HUMBLE, TX - MARCH 30: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his tee shot on the third hole during the completion of the weather-delayed first round of the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club on March 30, 2012 in Humble, Texas. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Life is a lot easier when you play badly and then all of a sudden you get in contention and win one. No one gets on your back. When you finish runner-up seven times, everyone is asking, 'Why aren't you winning?' It's much more fun when you jump into a win out of the blue. It's a much tougher game when you play consistently well.

Shell Houston Open

Entry Date:
Apr 3, 2012

Shell Houston Open - Review
It wasn’t the build up to the Masters that I was looking for. I went to Houston looking to get myself into contention over the weekend; in the end I sweated it out on the cut line almost until the last man finished on Saturday morning. For about three hours I went from being in to being out and then to finally making the cut. It was strange watching the scores - I wanted to make the cut so as to get more competitive practice, but when it was looking like I was missing the cut I wasn’t feeling too bad, as I knew it meant that I would get to Augusta early. This all happened on Saturday morning and not Friday night because we were rained off on Thursday after one hole. I played 35 holes on Friday and finished on two under par, which wasn’t looking like making the cut at that point.

In the end I made the cut on the mark and was very happy to be playing. However when I was on the course for my third round I found it hard to get into the round - I was trying hard but I just couldn’t get myself going. I think in a way I had resigned myself to missing the cut and had moved onto Augusta. No matter how much I tried to motivate myself on the course I couldn’t. I was just a little flat and so I ended up missing the Saturday cut, which was necessary as 92 players made the halfway cut.

I was disappointed not to have had a better week in Houston, especially as I have had some good finishes there over the years. I like the course and the way they set it up so to miss the final round cut was very disappointing. It was similar story to my last few tournaments; I played nicely but putted very poorly. I had plenty of chances during the three rounds but just wasn’t able to convert them - I missed the putts I needed to hole and so it was all a struggle. The good thing about playing the third round was that I had decided that I wanted to go back to doing something in my putting that I have done for years but had changed a couple of years ago. Getting to try it under pressure was great - I didn’t hole as many as I would have liked but it definitely felt a lot better.

Missing the cut meant that I flew to Augusta on Sunday morning and got settled in. It was actually nice getting here early and being able to register on Sunday. It means there are a few small jobs taken off the list for the week.

Talk soon,
Padraig. Shell Houston Open - Preview
This week, the Shell Houston Open, is my last tournament before the Masters. I have played here since they moved it to the week before the Masters, six years ago. When it moved to this date a lot of people thought that it wouldn’t be a good warm up for the Masters - I always want to play the week before a major so I was coming anyway. However when I got here and saw how they set the course up I was delighted - since then they have continued to improve the set up and make it as much like Augusta as they can. The fairways are cut the same, the rough is cut to the same level and the greens are kept extremely fast all week. On top of all this the course has a lot of risk/reward shots, which again is very similar to Augusta. All in all I feel this is a great warm up for next week.

I had a week off last week and spent it working on my game. Dave Alred came over and we put in a good days work. I spent a lot of time working on my putting during the week, namely on my routine and trying to make it more fluid. Dave and I spent a lot time on this too and I feel that we came to some good conclusions on it. A lot of the work I did during the week was with an eye on the Masters. I also had a look at my notes from Augusta for the last few years to see what sort of shots come up most often and what area of my short game is needed the most.

Having done all the work at home last week I am glad to be here this week in Houston competing. I like to have a week to put my practice to the test before the big examination. This week’s tournament is a funny week in a sense because a lot of what I have been doing during practice is with an eye on the Masters but I am still here to play well and try and win. In working on my game for next week and hopeful that I haven’t missed anything for this week, but I will have to wait till Sunday to answer that.

I got here on Sunday evening and played eighteen holes on Monday - the course hasn’t changed much over the years but I still like to get a couple of rounds in before we start on Thursday. I didn’t play the course on Tuesday as I spent the day practising, going through all areas of my game with a specific focus on the areas I picked out for the Masters, as well as a good bit of time on my putting. On Wednesday I played the pro-am as usual and then spent about an hour working on my putting and chipping after the round.

On Monday I did bit of work with Pete Cowen - there wasn’t anything in particular just a couple of small things I wanted to check with him. He was happy with how things were going and clarified a few points for me, which had been on my mind. The key thing for me now is not to be worrying about it. I know that what he showed me will work its way into my swing over time.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

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