DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 22: Padraig Harrington of Ireland on the green at the par 5, 18th hole during the first round of the 2012 DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 22, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
It was really a week of what could have been for me. Every round I played I came off the course feeling like I had left a lot of shots behind me. It was funny to be feeling this way as in practice I had played very poorly and really didn't know what to expect in the tournament. On Thursday morning I was quite apprehensive about how I was going to play. In my warm up I hit a lot of good shots but I had done this on the range earlier in the week as well. It wasn't until I got to the course that I would know how it would be, but once I got going I hit the ball very well and gave myself plenty of chances all day. I ended up shooting five under par despite missing a handful of putts - on the 7th I had a five footer for eagle and I three putted for par, on the 15th I missed from less than five feet again and then on the last hole I missed from seven feet for a birdie. Rarely do you walk off the course shooting five under par and feel like it was only an average score but that was the day. I left the course on Thursday knowing that if I had putted better I could easily have been leading, so after the round I spent about half an hour practicing my putting and never went to the range.
The rest of the week was much the same as round one. Each day I came off the course I felt that I had left shots behind me and they were all on the greens. For the whole week I hit the ball fantastically and gave myself plenty of short birdie chances, but I just wasn't able to convert them all. Even though I finished the week on fourteen under par I am coming away knowing that I could have been a lot better. The only consolation for the winter break is that I did eagle my last hole of the season - I hit a five wood on the 72nd hole to less than two feet, which was really a nice way to finish especially as I had double bogeyed the tenth and bogeyed the eleventh. My eagle on the last got me back to fourteen under which I was also at after nine holes of the final round; at that stage I was thinking about really moving up the leaderboard. However these thoughts were banished pretty quickly after my double bogey on the tenth.
All in all it wasn't a bad week, finishing on a high note by eagling the last for a tie for ninth place. I know that I could have been a lot better if I had putted well but in terms of how I hit the ball I was very happy and the work I did with Pete on Monday made a huge difference immediately, but it wasn't fully bedded in. I am finished for the season now and looking forward to doing some more work on it and I know it will only get better. Another key area for me for the winter is my short game and particularly my putting. It has been a lot better over the last couple of months and again I am confident that after a few weeks solid practice it will be as good as ever.
I am coming away from last week both happy and a little disappointed. I am happy with the how I hit the ball and the progress that I have made all year but disappointed to have left so many shots out on the course. It could so easily have been a much better week. However in the end I have to settle for ninth, which is a solid week to finish the season off.
For now I am staying in Dubai for a family holiday, taking it easy and not thinking too much about golf. It will be all about the water park with Paddy and Ciaran.
Congrats to Rory on another great win and an amazing season.
It is my last event of the year and the final tournament of the 2012 European Tour season. I am in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the culmination of the The Race to Dubai. I played here in 2009 and 2010, but I missed out on playing last year which, whilst very disappointing, makes this year more satisfying.
I am coming into this week's tournament after missing the last two consecutive cuts, something I haven't done all year. I was naturally disappointed to miss them but more worried with how I played. The last two weeks I have struggled with my game, hitting more poor shots in a round than I have all year. On top of this I haven't holed many putts, so really nothing has gone the way it was supposed too.
I got here on Sunday evening from Hong Kong and came to the course on Monday morning. I spent most of the day on the range with Pete Cowen working on my game. We spent a few hours going through a few things - it was actually stuff that we have worked on before but I needed reminding and also a few drills that would help without me having to think about it. After talking it through with Pete and then spending some time working on it, it definitely felt much better and on the range I was hitting lots of good shots. I played the Pro-am on Tuesday and again in my warm up I hit it well, but then on the course I hit a few poor shots. I could see after the round that some of this was down to fact that I wasn't quite focused properly, due to feeling terrible again and really struggling for energy. I was feeling so bad that I didn't do anything after the round, went back to hotel and straight to bed.
On Wednesday I worked with Pete again and then played nine holes with Peter Lawrie. I hit a few poor shots early on in the round but by the end I was hitting it nicely. Overall my preparation for the week hasn't been great; I would like to be playing better and feeling good but it just isn't the case.
The course hasn't changed really since the first year we came here other than the fact there is very little run on the fairways and as a result the course is playing very long. This is very much the case in the mornings, so it will definitely be an advantage to be out later in the day during the week.
This is my last tournament of 2012 and I would love to finish on a high note, however the way my practice has gone I am not feeling very confident. Then sometimes that can be a good thing as you don't have expectations. I have played this game long enough now to know that there is no point in worrying about how practice days go, as once the tournament starts it is generally very different.