The Honda Classic - Review
It was a very disappointing week in the end - I was very hopeful going there but a terrible last round meant that I finished near the end of the field of those players making the cut. I knew that I needed to win to qualify for the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral, however I now will be missing out on it.
I have been playing well for the last while now and was feeling good about things going into the week. I got off to a poor start on Thursday, which surprised me a little as I was quite confident but over the years I have struggled when I am confident. I was three over par after nine holes and facing a battle to make the cut, especially as I was turning into the tough back nine. I think the prospect of having a lot of work to do to be around for the weekend woke me up as I played very well on the back nine and shot three under par to post level par for the round. In the end I was disappointed with my score as I missed short putts on the 13th and 18th for birdie. After nine holes I wasn’t expecting to be sitting in the recorders hut disappointed that I had shot level par. What a funny game golf is!
Bar a few shots on the front nine on Thursday I played well until Sunday. The main problem I had was my putting - not so much my actual putting but my reading of them and the trusting of my reads. Anytime I trusted what I saw I hit a good putt but when I didn’t I ended up hitting a poor putt.
We started early on Sunday as there was bad weather forecast - I was first out at 8.30. When I got to the range the wind was blowing very strong - it was like a wind we would get at home on a links course; only thankfully it wasn’t anywhere near as cold. I managed to play four holes before we were called in - at this stage I had been in five bunkers and was level par - we were delayed for about two hours before we got back out. When I went back out to play I wasn’t feeling like myself - I was dehydrated or something. I struggled with my timing for the rest of the round, which along with my putting made for a tough day. In the end I had to play the last two holes in one under par so as to break 80! I have to say I was grinding as hard as I ever have on those holes - I even gave a fist pump when I holed my birdie putt on the last.
I was very disappointed after my final round - to shoot 79 was awful. The only thing about it is that I know that there was something wrong with me as I was hitting the ball fine before the storm. I am putting it down to something like getting dehydrated and then forgetting about it. I am off this week but I am staying in Florida to do some practice and then I play the Transitions Championship next week.
I was able to watch the last five or six holes of the leaders which was very interesting. Tiger really put it to Rory but he was up to the challenge. It was a great win for him, especially as he knew that he needed to so as to get to World no. 1.
The Honda Classic.
Disappointing final round for Padraig as he shoots 79 to tumble down the leaderboard. On a day where nothing much went right, he never recovered after a rain delay on a course that played very tough early on in the day. He now has a couple of weeks off before returning to the USPGA tour. On a more positive note, congratulations to fellow Irishman, Rory McIlroy, on winning the event and achieving the World number one spot at the tender age of 22!
Third round of two over par 72 for Padraig at the Honda Classic on a tough scoring day leaves him at level par for the tournament. Three bogies and just one birdie on the par four 4th hole made up his card on a day where the swirling wind tested the players to the limit. Padraig tees off at 8.30am local time in three balls because of the threat of impending bad weather. Eleven under par leads going into the final round.
Another solid performance by Padraig as he shoots a two under par 68 to finish in tied 26th place going into the weekend. Eight under par leads. Starting on the back nine, a great start saw him race to three under par after seven holes, but a bogey four on the par three 17th hole had him out in 33 shots. He traded two bogies with two birdies on the way home to leave himself well placed. He tees off Saturday with Erik Compton at 11.33am local time.
A battling opening round for Padraig in Florida sees him return a level par 70 to lie in tied 40th place, six shots behind the leader. After a disappointing start to his round where he dropped three shots going out to turn in 38 shots, he birdied the tough par four 11th hole where he hit his approach shot over water to eight feet. He then continued his stellar play as he tackled the infamous "bear trap". His leading record of five under par for his previous eight visits to this stretch was further enhanced when he birdied both par 3's to come home in a very impressive 32 shots. With an early start Friday, (7.50am local time), he will be hoping to build on a promising start to the Honda Classic.
Padraig returns to the USPGA Tour for this weeks Honda Classic, an event that he has won in the past. It is being played at the PGA National Champion course in Palm Beach, Florida and is considered one of the toughest tests of golf outside the Majors. The finishing stretch containing the 15th, 16th and 17th holes is known as the "Bear Trap", in honor of the course designer, Jack Nicklaus. Nothing short of a win will propel Padraig into the next weeks WGC event at the infamous Blue Monster course in Doral. Padraig tees off at 12.50pm local time (+5GMT) with Darren Clarke and Heath Slocum.
The Honda Classic - Preview
I had a week off last week as I was outside of the top 64 on the World Rankings and as a result I didn’t make it into the Accenture Matchplay. I was home for the week and got some good work done with Dave Alred, who came over for a couple of days. We worked together in Abu Dhabi and I have been continuing with the things we discussed there. Having him come to see me at home was great as I felt before we started working together that it would be at home that I would get the most out of his work. I really enjoyed the couple of days - it was quite intense again but very worthwhile. He showed me a few more practice drills, things that make practising more interesting and more worthwhile. I can see after only a few weeks of working with him what a difference it has made - I feel that my practice is much more productive now and more like a tournament.
This week I am in West Palm Beach for the Honda Classic. Since I won here in 2005 I have only made a couple of appearances, as it hasn’t quite fitted into my schedule. Seeing as I was off last week and given that I am still trying to qualify for WGC Cadillac Championship next week, the Honda is a perfect fit for me. I got here on Monday evening and haven’t been too affected by the jetlag as I hadn’t quite got over it from my last trip to the US. When I won here in 2005, the tournament was held on a different course but for the last few years it has been held at PGA National, which is one of the toughest courses of the year, much like a mini US Open. There is always a decent amount of rough and here in this part of Florida it is generally quite windy. When you add the wind to the toughness of the course it is a really good test. This is a week where level par is actually not a bad score.
I played nine holes on Tuesday and then the pro-am on Wednesday. The course is good condition and the greens are in fantastic shape - there are no excuses for missing putts on these greens. The weather on Tuesday was really nice, warm but not too hot - exactly what you would like to play golf in everyday. The same couldn’t be said for Wednesday though. There wasn’t supposed to be any rain but it lashed on us. It rained so heavy that they had to call us in from the pro-am. I had actually just finished which was nice as I was soaking and looking forward to a hot shower. However, it cleared up for the afternoon, which allowed me to get some practice in.
I have done some work with Bob Rotella this week, clearing up a few things in my head and getting myself focused on my routines. It has been good to see him as I feel that I am in a very good place with my game at the moment. I also got to see Pete Cowen this week, although I didn’t spend much time with him. He had a look at me and was happy with what he saw and so we left it at that.
As it stands at the moment I am not in next week's WGC event, although if I win here this week I would have a chance of qualifying. I have looked at it and I am pretty sure I wouldn’t qualify from the World Rankings even if I won but I may get in from the Fed Ex ranking. The simple thing is for me to win and then worry about it!