The first major of the year was a very disappointing affair for me. I was happy with my preparation for the tournament and felt that I had done everything right; I had stuck to my plan in practice, made sure not to tire myself out and coming into the first round I was feeling good. I had a nice tee time on Thursday morning and was looking forward to getting started.
I arrived at the course my customary couple of hours ahead of my tee time so as to have breakfast and physio before I hit the range. When I got to the range I started my warm up, as I do everyday, by swinging a couple of clubs to loosen up and then swinging a training aid, which I swing both right and left handed so as to keep everything in balance. The problem that morning was that I felt something go in my neck when I was swinging left handed. I had obviously swung a bit too hard without being properly warmed up; I wasn’t too worried about it initially as I thought it would go away when I started hitting shots.
I always start with my wedges and then work my way up to the longer clubs, but when I did so I was feeling a little discomfort, but again I felt it would go away. It wasn’t until I got to my three iron and five wood that I was getting worried about my neck as it wasn’t going away and was in fact getting worse. It was at this stage that I called my physio to come down to the range to have a look at me. He treated me for about ten minutes and was hopeful that it would loosen out by the time I was to tee off. Normally when I get a problem with my neck I can't look up but this time it was extremely sore at impact; I was struggling to keep my head still during the shot. If it had been any other tournament I would have pulled out, but seeing as it was the Masters I wasn’t going to give in that easily.
Unfortunately it never eased off and in actual fact it got worse as the round went on. It was really uncomfortable playing with it and during every shot I hit I was in quite a lot of pain. However, that said, it wasn’t actually my long game that cost me in the first round. I chipped and putted quite poorly which ultimately cost me. There is no doubt that my neck was a contributing factor to my poor short game also but it wasn’t the only factor. In the end I shot five over par on a day when I have never seen the course play easier - we had very little wind and the greens were kept soft all day, which proved to be a great day for scoring.
When I teed up on Friday my neck was a lot better than Thursday, but still a long way from being fully recovered. I knew that I needed to shoot a very good score to make the cut but again I struggled with my short game and ended up shooting level par to finish on five over par for the week. As much as my neck cost me contending in the tournament I still payed well enough to make the cut and play four rounds. I don’t think I have ever had a couple of days like it on the greens; I had 70 putts for the two days. Making cuts is practically impossible with this number of putts let alone contending in a tournament.
It was a disappointing missed cut as I felt that I was good shape going into the week, but when something like this happens there is nothing you can do about it. I flew home on Saturday evening, having received some more treatment on my neck. I arrived home on Sunday morning and watched the final round at home on the night. It was gut wrenching stuff and I felt for Rory. He spoke very well after his round and with that attitude he will win many majors.
However, congrats to Charl on winning his first major in impressive style.
It's Masters Week!
Padraig misses the cut at Augusta as he struggled yet again with a neck injury. Level par for his second round left him outside the cutline which fell at plus one. His card contained three birdies, one bogie and a double bogie at the last hole.
Disappointing first round of 77 for Padraig at Augusta as he struggled with a neck injury sustained in his warm up. Four bogies, three birdies and two double bogies made up his erratic looking card.
It's the first major of the year and it doesn't get much more exciting than the Masters. Padraig arrived at Augusta full of positives, focused and ready to go. It is one of his favorite courses and he has had some fine rounds around the Augusta National course (low round of 68). Two top five finishes show he is ready to win here if the opportunity presents itself. Twelve years of experience here are essential as very few first time winners emerge. He tees off at 9:57am local time (+5 GMT) in a group with Bill Haas and and teenage golf sensation, Ryo Ishikawa.