PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Padraig Harrington of Ireland smiles as he leave the eighth green during the first round of the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club on February 14, 2013 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Padraig returns to a course that he loves as he tees it up this week at the famed Riviera. The 10th hole is one of the most famous short par four holes in golf and the course is a throwback to golf as it was many years ago in America. The tree lined course is not long by todays standards but poses many challenges around the greens. Many commentators liken the course to playing chess as the players have to plot their way around. Padraig tees off at 12.43pm local time with Stephen Ames and Angel Cabrera.
This week we have moved down the coast to Los Angeles for the Northern Trust Open, which is one of the best stops on the PGA Tour schedule. We play probably the best course of the year, Riviera Country Club and get to stay in Santa Monica. The only thing that can be a bit "iffy" is the weather, but this year the forecast is good for the week. I got here on Sunday afternoon and took it easy for the day.
After last week in Pebble, I was looking forward to getting to see Pete Cowen this week. I hit my wedges very poorly during the last two weeks, especially last week, but I spent a few hours with Pete on Monday and as usual he was able to sort out what I was doing in a few minutes. It was actually quite simple, too much shaft lean. I worked on it for a few hours and by the end of my practice session it was feeling a good bit better.
I played eight holes on Tuesday and then the pro-am on Wednesday. As I have been coming here for a number of years now, I know the course well and didn't feel that I needed to get out on the course too much; I was more interested in sorting out my wedge play.
I played the full eighteeen holes in the pro-am and the course is in great condition as always. There haven't been any changes since last year, but this course is tough enough that it doesn't need to be changed.
Even though I missed the cut last week I know that I am playing well and am looking forward to the week ahead. I really like this course and feel that my game is well suited to it. Last week really just felt like one of those weeks when things just don't happen for you, but I am feeling good about all areas of my game. The thing that I need at the moment is tournament rounds, getting used to scoring and getting into contention. This is a good week to start.