GULLANE, SCOTLAND - JULY 17: Padraig Harrington of Republic of Ireland smiles from the range ahead of the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield on July 17, 2013 in Gullane, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
To finish in a tie for 54th meant a disappointing Open Championship for me. Every week I play I am teeing it up with winning on my mind, so to have finished my last round well before the leaders teed off is not what I am looking for from any tournament but especially a Major. I was disappointed when I finished yesterday but more so after my round on Saturday as I knew that if I shot a good third round score I could get myself back into the tournament. To shoot six over par was poor and it meant that I was out in one of the very early final round groups. When I played my final round the course was ripe for scoring - the course was set up very fair and with little wind when I was out it was there for the taking. I shot one under par and felt that I had left a few shots behind me. However as the day wore on it got more windy and made conditions much tougher. As I was watching it on the television I was thinking to myself that there would be a few people very happy to buy my round of one under par!
It was another frustrating week for me in that I just didn’t make enough birdies - like the US Open I only made six. But unlike the US Open I only made my birdies on the par fives; I had no birdies on the par fours or the par threes. I would have to say that this is probably the first time in my career that I have managed to do this over a four round tournament. I hit a few shots in close in a few of the rounds but just couldn’t hole them when I did. It is a long week when you are only making six birdies, because the problem is that when you drop a shot you just don’t feel like you are going to make it back again. My driving accuracy and greens in regulation were good; the only problem was that I didn’t hit it close enough and most of my putts were from distance. All in all my stats showed that I didn’t hit my wedges close enough and that I chipped below average, both areas being key in trying to contend in any tournament and especially in a major.
I watched practically the entire final round and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is rare that I sit down and watch much golf but the way it set up yesterday I was looking forward to it. There were a lot of players in with a shout starting out and after seeing the course set up I felt that someone was going to shoot a good score. In the end it was Phil that played the golf and holed the putts; unfortunately they didn’t show him on the front nine but the golf he played on the last six holes was fantastic. He hit some quality shots coming in and then held some clutch putts.
I am off for a week before I head to the States for a five week run of tournaments; I am playing an extra one so as to boost my Fed Ex Cup standing. I am currently close to the cut off for The Barclays, the first play off event, so need to get up the rankings a bit. However, I am looking forward to my week off to recharge the batteries and get ready for the PGA. I will be practising at home and focusing on my wedge play and short game.
I know that my game is in good shape and that it is only a matter of being patient. I had hoped that The Open would have been the week it would all come together but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
I will enjoy being at home for the week basking in the sun.
After an early exit from the Scottish Open I arrived at Muirfield for The Open on Saturday afternoon. I played a full round on both Saturday and Sunday and then nine holes on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Missing the cut at the Scottish was very disappointing but I must say getting here early has been great. I got to play the course at the weekend, which has meant that I have been able to take it relatively easy on Monday, Tuesday and today. I really haven't done too much this week, in fact it has felt great knowing that I played the course last weekend, so I have been very relaxed during this week.
The course is in very good condition, firm and bouncy, but as fair as a links can be. This is probably the one Open course on the rota that all the players like and it is very hard to find any issue with Muirfield. This year the rough is heavy and it is playing hard and fast, exactly how the R&A would like to have every Open Championship. The only complaint they might have is that the forecast is for there to be very little wind for the week.
The last time the Open was here I ended up bogeying the last hole to miss the playoff by a shot. I thought when I was playing the last that I needed a birdie to have any chance as I was a couple behind Ernie. I took driver and pulled it into the bunker and could only chip out sideways. It is probably the shot I would most like to re-hit during my career. I was gutted after it panned out that I missed the four man playoff by one shot, but I don't regret taking driver as at the time I needed to make a birdie.
As I played the course during practise my rounds from 2002 came back to me. I remember playing super golf all week but not putting great. The over riding memory of the week was the storm that came in on Saturday afternoon, when it was the coldest I have ever been on a golf course.
This year the course is playing much firmer and there is more rough. The rough here is equally as heavy as Carnousite in 1999, so there is a huge premium on hitting fairways this week. It is more important to hit fairways and have a longer shot in than to try and over-power the course from the tee. I am feeling good about my preparation - I have played three rounds on the course now and managed to get a couple of different winds. I am happy with my game and have changed driver as I struggled with my old one last week as it had a tendency to go right - this new one is coming out on much better lines for me. The other change in my bag this week is a three iron bent to two iron loft, allowing me to take out my hybrid and put this club in as a driving iron.
I'm am feeling ready and looking forward to getting started tomorrow. I have a late tee time, 1pm, with Richie Ramsay and Michael Thompson. I am looking forward to getting going and trying to add another claret jug to the two I already have.