JOHNS CREEK, GA - AUGUST 12: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits a bunker shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the 93rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on August 12, 2011 in Johns Creek, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
USPGA Championship - Review
The final major of the year is over and it was a disappointing one for me. I finished in a tie for 64th on eleven over par for the week. I just didn’t play well enough to get myself into the tournament. I struggled on day one to shoot three over, but with the scoring generally good I was ten shots behind the leader. I played better on Friday and shot one under par to be two over for the tournament and made the cut in the middle of the field.
I was very happy with my round on Friday as I knew that I was under pressure to make the cut, so to shoot one under was good going. When you are on the cut line it is nearly harder than being in contention, as you know that one mistake means that you don’t have the chance to recover over the weekend. I shot one under on the back nine, which I was particularly pleased about. When I look back on my round I can see that I got everything I could have out of it - it is probably the only round of the year that I can say that about, as most of my rounds this year have been the opposite.
I knew on Saturday that I needed to play well over the weekend to have any chance of winning - I felt that I needed a weekend like I had in Detroit in 2008 when I won - but I just didn’t play anywhere near good enough. I ended up shooting 75 and 74 in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively, which was very disappointing.
Even though I had a disappointing weekend I actually hit a lot of very good shots on Sunday. I made a few silly mistakes but overall I hit a lot of quality shots - again it has been a while since I could really say this.
Overall it was a disappointing week for me as I came here to try and win my fourth major and I never contended. On top of this, I was looking to get myself into the top 125 in the Fed Ex Cup standings which I also failed to do. As a result I have had to cancel the family holiday that we had planned for this week; instead I will play in the Wyndham Championship, as it is the last chance to qualify for the Playoffs. It was a tough decision to make but I really want to play in the Playoffs and this is my last chance to qualify.
A week off would have been nice but I am looking forward to playing. I felt that I hit a lot of quality shots on Sunday, I just didn’t take advantage of them and then a couple of silly mistakes cost me dearly. I will head to Greensboro on Monday evening as I have an outing for Wilson Staff, my club sponsors, during the day.
Padraig signs off with two final rounds of 75 and 74 at the USPGA Championship. Keegan Bradley, a rookie won the event after a dramatic playoff.
Superb second round of one under par 69 jumps Padraig up the leaderboard into a tie for 39th place and only seven shots off the lead heading into the weekends play at the last Major of the year. Out in level par after swapping two birdies and two bogies, he started the back nine with five pars before covering the dreaded last four holes in a remarkable one under par. This left him two shots inside a very tight cut line and helps his FED EX cup chances but more importantly gives him a chance to regain the title he won in 2008 when he powered home with two closing 66's. He tees off with Bill Lunde at 10.50am local time (+5 GMT)
Opening round of three over par 73 for Padraig in Atlanta. Starting on the back nine, he got off to a solid start with a birdie four on the reachable par five 12th hole but three bogies followed on the tough finishing stretch. Another shot was lost on the first hole but he steadied the ship to finish in level par including a welcome birdie three on the par four 9th hole. He lies in tied 78th place with seven under par leading the tournament. Padraig tees off in the second round at 1.45pm local time (+5GMT).
US PGA Championship - Preview
The season is going fast and I am in Atlanta for the US PGA, the final major of the year. It was last held here in 2001, when David Toms won; most people will remember him laying up from the rough on the last hole and then getting up and down to win. I played here in 2001 but I can’t recall much of it.
I would like to be coming here after a better performance last week but I can’t change that, I can only concentrate on this week. Even though I didn’t have a great week I was happy with my putting and also with the chat I had with Pete Cowen. Whilst I haven’t really worked on it yet, I am happy that what Pete was saying is along the same lines as what I was thinking. It means that I can put it to rest for the week and concentrate on winning the PGA, because I know that spending time working on swing changes during the week of a major is certainly not what you want to be doing.
I got here on Sunday evening and have played at least nine holes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This is pretty much my normal routine for every major and I am very conscious during a big week like this of not over doing it. When I look back at many of the big tournaments that I have played in my early career I can see now that I was worn out by Thursday. Nowadays I am fully aware of the importance of being fresh for the tournament days and this week it is even more important as we are expecting temperatures of over 100 degrees. Just standing out in the heat is energy sapping let alone playing golf in it.
My preparation has been totally focused on getting my mental approach right. I am aware of what I want to do with my swing but I am happy to worry about that next week. This week is purely about being focused and making sure that my routines and my head are spot on. I have spent a lot of time with Bob Rotella working on this area and feel that we have done a good job.
The course here at the Atlanta Athletic Club is in super condition and the PGA of America have set up a really great test. I played the front nine on Monday and came off thinking that it wasn’t too bad andthat the scoring would be quite good. However, after playing the back nine I am now rethinking; it is definitely tougher but especially the last five holes. There are chances on the first thirteen holes and whilst there are also tough holes within them, on the whole they are not too bad. However, the last five are tough long holes. The fifteenth is a par three that plays 260 yards from the back and has water - this is the hole where David Toms had a hole-in-one in 2001 - and will cause all sorts of problems; the sixteenth is a long uphill par four where a par is a good score. Then the last two holes only get harder - seventeen is a par three all over water, which has played between a four and five iron in practice and then the hardest hole on the course is saved until last. This is as tough a finishing hole as you will get, a par four with water down the left from the tee that runs all the way up to the green so that you are hitting your second shot over water. With fairway bunkers all along the right means that there is no bailout from the tee. This hole is more like a par five and you will see more players laying up here than you will on the actual par five holes. A four here is a great score any day but if you are in contention on Sunday and make a par it could be worth a lot.
It is a really good course which definitely suits the longer hitters as there a lot of par fours that play around 480 – 500 yards. The greens are going to be seriously fast and the most important thing about them is not to hit it above the hole if you can help it.
I am feeling good about my preparation and looking forward to getting started. I am drawn with Tiger and Davis Love for the first two days so there will be a big crowd. We play early on Thursday and then late on Friday and then the aim is to be out late on Saturday and Sunday too.