PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 11: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Spyglass Hill Golf Course on February 11, 2012 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
AT-T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Review
My first PGA Tour event of 2012 went well - I finished in a tie for seventh, which is my best finish at the AT&T. I have always said that the courses there suit me but in previous years I haven’t been ready to play. This year I went there feeling good about my game and not tinkering with my swing, concentrating on trying to play golf and score, which was definitely a big factor in my finish this year.
I went there knowing that I needed to win to qualify for the WGC Accenture Matchplay. Even though I had a good week it wasn’t good enough to qualify, which means that I am playing in the Northern Trust Open this week and then heading home. It is disappointing not to be in the field for the Accenture but there is no point in worrying about it. I know that as long as I keep playing the way I am I will move up the world rankings quickly.
Looking at my week I am very happy with how I played, bar about five holes. If I was able to play my last four holes on Saturday and my second hole on Sunday again, I feel that I would have contended for the title. On Saturday I was 12 under with five to play and I dropped four shots coming in - it was only a couple of loose shots that caused the dropped shots. Then on Sunday I hit a terrible five wood on the second which cost me a double bogey. I did come back well from the double on Sunday by making four birdies in the next five holes but it definitely made me more cautious for the rest of the round. I was very happy with how I drove the ball all week; I felt that I hit it quite long and straight. I had no problem reaching for the driver on any hole, which showed up on my last hole. I thought that we needed to birdie the last to win the team event and so I hit driver. It was a left to right wind and I hit it down the tight line; it was one of my better drives of the week. I was also very happy with my putting; the work I have been doing on it over the last few weeks seems to be paying off. All in all I felt that I played well but could have been better, even though I finished in the top ten.
As much as last week is about my performance in the individual tournament, for me it is actually the team event. J.P. and I have won the Dunhill Links Championship twice but we have never come close in Monterey. We have been trying for a number of years now but never had any luck. This year the courses were firmer which helped J.P. and I was playing much better than previous years. We got off to a flyer of a start by shooting 13 under and then 12 under for the first two days - we dove tailed like you wouldn’t believe. We were seven shots clear after two days, which was our best ever scores since we have been playing together. The last two rounds were a lot tougher; having such a big lead can be difficult. We ended up playing our last hole on Sunday tied for the lead. Both Ronan and I thought that we needed to make a birdie to win or else we would lose it on a count back. For this reason I hit driver and then three wood at the green to give myself the best chance of making a birdie. I missed the green well right and had no shot, I could only chip it in the bunker so as to try and hole the bunker shot. J.P. was in pretty much the same position as I was and had to do the same. He nearly holed his bunker shot; I hit a poor bunker shot but holed five footer for us to tie. I was devastated as I thought we had lost, but the funny thing was that J.P. was happy and hugging me - I couldn’t figure out what was going on. It was until we got into the scorers hut that I heard that a tie means that both teams share the title. J.P. knew this going down the last but Ronan and I didn’t - if I knew that on the tee I would have played the hole totally different.
Once I realized we had won the team I was delighted; we are the first team to do the Dunhill and AT&T double. The best thing about it was that as happy as I was, J.P. was over the moon.
It was a great week all round. I am thrilled to have won the team event and feeling good about my game heading to Riveria. The hardest thing about next week will be not having J.P. with me for the four rounds.
AT-T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
A fine final round of two under par 70 sees Padraig finish in a tie for 7th at ten under par and also tie for the team event with his long time amateur partner, JP McManus. A horrible start with a double bogey on the par five second hole seemed to put paid to his day but he battled back bravely to record four birdies in his next five holes. A storming finish saw him birdie the par three 17th hole and up and down from the front bunker on the 18th to tie the team event much to the delight of his clearly anxious partner! They now have the unique distinction of winning both major pro ams on the US and European tours. Padraig stays in the US to play the Northern Trust Open on one of his favorite courses, Riviera country club.
Disappointing third round for Padraig at Spyglass as he sees a promising round disappear with a poor finish. Starting on the back nine, he was out in three under par and followed this with another birdie on the par three third hole to leave himself in tied second place. Four dropped shots in the last five holes put paid to a good days work. He finished at even par for the day and his eight under par total leaves him seven shots behind going into Sundays final round. In the team event, they now lead by three shots!
Padraig continues to show his good early season form as for the third week in a row he enters the weekend in the mix. A stunning six under par 66 around Pebble Beach was the reward for a winter of hard work. Seven birdies and just one dropped shot leave him at eight under par and in a tie for third place. Twelve under par leads. In the team event, his partner must think he is dreaming as they combined to produce a net 60 to finish at 25 under par and leave the rest of the floundering seven shots behind! An interesting weekend ahead!
Padraig opened his USPGA tour account with a two under par round of 68 to leave himself in a tie for 41st after the opening day of the AT-T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Starting on the back nine, he looked in trouble early on as he three putted the par five 10th and fell to two over par after seven holes but he rallied to cover his back nine in four under par. In the team event, they lead with an amazing net 57, a whopping 13 under par, his partner JP McManus having a day to remember! They tee off in the second round at 10.01am local time on the famed Pebble Beach course.
AT-T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Tee Times
Padraig tees off in round one at 8.22am local time (+8GMT) opposite Charley Hoffman with JP McManus and Dermot Desmond as the amateur partners.
AT-T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Preview
My week off was spent doing some practice, working out in the gym and generally taking it easy at home. It was my first week at home practising whilst using the new techniques that I worked on with Dave Alred. I must say that I found my practice much more enjoyable as it had much more meaning, as every shot had a distinct purpose. When I look at how I was practising before I can see that a lot of it wasn’t productive whereas now I feel that every shot I hit last week had genuine meaning. This way it is much more like a tournament situation, when you only get one chance at a shot.
I am starting my 2012 PGA Tour schedule this week at my usual opening event, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am. I have been coming here for a number of years now and every year I feel that the courses really suit me. I generally wish that the tournament was a little later in the calendar so that I would be more prepared for it. However, this year, even though I have only played two events prior to it, I feel much more ready to play. I know where my game is at and feel that I am ready to get into competing again. My first two tournaments went well in terms of letting me know how I am playing and what I need to work on but the best thing that came from them was that I was ready to play and wasn’t get caught up in the fact that they were my first two tournaments of the year.
As always I am teaming up with J.P. this week. We have won the Dunhill Links Championship twice and are desperate to add this title to our collection. Over the last few years I haven’t really played well enough for us to contend here (my best finish to date is about 13th) and to have a chance to win the team event the pro has to be contending the tournament.
This week we play three different courses, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula. I really enjoy the courses; they are very similar to courses that we would play on at home. They can be a bit soft and as a result the greens can be a little bumpy, but I have never really had a problem with them. I would have to put this week down as one of my favourites of the year; I like the courses and the format. I have always felt that this is a tournament that I could win as every aspect of it suits me. Certainly, this week and next week in Riveria are two tournaments that I look forward to every year.
I have practised at all three courses this week; even though I know them well I wanted to get out on them and see how they were playing. In all the years I have been coming here I don’t think I have ever seen the courses play so firm. Usually they quite soft but this year there has been hardly any rain down here in Monterey. The condition of the courses is fantastic but the fact that the greens are firm makes them much tougher, so I would expect that the scoring won’t be as good as previous years.
I have continued to work on Dave Alred's techniques during practice and the more I do it the more excited I get about it all. I really feel that it has made a huge difference already; not just in my game but also in my attitude. I am preparing in the right way and as a result feel much better about myself for it. I notice that I am not being as hard on myself as I was at times last year and in previous years.
Everything has gone well in practice and I am looking forward to getting into competition to really put my practice to the test. This is also my last chance to qualify for the Accenture Matchplay in a couple of weeks and to do that I probably need to win. I believe that it is well within my capabilities to win here and have come with the intention of doing so.