Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
Earlier today, Padraig was disqualified from the Abu Dhabi Championship due to an accidental rules infringement.
Soon afterwards Padraig said "I have no one to blame but myself, rules are rules and I take full responsibility for the incident. It occurred on the 7th green yesterday when I picked up my coin and accidentally touched the ball. I use the Titleist logo to align the ball and I checked that it was still in the same position pointing towards the target and was quite comfortable that the ball had not moved. It is only after seeing slow motion replays earlier today that it is evident that my ball had moved by a dimple and a half, whilst I was completely unaware that it had not returned to its original position at the time. In fact no penalty would have been incurred if I had been aware of this and replaced my ball to its original position. However, the fact that I signed for a wrong score means that I am now disqualified."
"I would like to thank the European Tour rules officials for their professional handling of the matter this morning. I am disappointed but worse things happen and I take comfort from my solid play yesterday. I now plan to use the next three days working hard on my game ahead of next week's tournament."
Padraig opened his 2011 campaign with a moral boosting seven under par 65 to take the early lead in Abu Dhabi. Starting on the back nine, he was out in three under par with solid play and putting. He then turned for home with two more birdies mid round before he chipped in on the par five 8th hole (his 17th) for an eagle three. A solid par four on the tough 9th hole left him beaming as his prediction of having a good year started in the best possible way.
Padraig confident of 'best year ever'
Padraig gets his 2011 season underway this week at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. The event marks the start of the European Tour's "Desert Swing" and there is a strong field each looking to lift the Falcon Trophy. He tees off in the opening round at 7.50am local time and is in a major winning group with current British Open Champion, Louis Oosthuizen and PGA Champion, Martin Kaymer.
Padraig is confident of carrying the momentum forward which saw him have a successful Ryder Cup and a win at the Iskandar Johor Open in October
"I'm optimistic, lots of things have changed and in my head I'm going to have the greatest year ever. I'm going to do better in every department of my game - it's hard to guarantee, but I do expect to do well this year." said Padraig.
"I've had a great winter. I've done a lot of really good work in the gym and I've spent a lot of time indoors hitting shots in a net.
Padraig added: "I've never been more optimistic about my game. I've got my best years ahead of me. But I'm always like that.
"I still feel I'm a young man, and I'm fitter and stronger than at any stage of my life."