PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11: Padraig Harrington of Ireland plays his second shot at the par 4, 10th hole during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2012 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
The Players Championship - Review
My bad run of form continues at Sawgrass; since they moved the tournament to May and changed the grass I have struggled there. This year I came into the tournament after a three week break and was a little apprehensive, but having got off to a decent start I was looking at getting myself into the mix rather than trying to make the cut.
I shot three under in the opening round which had me well placed; I could have been a few shots better but I was still very happy to open up with a 69 especially as I held a nice putt on the last for par. When I was heading out on Friday I was thinking only of pushing on and wasn’t giving the cut a second thought. However I never really got settled and felt a little funny all day - I can’t quite figure what it was but I know that I wasn’t quite 100%. I was more prone to being distracted, including my first tee shot and as result I hit a poor one into a bush, which cost me a double bogey. It wasn’t the start I was looking for but I brushed it off with a birdie on the next and managed to keep myself in it throughout the back nine, which was my front nine. I was comfortable but I was getting by and making pars. After eight holes I was one over for the day and two under par for the tournament. I pushed my tee shot on the 18th into the right rough and from there I hit a good punch shot out that just ran through the green. I ended up making a bogey there and then on the 1st (my 10th hole) as well. Two more poor mistakes through three putts on both the 5th and 6th meant that I was now one over par and fighting to make the cut. In the end I bogeyed the 8th and then birdied the 9th to finish on one over par. When I holed my putt on my last hole I was sure that I was going to make the cut, I couldn’t see the cut staying at level par. By the end of the day there just wasn’t enough players left on the course for it to move out and I was as devastated as I was confident when I finished.
It was very disappointing to miss the cut especially after a solid start. When I looked back on the second round it was clear-cut as to why I missed - even though I didn’t feel 100% and as a result didn’t play my best, it was down to my short game. I didn’t chip and putt on the 18th and the 1st which were straightforward chip shots; I also three putted two key holes coming in, which is four shots without even thinking about anything else. These shots would have left me on three under for the tournament and I would have been thinking of winning, but instead I missed the cut. It is typical of me after a long break, as it always takes me a tournament to get back into being competitive.
I stayed and played a pro-am on Saturday morning and then did some practice in the afternoon. In the pro-am I played nicely and was a little sharper after playing the two rounds of the tournament, which confirmed to me that it was a case of not being tournament ready. I am playing this coming week in the Byron Nelson and then head from there to Wentworth for the BMW PGA. I am disappointed to have missed the cut at the Players but I am looking forward to the next two weeks, as I know that I will be tournament ready.
The Players Championship.
Disappointing second round of 76 for Padraig at the Players Championship leaves him one shot outside the cut at one over par. Starting on the back nine, he got off to a poor start with a double bogey six on the 10th hole but bounced back with a birdie four on his second hole. Two bogies around the turn left him one under par with five hole to play but three short missed putts put paid to his chances.
Fine opening round of three under par 69 leaves Padraig well placed in a tie for 17th place going into his second round. Seven under par leads. Two early birdies got him off to a nice start but two bogies and a finishing birdie four on the par five 9th had him out in 35 shots. He played the back nine solidly with two nice birdies and all pars to leave himself satisfied with his days work. He tees off from the 10th tee late on Friday at 1.07pm in a two ball as Angel Cabrera has withdrawn.
Padraig returns to the USPGA tour after a three week break to compete in the Players Championship. The Pete Dye creation has captured the imagination of golf fans with its infamous island par three 17th hole. It's a course that Padraig plays well after finishing runner up here on two occasions. He will be looking to go one better after his recent good form at the Masters tournament. He tees off at 7.57am local time (+5GMT) with Arjun Atwal and Angel Cabrera.
The Players Championship - Preview
I have been off for three weeks and it has been great. It was a really good break, enough time to get away from tournament play and to get some work done without feeling that I have to rush it so as to get ready to play a tournament. I had Pete Cowen over for a couple of days during my first week so as to give me time after seeing him to work on whatever he had to say. We had a good couple of days - there wasn’t too much to work on, just a few small things that I had talked to him about before but we hadn’t had a chance to do much work on. I spent most of the next week working on trying to get them ingrained into my swing.
During the second and third weeks I had Dave Alred over for a couple of days in each. When he comes over they are intensive days but totally different to my normal practice days. Everything with Dave is about getting you feeling under pressure so as to simulate actual play. He devises practice drills to put you under pressure. Normally you have to achieve something easy before you can move onto the harder task – it’s amazing how hard an easy task becomes when it is done like this. The work I did with him over the four days he was over was great, I really enjoyed it. Frustrating but enjoyable!
I am back in action this week at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. I haven’t really had much success here since the tournament was moved from March to its current date in May. I had done quite nicely here in March, finishing second twice. I can’t put my finger on why I haven’t performed well here since as I like the course and always feel comfortable here. Coming in after a three week break is tough but having worked with Dave I am feeling a lot better than I normally would after such a break. I am also coming here knowing that I am and have been playing well.
I have played this course a lot of times so I haven’t been too worried about getting on the course to practice. I played two lots of nine holes and left it at that, with the majority of my time spent working with Bob Rotella. When I was coming over I read a book about the world free throw (basketball) record holder. It was a great read; he is in his 70’s and holds the record with 2,750 consecutive throws. He put it all down to routine and having the correct one for him. I have spent a lot of time working on my routines over the years and have tried different ones at different times but I have never really settled on one. This week I have spent a lot of time working on it again with Bob. I have tried to reduce the time from when I look at the target for the last time to when I pull the trigger. I like what I have seen but I found it quite tough initially. I definitely feel that it will be a big help in the long term but it could be a distraction at times this week because it is new. I won’t really know until I get out on the course in the tournament to see how it goes. The course is in the best shape I have ever seen it. It has been closed for four weeks and as a result the fairways are like carpets - it is hard to get yourself to take a divot! After three weeks off I am looking forward to getting back into action and it is especially nice to be playing on a course in as good a condition as this. This course is one of the most famous in the world and as you can imagine it is the last three holes that will decide this tournament. It’s never over until the last putt drops as anything can happen on the last three holes here - over the years there have been many calamities. I am looking to get myself into contention come Sunday and give myself a chance of claiming a win.