FARMINGDALE, NY - AUGUST 25: Padraig Harrington of Ireland and his caddie Ronan Flood walk under a brindge between hole two and three during the third round of The Barclays at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park August 25, 2012 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Barclays - Review
The Barclays, the first of the Play-Offs got off to a flyer of a start for me with a course record 7 under par 64. My second and third round scores were poor but the funny thing is that I actually didn’t play that much different. All week I played very well but in the first round I holed a few more putts and then in the second and third rounds I just didn’t get it up and down when I missed a green. In my final round I shot three under par to finish on two under for the week, which could easily have been four shots better without any difficulty if a few more putts had of dropped.
With the way the FedEx Cup is set up you have to be in the top 125 to be in The Barclays and then from there you have to play well for four weeks to have a chance of winning it. I went there looking to win my first tournament of the year and to get off to a good start in the FedEx Cup. My first round was exactly what I wanted but unfortunately I wasn't able to keep it going for the second and third rounds. It wasn’t that I played badly in the these rounds it more that when I missed a green I didn’t get up and down and also when I needed to hole a putt to save a par or make a birdie, I didn’t. In my final round I got the ball up and down and holed the putts to save pars when I needed them. I am delighted with the way that I played all week - I hit a lot of very good shots and I felt a lot better over my putts even though I didn’t hole many in rounds two and three. However in rounds one and four I held some good putts and made some good recoveries.
Looking back on the week it is disappointing to have got off to such a good start and not to have finished better. I had a good chance to move myself well up the rankings but didn’t take advantage of it. The good thing is that I know I am playing well and that I am more than capable of winning one of the next two weeks. My scores last week were up and down but a lot of this has to do with the fact that I played two rounds in the afternoon. I have never seen a course that played so much harder in the afternoon compared to the morning. In the mornings you felt as you if you could shoot a good score but in the afternoon the greens got very firm and fast and made scoring extremely hard. Nearly all the good scores shot during the week were in the morning. When you missed a green in the afternoon it was so hard to get it up and down due to that fact they were so hard and fast. I would definitely say they were the fastest greens I have played on. That said I know that I should have done better, I wasn’t unhappy with how I chipped I just didn’t get them close.
I am feeling good about my chances over the next two weeks and my finish on Sunday moved me into a position that makes me almost a certainty for the third Play-Off event, which takes some pressure off this coming week. I know that I have two weeks to win one so as to give myself a chance to win the FedEx Cup.
All in all I am happy with how I played and looking forward to next week. I would have liked to have scored better in rounds two and three but it was just one of those weeks.
Unfortunately I got the call from Jose Maria on Sunday afternoon to say that he wasn’t picking me for this years Ryder Cup. It was what I was expecting but still disappointing. I know that once you do not qualify for the team, you have no right to expect a pick and I stick to that. I can’t argue with his picks as they are very good players and will perform. We chatted for a while, I wished him well and passed on my best wishes to the team. I look forward to watching it on television and cheering on the Europeans.
For the moment though I am focused on the Fed Ex Cup and trying to win it.
Padraig finishes the first of the FedEx cup events with a fine three under par 68 which gave him a top 20 finish and up to 48th in the playoff rankings. Four birdies and just one bogie on the par four 5th hole made up his card on another tough scoring day around the Bethpage Black course. Nick Watney won the event with a fine ten under par total. The top 100 golfers in the rankings now move on to the next event, the Deutsche Bank Championship, with the top 70 progressing after that event.
Padraig shoots another round of 75 to leave himself tied in 43rd position going into Sundays final round. After a bright start where he birdied the par five 4th hole, he dropped a shot at the 8th to be out in level par. A poor back nine yet again cost him dearly as he dropped four more shots including a double bogey on the par five 13th hole. He tees off at 9.40am local time with Jimmy Walker.
Disappointing second round of four over par 75 for Padraig as he struggled in the tougher afternoon conditions. Starting on the back nine, he opened with three bogies and worse followed as he was five over par after eight holes. He managed to steady the ship with a string of pars and one lone birdie on the par five 7th hole. He is now in tied 16th position and will be looking for a return to Thursdays good form.
< br /> Superb opening round of seven under par 64 sees Padarig lead the field by one at the Barclays. A slow start saw him one over par after just three holes but two birdies had him out in 35 shots. The fireworks began with six birdies in seven holes from the par four 11th hole to come home in a stunning 29 shots. A win here would see him rise to number one in the FedEx cup race along with valuable world ranking points. He tees off late Friday at 12.25pm local time.
Padraig is in New York for the first of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Barclays. It is being played on the infamous Bethpage Black course which is as tough as it comes as a championship layout and has a five handicap limit to be allowed to play it! Padraig has fond memories of the course as he performed extremely well here in 2002 in the US Open championship where he finished in a tie for 7th. The top 125 in the playoff standings compete this week with the top 100 qualifying to carry on. With a 1.4 million dollar purse it is a lucrative time to play good golf! Padraig tees off early in the opening round at 7.32am local time (+5GMT) with Troy Matteson and Ted Potter.
The Barclays - Preview
Last week I was on holidays with my family - we spent a couple of nights in Manhattan and then the rest of the week out on Long Island. I too it easy enough during the week, hanging out at the pool with Paddy and Ciaran and generally doing very little. I played a couple of games of golf with a few friends, which was good fun.
After my week off I am now looking forward to the start of the FedEx Cup Play Offs. The first of the four Play Off events is The Barclays, taking place this week at Bethpage. The focus for the next three weeks is to get yourself into the top thirty for the Tour Championship. However to have a chance of winning the FedEx Cup itself you need to win at least one of the Play Off events. It is a good format because anyone that starts the Play Offs can win if they get hot for a few weeks.
I have played two US Opens at Bethpage - in 2002 I finished fifth and in 2009 I missed the cut. It’s a course that I really enjoy but I also find quite tough. There are no give away holes out here and you have to keep you focus the whole way around. I have played 27 holes in practice this week and I have to say it is a long golf course. Normally on the courses we play there are several wedge holes but here there are very few. I think over the 27 holes that I played I only hit four wedges. Thankfully the rough is not as tough as it was for the US Open and is much more manageable this week. If you hit it in the rough you still feel that you get it to the green. The course is in fantastic condition and it looks like it has been closed for a while to get it ready for us.
After my week off I seem to have developed a bit of a slice. However after an outing on Monday and two days of practice it is going away. I wasn’t overly happy with how I hit it for the couple of days but by the end of the pro-am on Wednesday I was beginning to hit it better. Further to this, some of my poor shots on Wednesday were due to a recurrence of my neck pain. I haven’t had it for a while but it came on during the pro-am. Dale Richardson came out to see me on my ninth hole and worked on me for ten minutes and freed it up. It was much better on the back nine; in fact I barely noticed it. I would like to have played a bit better in practice but then it is only practice. When I finished on Wednesday I would like to have gone to the range but because of my neck issue I decided the best thing to do was to do nothing.
I know that I have been playing well for a long time now so I am not worried about how I hit it during practice. The important thing for me during the week is to continue the good work I did on my routines at the PGA Championship. Bob Rotella is here this week and we have had a good chat about things and in particular my putting. We spent a good bit of time working on this and it has definitely helped.
I’m looking forward to getting going and to trying to claim my first win of the year. This is the last week for Ryder Cup qualification but unfortunately any world ranking points earned here don’t count. They only count at the Johnnie Walker Championship but there are not enough points available there for me to qualify so I am relying on a captains pick. With that in mind I know that I need a big week here this week to have any hope. There is certainly no lack of incentive to do well this week, so I am looking to get myself into contention on Sunday afternoon and see how I fair from there.