CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 09: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his second shot out of the bunker on the second hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 9, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
BMW Championship - Review
The FedEx Cup has come to an end for me this year. I had to finish in the top five in the BMW Championship last week to make it into the Tour Championship. In the end I finished in a tie for sixteenth on ten under par, seven shots behind the score I needed. It is disappointing not to be going to Atlanta for the final Play-Off event as it is a course that I like and have played well on before. However by not making it, I now have three weeks off to recharge the batteries so that I am refreshed for the end of season.
Last week was a bit of a mixed bag really. I started off with a two under par first round, which felt like a distinctly average score as the scoring was very good. I think I was around 40th on two under, which shows how good the scoring was when you consider that there was only seventy players in the field. My second round of seven under par was a lot better in terms of score but I actually felt that I hit the ball better on Thursday. The main difference in the two days was that I holed a few putts - its amazing what holing a few putts does for your score.
My weekend scores of two-under and one-over were not great considering how the course was playing. I didn't hit the ball that well over the weekend - I developed a cut during the week and I couldn't figure out what I was doing. I wasn't getting a great strike on the ball either, which meant that I hit a few shots that looked like decent shots but as they weren't struck well they didn't end up being good shots. That said I still played well enough to score better than I actually did but I didn't get the ball up and down when I needed to in order to keep my rounds going. I hit a lot of good chips shots during the week but one or two average ones cost me.
I think knowing that I needed to finish in the top five made me try a little too hard at times which making me force things. It is hard to be patient when you know the course is playing easy and that you need to be in the top five. As a result of not qualifying for the Tour Championship and not being involved in the Ryder Cup, it means that I am now getting a three week break, which will be usual having three weeks off at this time of year as historically I am very busy from now until the end of the year. I am actually looking forward to taking it easy for the next three weeks. I will be able to get some work done with Pete and also get into the gym and with Liam.
Whilst I didn't finish where I wanted to in the BMW, I am still coming away feeling good as I am confident that I have established the trouble with my putting. I have done a lot of good work on it over the last two weeks and I felt that I putted a lot better as a result of it. It still felt a little strange but as the week went on it was getting more and more comfortable. I will be spending a lot of time on this over the next three weeks.
So all in all it is disappointing to be knocked out of the FedEx Cup, but as with everything there is a silver lining - I am getting three weeks off. After three weeks I will be really looking forward to getting out and playing until the end of the season.
Final round of one over par left Padraig in a tie for 16th place and 43rd in the FedEx Cup race. This means that he will miss the final event, the Tour Championship in Atlanta. He got off to a promising start with a birdie three on the first hole and was still one under par playing the difficult par three 17th hole. He left his tee shot and chip shot short and walked off with a double bogey five. Rory McIllroy won the tournament with a twenty under par total.
Third round of two under par 70 leaves Padraig having to shoot a low number on Sunday to make the play off finals. Five birdies and three bogies made up his card on a day when scoring was low. It looks like Padraig will need a top five finish to progress to Atlanta.
Superb second round of seven under par 65 leaves Padraig at nine under par for the tournament and within touching distance of making the top 30 in the FedEx Cup race. Starting on the back nine, he had six birdies in eight holes from the par four 13th hole. An eagle three on his last hole, the par five 9th put the icing on the cake as he hit two great shots to fifteen feet and holed the putt to put himself in contention. Thirteen under par leads at the half way stage, no cut is in operation this week as there is a limited 70 man field playing.
Fine opening round of two under par 70 leaves Padraig in a tie for 16th place going into round two. Five birdies and three bogies made up his card on a day where two three putts did the damage.
Padraig is at Crooked Stick golf club this week for the third leg of the FedExCup play off series. The Pete Dye creation was his first design and remains a fair test of golf with wide fairways and tough approach shots. The par 72 layout stretches to over 7,300 yards and the top 30 players from the seventy man field will progress to the Tour Championship finals in Atlanta. Padraig currently stands in 56th place and needs a top ten finish to progress further. Padraig tees off in the opening round at 11.50am local time with Pat Perez and Ryan Palmer.
BMW Championship - Preview
This week I am in Indianapolis for the BMW Championship, the third tournament of the Play-Offs. This event has historically been held in Chicago but this year we are playing at Crooked Stick - most people will remember John Daly winning the PGA Championship here back in 1991. As far as I know this is the first time the Tour has been here since then. The good thing about it being so long since a tournament was held here is that everyone is in the same boat in terms of knowing the course; we are all playing it for the first time. Also, the fact that we all got here on Monday night makes it harder again as we only have two days practice.
I got here on Monday night so that I could get out to the course early Tuesday morning and also Pete Cowen is here for a few days and I hadn’t seen him since the PGA. He watched me hitting balls for a while on the range and he was happy with what he saw. There wasn’t really anything wrong, we just spent some time working on the areas that we have been focusing on for the last few months. After working with Pete I spent some time practising my wedges, chipping and bunker play, before I spent a good bit of time on the putting green working on my putting - I have a few things to work on in my putting which I am happy about. After all this I played nine holes, my first look at the course. I played the front nine and it was very wet as there had been a lot of rain last week. The rough is quite high and the greens soft; there is definitely a premium on hitting fairways this week. The greens are so soft that coming from the fairway from any distance allows the player to control the ball.
On Wednesday I played in the morning pro-am. I started on the first at 7.50 am and by the time I got to the 15th a storm came in and we were pulled off the course. The pro-am was reduced to nine holes as a result and it meant that I didn’t get to play the last three holes; I did walk them just not hit any shots. The course is in good condition other than the fact that it is soft and is definitely playing a lot easier due to this; if it was firm this would be a very tough test. It is a very good course with a lot of good holes, but I wouldn’t want to playing the holes on a cold wet day.
To progress to the last Play-Off event I have to finish in the top five this week, although it would also depend on how other results go. I reckon I may as well win and move onto Atlanta in the top five with a chance to win the FedEx Cup,
This week my courtesy car is a Rolls Royce Ghost. I have been getting some great looks when I pull up at lights and restaurants, especially as Ronan insists on sitting in the back seat so that it looks like I am chauffeuring him around.
I am feeling good about my game and have done a lot of work on my short game. I am looking forward to playing this week and all being well I will be heading home on Sunday night with the BMW Championship trophy.