MAYNOOTH, IRELAND - JUNE 28: Padraig Harrington of Ireland during the second round of the Irish Open at Carton House Golf Club on June 28, 2013 in Maynooth, Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
It was a very disappointing Irish Open for me this year. I was feeling good going into the week and I really liked how the course was set up so to miss the cut was extremely disappointing. I shot rounds of one under and two over to miss the cut by a shot, although when I finished my round on Friday I was hopeful that one over may make the cut as the weather forecast was poor for the afternoon. However when I got in and saw the scoring I knew that it was unlikely to make the cut. In the end it was closer to going to one under than one over par.
My two rounds could have and should have been much better. I left a lot of shots on the course - over the two rounds I dropped a few shots from around the greens and I also hit a few poor wedge shots. That said I managed to shot one under par in the first round which gave me the chance to get into the tournament with a good round on Friday. I started my second round on the 10th and made three solid pars, leaving me in a good position to make a move forward over the next six holes. The 13th to the 18th had two reachable par fives and a driveable par four so you felt that you could make good inroads on them. However I played these holes poorly and dropped shots on the 14th and the 16th and only made one birdie on the 18th. This put me on the cut line with nine holes to go whereas if I had played them well I would have been standing on my 10th hole feeling good and moving into the tournament. My back nine was something similar, I played the tough holes well and the easy holes not so. In the end I missed the cut and there is nothing more disappointing than missing the cut at the Irish Open; the crowds turned out to see us play and contend but I didn't perform.
I felt bad for everyone involved in Carton House that Rory, Graeme, Darren and Myself missed the cut. They put a lot into the tournament and got the course in great condition, but none of us could make the cut let alone mount a challenge for the title. However they did still get great numbers in to watch - I saw that there was over 80,000 people there for the week which was a great turn out, especially with so many sporting events going on at the weekend.
I spent Friday afternoon practising at the GUI academy as it was more sheltered than the range. I was checking my phone regularly more in hope than anything else. I got some good work done on the range and spent most of my time working on my wedge play as it hasn't been up to scratch this year. I am off for a week now and I will be doing some further work on my wedges and getting some links practice in before I head to the Scottish Open next week followed by The Open Championship.
It is Irish Open week, which is one of the biggest weeks of my year. This is like the fifth major for me as well as the rest of the Irish players. We have all grown up going to and watching this tournament and wanting to win it; I won my first and only Irish Open back in 2007 and ever since I have been trying hard to add a second. This week we are back at Carton House; the Irish Open was last held here in 2006 and it suffered from bad weather the two years it was there. This year the forecast is pretty good, there isn’t supposed to be much rain but some decent wind, which will make it tough. When we were last here the course was set up in a US Open vein however this year it is set up in a much more playable way - the rough is nowhere near as heavy and around the greens there is more scope for someone who is a good chipper of the ball. I think that they have got the set up of the course perfect, you are rewarded for good shots and if you hit it in the rough it is tricky to control the ball. Since I was here last in 2006 the course has matured greatly and the condition is fantastic, which should give us an exciting tournament. There will be a lot of birdies and bogeys, which makes for great viewing for the spectators.
I got home on Monday morning from the US and took it somewhat easy on Monday. I did some practice at my house and rested for a few hours. I played nine holes on Tuesday and then the pro-am Wednesday, which my team won. It was my first time seeing the course since the last staging of the tournament and I was amazed at how much the course had come on and also impressed at the condition of the course, especially the greens. On Tuesday I played with Kevin Phelan, the Irish amateur, John Kelly and Tyler McCumber. It was a good nine holes; it was nice to see Kevin play up close as I had heard a lot about him over the last couple of years. He is a really nice player; I will be watching him closely during the summer to see if he makes the Walker Cup team.
On Tuesday I got to do some work with Pete Cowan and Paul Hurrion, who were both over for a few days. It was great to get the two of them together so that we could discuss a few things about my game. They were both very happy with what I have been doing and how I am swinging it. On Wednesday I played in the morning pro-am, which we won by a shot; I always like to win the pro-ams as it means that I had a competitive round and that I had to hole a few putts that mattered. After the presentation I did some putting work with Paul Hurrion as I was struggling a little bit with my alignment. We managed to sort out the issue I was having and by the end of the session I was feeling much better about it. I didn’t do any work on my long game, as I am happy with what I had done on Tuesday.
This is a big week for all the Irish players and it can also be a busy week and so it is important to conserve your energy. Over the years I have found that I have tried to do too much at the Irish Open and end up being flat by the time the tournament comes around. With this in mind I have tried not to do too much this year, especially as it is my fourth tournament in a row. I am happy with the work I have done and know that my game is in good order, my short game is getting back to where it used to be and I am feeling a lot more confident with the putter. All in all I know that I am ready for a big week; it would be great if this were it, as I would like nothing more than to add another Irish Open to my collection. Hopefully the weather will stay good and the crowds will come out; it would be nice to see if we can equal last year’s crowd numbers. The key to doing this is for myself and the rest of the Irish players to get ourselves into contention on Sunday. I know I will be trying hard.