SOUTHAMPTON, BERMUDA - OCTOBER 24: Padraig Harrington of Ireland poses with the trophy after winning the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course on October 24, 2012 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PGA Grand Slam of Golf - Review
It has been a while since I have written a review of a winning week and it feels good to be doing so again. It is always great to win but when it has been a while since your last win it feels even better.
It was a late decision to come to Bermuda for the Grand Slam of Golf; I only got a call up when Ernie injured himself and the two guys in front of me turned down the invite. I was due to play in Shanghai this week but when the opportunity to play in the Grand Slam arose it was an easy decision to make. It is a perk of being a major champion that you always have a chance to play in this tournament, as only current or previous major winners can play.
This was my third time coming to Bermuda for the Grand Slam and in the two previous times I was beaten in a play-off. I felt coming over here that I had some unfinished business, so to come here and win makes it all the more enjoyable.
Seeing as I got the call late it meant that I could only get here in time for the pro-am and as such I felt at a little disadvantage to the other guys as they had more time to get a practice round if they wanted. It was hard playing the pro-am and trying to get a good feel for the course but luckily I liked the look and feel of the course pretty much straight away. There were plenty of birdie holes and then a few tough holes that you were happy to par. I have been playing well all year so I wasn't worried about my game but when I saw the course I felt it suited me. There were a lot of wedge shots and I have improved this area of my game no end this year. I was second on the PGA Tour from 125 yards and in, with Steve Stricker pipping me at the end of the season. While I didn't get a chance to play here before, I was happy that my two years playing at Mid Ocean would be of benefit in terms of knowing what to expect with the wind.
Tuesday was our first round and I played lovely golf all day. I made seven birdies and two bogeys to shot five under par. The two bogeys I made were actually poor mental mistakes - I three putted the par three third from fifteen feet and then on the par three sixteenth I hit a poor chip shot which led to a bogey. The rest of the round was pretty straight forward; I made seven birdies and could have made a few more. This gave me a two shot lead over Bubba and three shots over Webb.
It is always hard to play with a lead especially in this format, especially as we were all playing with each other. At the start of the second round I found it hard not to watch my playing partners. I was definitely getting sucked into trying to protect my lead rather than going out and playing my own game. Thankfully I realised this early on and was able to get myself back into my own routine. Normally I don't look at leaderboards but in this case everyone was playing with me so it was difficult not to know what was going on. I didn't feel as comfortable with my game either which didn't help; I had hit a few pulls on the range with my driver and as a result I was worried that I was going to hit it left on the course, which led to me hitting a few wide right. However I was delighted to see that the old Padraig kicked in and I made some good recovery shots and held a few crucial putts when I had too. Of all the things this week it was my putting that will give me the most confidence going forward as I have struggled with the putter this year, but this week it was feeling much more like the old days.
Through nine holes it was actually quite tight - I was one ahead of Bubba and Webb. However I made three birdies in a row from the eleventh to move to four ahead and had a comfortable lead. Webb got one back on the fourteenth and then missed a good chance on the fifteenth to narrow the gap again. The toughest and most daunting hole of the course is the par three 16th and so even though I was three shots ahead I knew that I still wasn't over the line yet. In round one when we got there it was a perfect three iron for me but I had left my three iron out to allow me to bring my hybrid, so I with this in mind I brought the three iron for the second round. And true to form when I got there it was a perfect hybrid! I hit a hard five iron to just short of the green; I couldn't have hit it any better and it only just made it over the hazard. It was here that I holed the most satisfying putt of the tournament. It was about a six footer for par to stay three ahead and I rolled it in the middle. I parred the seventeenth to Webb's birdie to leave me two ahead playing the last. After he chipped it onto the green in three it meant that I had three putts to win, which I duly took.
It was very satisfying to win; even though there was only four of us playing it still felt like a final round. All the same feelings are there when it comes down to it. It was good to have those feelings and to hole the putts when I had too. Another great thing about winning here was that I wasn't rushing off to the airport. I am here until Friday so I have got to relax and enjoy my win. I have realised now that they don't come around that often so it is important to enjoy them when they do.
I am off now for ten days until the Barclays Singapore Open, so I will be enjoying my win for another while.
Padraig wins PGA Grand Slam of Golf !
Padraig makes it third time lucky after two playoff defeats in Bermuda with a one stroke win at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Playing solid golf yet again, he was never behind in the second round and increased his starting two shot lead to four after a hat trick of birdies from the 11th hole. He was able to afford the luxury of a closing bogie to shoot another impressive round of 67. His nine under par total was good enough to win by one from Webb Simpson who made two late birdies to make a fight of it but Padraig was always in control. Onwards and upwards!
Promising opening round of five under par sees Padraig lead the field by two shots going into tomorrows final round in Bermuda. Seven birdies and two bogies (both on par 3's) made up his card on a day where he played very solid golf. He will be hoping for more of the same tomorrow as he chases the 600K dollar first prize.
PGA Grand Slam of Golf - Preview
This week I was supposed to be in China playing the BMW Masters but I received a late call up to the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. Ernie Els injured himself, had to pull out and I was next on the qualifying list. I received word on Saturday morning, accepted the invite and changed my travel plans, from flying to Bermuda rather than Shanghai on Sunday morning. I got here on Sunday evening just in time for the Welcome Party.
This is my third time playing in the Grand Slam, but my first time as an alternate. In 2007 and 2008 I was here as a current major winner, whereas this year I am here because of my performance in the 2012 majors and also because I am a past major champion, which is a nice perk.
When I played in '07 and '08 it was hosted on the Mid Ocean Course, however it has since moved to Port Royal Golf Club. The unfortunate thing about my late call up is that I haven't played the course before. If I had known I was playing I would have come out a few days earlier to get in a practice round, but seeing as I only arrived on Sunday night it means that the pro-am will be my first and only look at the course.
It is not a very stressful tournament as we play eighteen holes on Tuesday and then another eighteen holes on Wednesday. It is a fairly relaxed and informal atmosphere; as with many of events like this at the end of the year the players are almost in holiday mode already, but it is hard not to be when you are in a place like Bermuda. However it is important to keep your mind in tournament mode as it is still very competitive and no one wants to lose. In my two other appearances here I was beaten in play-offs by Angel Cabrerra and JIm Furyk, so it is nice to be back to have a chance to get my name on the trophy.
I am feeling good about my game and looking forward to playing. I would like to have had more notice so that I could have come out earlier but there isn't anything I can do about it. I played the course on Monday in the pro-am and liked it. There are some very good shots required on the course and some tricky holes. When you throw in the fact that it can get very windy, it means that the course has the potential to play quite tough.
This year I am competing against Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley for the title. It is stiff competition but I know that I am playing well enough to win. I need to hole a few putts which I haven't been doing during the year, but over the last few weeks it has certainly improved. It would be very nice to be here and secure my first win of 2012.