ROCHESTER, NY - AUGUST 09: Padraig Harrington of Ireland walks to the 18th green with his caddie Ronan Flood during the second round of the 95th PGA Championship on August 9, 2013 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The final major championship of the year is over and unfortunately I missed the cut. It was a very frustrating week culminating in a disappointing year in the majors for me. I was hopeful of a good week as I had done some good work with both Pete Cowen and Bob Rotella, however in the end I got caught between the two. I tried to do what I had worked on with both Pete and Bob but didn't manage to do either properly. This was certainly the case in the first round and then in the second round I committed to staying in my shots, which is what I had been working on with Pete. I certainly hit the ball a lot better and gave myself plenty of birdie chances.
My first round really put me on the back foot in terms of making the cut. After shooting six over par I knew that I needed to shoot three under in the second round to make it and on this course that was no easy task. I gave myself the chances to do it but just couldn't convert them. I was one under for most of my round on Friday but just couldn't get to two under. I missed good chances on both the 12th and 13th and then hit a poor drive on 14 and only made a par. These were the best birdie chances on the back nine so when I didn't make any of them it was always going to be a tough ask over the last few holes. A couple of bad drives on the 17th and 18th cost me bogeys and I finished with a round of 71 for a total of seven over par and missed the cut by four shots.
The funny thing is that as much as I struggled on Thursday with my game it was actually my chipping that ultimately cost me. I dropped all my shots around the greens and when I went back over my round I reckon that I turned a 71 or 72 into a 76. If I had shot one or two over par then it wouldn't have been so bad but when I missed a shot I compounded the error by hitting a poor chip or missing a short putt.
I stayed around for the weekend and did some practice working on what Pete had been saying to me. When I did it right I really hit the ball well and as soon as I didn't do it I could see the difference straight away. Overall I don't think I could hit it any better on the range over the weekend, but the thing for me now is to take it to the course and trust it.
Missing the cut was a big blow to me in terms of the FedEx Cup. I went outside the 125 cut off and was looking for a good week to push me up the rankings, but instead I will be dropping another spot or two. I am now heading to Greensboro for the Wyndham Championship knowing that I need to put in a good performance to get to the first event of the Play-offs, The Barclays. Until I see the standings I won't know exactly what I need to do but I am thinking that I will need to finish in the top-25 or so to progress.
All in all it was a disappointing week again, one that I was hopeful of doing well in but instead I missed the cut and had to watch the final round on television. I watched most of it and Jason Dufner certainly deserved to win - he played super golf all day.
Now I head to Greensboro for the Wyndham Championship and then hopefully onto New York for The Barclays.
The final major of the year is here and its hard to believe how quickly the season has gone so far. It only seems like yesterday that I was getting ready for the Masters. I am coming into the week after missing the cut in Reno last week, which is never nice but it did mean that I was able to get to Rochester a day earlier and so get a practice round in before the course got busy. In terms of my game I would have liked to have another couple of rounds in a competitive environment but there's nothing I can do about that.
I played the course on Sunday evening on my own, which was a great time to practice as there was no one around and I was able to take my time and have a good look around. On Monday I had originally planned to play nine holes but I didn't play any in the end, instead I spent a few hours discussing things with Bob Rotella and then spent a bit of time with Pete Cowen. The chat with Bob was great, we talked about all areas of my game and preparation and by the end of it I was feeling really good about what I need to do. I spent a couple hours with Pete working on a few things and discussing the type of shots I have been hitting. We got a few things ironed out and I have a good clear picture of what I need to work on going forward. Overall, it was actually a very productive day even though I didn't play any holes.
On Tuesday and Wednesday I played some holes and did some practice. The range is on the second course and we are able to hit shots into the greens. It is probably the best range I have been on and there is a great wedge area where I have been spending most of my time. I have been hitting wedges before and after I play as no matter how long the course is you always end up hitting a lot of wedge shots. After talking to Bob on Monday it became clear that I wasn't making a good clear decision about each shot I am playing so I have been working on this area on the range and the course. When I do it right I tend to hit a really good shot and when I don't I can see the result in the shot straight away.
The course this week is a typical old style course, tree lined and the majority of the greens slope from back to front. In general you are not in bad shape in the middle of the green on all of the holes. Like all the PGA Championship's there is heavy rough off the fairway, although they have graduated it so that the worst of it is further from the fairway. However, there is certainly a premium on hitting fairways this week. I like the course as the trees give it good definition and mean that you have to move the ball in the air. There is no doubt that it is a tough test, but then it is a major and we wouldn't expect anything else. There are plenty of holes where if you hit the fairway you can go at the pins but if you don't then you are looking at a bogey, if not worse.
As a past Champion of the PGA I attend the Champions Dinner every year, which is always a good night. It is rare in our game that you get so many champions together for a dinner. This year it was Rory's choice of menu and we had roast beef. As always it was good fun.
I am very happy with my preparation for the week and I am feeling in a good pace after the work I have done with both Pete and Bob. The only thing I am not happy about is that I lost money to Shane Lowry in a chipping contest! We had the contest on Wednesday afternoon and although he took the money, the consolation was that it was great practice.
All in all I am feeling good about my game and my preparation and I am looking forward to playing and seeing how the course plays in competition. Hopefully the weather will stay good for us as there are a few storms forecast for the week. Either way I a ready to get going. I am playing with David Toms and Y E Yang for the first two days and we go early Thursday and late Friday.