon to find out if I get one. The most important thing that I can do is to concentrate on this week and see if I can get myself into a position to win the Barclays Classic for the second time.
Talk to you all soon and thanks for all your support and well wishes in regard to the Ryder Cup.