Volvo Golf Champions - Review
After being disqualified from my first tournament of the year it was nice to get to play four rounds in Bahrain at the Volvo Golf Champions event. I would have liked to have finished a lot better but unfortunately I didn’t play well enough during the week. It is a good feeling to be back into tournament play though - after six weeks off it was great to be back in action and have to keep a score card. My six weeks off were spent practicing as opposed to playing golf so to get out to the Middle East swing of the Tour for a couple of weeks was great. I came out here not really knowing what to expect and to see where I was at in relation to the work I had done over the winter.
Whilst I wasn’t happy with my scoring or finishing position last week, I am happy with how my winter work has progressed. It was very hard to leave it behind me when I got to the course and as result I definitely got caught on a number of shots where I was stuck between trying to do one thing but still thinking about my swing changes. All in all though I felt that the work I have done will make a big difference. That said though I am fully aware after these two weeks that I need to try and forget about it now and get my mind focused on playing and the scoring area of the game.
Looking back on all my rounds last week, I can see that a lot of my dropped shots were down to my lack of sharpness. In general it was my short game and decision-making with regard to my chip shots that cost me shots. All these things are generally what I would expect when I haven’t played competitively for a while. The good thing about playing these two weeks is that it reminds me what I need to do. I know coming away from here that I have to spend more time on my short game, although I know that it gets better as I play more.
One area that I have noticed needs some work on is my wedge play, namely my pitching wedge. I am generally a good pitcher of the ball with my lob wedge and sand wedge but my pitching wedge lets me down a lot. This is an area that I will be addressing in the coming weeks.
This was my first time playing in Bahrain and also a first for the Tour and Volvo. I really enjoyed the week the only problem was that I didn’t play well enough to contend in the tournament. The course came in for some unfair criticism during the week but I felt that it was a good test - a championship course that tested all elements of your game. The greens were probably a bit severe in spots but other than that I couldn’t fault it.
I am off for a week before I head to the US for a run of three tournaments. I am aware of what I need to work on during my week off and also for the rest of the season. I would have liked to have gotten myself into contention last week but even though I didn’t I got a lot out of the week. I am feeling good about my game and looking forward to the season ahead.
Volvo Golf Champions
Final round of one under par 71 was a roller coaster ride with only six pars recorded for the day. After a great start where he was four under par after six holes, he recorded five bogies and a double bogie on the par three 16th hole. A birdie three to finish was scant consolation for the weeks work where he generally hit the ball very well. He now has a week off before returning to the west side of America for the USPGA Tour!
Frustrating third round of one over par for Padraig. The main damage for the day happened on the 6th and 7th holes where he dropped three shots but he rallied well to limit the damage. Again, he putted poorly with the lowlight of the day being a magnificent drive on the par four 10th hole to 18 feet followed by a three putt!
Second round of three under par 69 for Padraig in Bahrain. Out in level par after recording one birdie and one bogie, he came home in three under par finishing well with two birdies. It was a day of what might have been as he putted inconsistently with a number of chances left behind on the course!
Opening round of two under par for Padraig at the Volvo Golf Champions. Out in two under par after a couple of early birdies, he exchanged one birdie with a bogie on the back nine to lie in tied 36th place after day one. With an early start on Friday he will be hoping for a low round to get in contention. Eight under par leads after round one.
Padraig is determined to put his disqualification last week firmly behind him and build on his encouraging early season form at the Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain this week. He tees off at 11.30am local time with Ryder Cup team mates, Ian Poulter and Francesco Molinari.
“If you turn up at a tournament you never want to be talking about other things and be distracted,” he said. “So this week has been very much about getting into this tournament and last week was last week.
“We are all new to (the course) this week so nobody has an advantage. It really is a blank canvas. It’s very exciting to see somewhere new, experience a different place, different culture. That’s one of the great things about The European Tour – we go to so many fascinating places.”
Harrington admits shooting a 65 has put more pressure on him as there is now expectation for him to follow that with another low score in Bahrain.
“I’ll be a bit more anxious this week because you always want to get a good start to the year and in your first tournament four rounds is not a bad start,” he said. “You’re working on things, and obviously I didn’t get that last week. Not having the backing of four rounds of golf last week, just having a one-off, it’s a little bit tougher to go out there.
“People see 65 and maybe they are thinking I’ve solved all the problems in my game and I’m going to shoot 65 every day. But that’s not the reality. So the expectations are higher but we are still starting from zero at the start of the week and it does bring a little bit more pressure.
“It was nice to shoot a good score so I’m positive about that and I do take some confidence from it. I did some good preparation and while I didn’t play perfect golf, the mental side was strong.”
Volvo Golf Champions - Preview
Last week was a somewhat disappointing start to the season, nothing to do with my golf, but because I wasn’t able to play after my disqualification after the first round. At the time I knew that I had touched the ball but when I looked down I felt that it hadn’t moved; it was only on a slow motion replay that I could see that it had by a fraction, warranting a two shot penalty, but because I had signed for a wrong score I was disqualified. However, thankfully I have another week to get back into the swing of things.
I am in Bahrain for the inaugural Volvo Tournament of Champions; I was always playing two tournaments when I came out here but after last week I am even happier that I have another event to play in straight away. There has been a lot of talk about my DQ last week so it will be good to get playing again this week and put it all behind me. This is my first time in Bahrain, which was a big reason for coming here as I always enjoy playing in new countries.
This is also a new tournament on the European Tour and also a new course, which makes it even more interesting. I have played two rounds on the course now so as to get myself ready for playing after a few days of practice. The course was designed by Monty and I have to say that it appears that he has built a course that would suit his game. There are a lot of lay ups from the tee and then the greens incorporate small shelves so as to suit a good iron player, which is everything that Monty was great at during his career. It is an interesting course to play because of the green designs - a lot of the players are pulling their hair out over them but I have to say I like them. They put a premium on good iron play and also on a strong short game. I find one of the hardest things on this course is the perception from the tee - everything looks a lot further away than it actually is, but thankfully I have played a couple of practice rounds and got used to it.
I am happy with all the work I have done over the winter; it is not fully settled in yet but it is getting there. The hardest thing for me at the moment is to let go of it and get out and play, leaving the technical work behind, as I did in the first round last week.
I am looking forward to playing this week to try and continue on where I left off last week. My practice has gone well in that I haven’t been sucked into working on the things I have been changing and I am feeling good about where I am in terms of my game.
The course is definitely funky but I tend to like such courses, whereas a lot of the other guys tend to get frustrated on courses like this. After last week I am looking to get four rounds under my belt in order to get a real feel for where I am at. I am here to try and win the tournament but considering I have only played one competitive round so far this season I am still a little unsure what to expect. That said I am very happy with how the week has gone so far so I am looking to be in contention come Sunday afternoon.