AVONDALE, LA - APRIL 25: Padraig Harrington prepares to putt on the 9th at the end of his round during Round Two of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 25, 2014 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
After two weeks off it was good to get back playing again. Although the week didn't go as I had hoped in terms of performance, I felt that there were good signs in all the rounds. As it turned out I was lucky to be playing on Saturday and Sunday. When I finished on Friday I was sure that I had missed the cut - I was two under par and the cut was at three under, but twenty minutes later it had moved back to two under. I was amazed as the holes coming in on both nines weren't playing tough and actually provided quite a few birdie chances.
Having shot two under in the first round I was trying to go out on Friday and shoot a decent score and get moving up the leaderboard, but I wasn't able to get it going. I made one birdie and one bogey on my front nine, which is the back nine of the course. It was frustrating as the course was there for the taking. Then I started back with a birdie on the first and another on the second. On the fourth I pushed my drive into the bunker and from there I hit it into the bunker short of the green. I hit a really nice bunker shot from 30 yards to four feet but missed he putt. Then on he the sixth I had a six footer for par and again missed which left me on two under and in need of a birdie. I missed from about eight feet on the seventh and then about 20 feet on the eighth. After I parred the ninth I was sure I had missed.
Because the cut went to two under it meant that there were a lot of guys playing on Saturday and so another cut after the third round was required. It was a struggle for me to get anything going again. The real killer for me was my ninth, the 18th hole. I was in the middle of the fairway hitting a five wood in for my second shot, which I miss-hit into the water and took a double bogey. It meant that I had to make a few birdies on the back nine to make the cut. I got to my last hole at 2 under and in need of one more birdie to make it to Sunday. I hit a five iron to 50 feet and a managed to hole it to get in on the mark. Prior to this, the longest putt I have holed this year was 32 feet!
Sunday wasn't a good day for me and I shot two over par. I got off to a bad start, dropping four shots in the first four holes. It was a tough day as it was windy. I made a few birdies from the fourth on, but dropped a couple more shots. It was a pity as I knew that if I could shoot a good score it would move me up nicely as everyone was going to find it tough.
In the end I finished on one under par for the week which was poor. However I felt that there were some good signs in all the rounds. On Sunday I held out nicely, a lot of times for pars but I was happy with it. I definitely need to play more to get myself into the right frame for scoring.
After two weeks off I am back in the US for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. I haven't been here since 2008 and as far as I remember I had a decent week here then, finishing in the top-10. I really enjoyed my couple of weeks off; after playing four weeks in a row it was great to get home and see Caroline and the kids. It was strange watching The Masters on television, but other than that it was nice being home. I did a lot of practice during the break, mainly on my short game and wedges.
I played nine holes on Tuesday and then the pro-am Wednesday. It was good to get out on the course as I didn't play much when I was at home and whilst I have played this course a few times, I have not played it in 6 years. I was able to remember most of the holes coming here and of the few I couldn't, I remembered when I stood on the tee. It has played longer in practice this week than I remember it, as it seems that I have been hitting a lot of shots from 180 to 220 yards. I remember this course being hard and fast but so far there hasn't been much run on the ball. That said, I know that as the week goes on the courses we play tend to get shorter. I like the set up of the course, there is no rough and a few little run offs around the greens, which are not too big. It would be a great course to be a member of as it would make you try to hit it long and you would have to learn to chip and putt.
I did a lot of good work when I was at home and I am looking forward to seeing it in action. The majority of my time was spent on my putting, chipping and wedge play, which are the areas that make your score and of late, I haven't been scoring well. I am hitting the ball well enough to be contending events but I am just not holing enough putts. I am well down in the putting and scrambling stats and these used to be a strength of mine. The way I see it is purely a case of putting in the work and they will come back.
I am looking forward to getting back into competitive action and after watching a couple of tournaments on the TV, I am raring to go. I am early/late this week, 7.20am on Thursday and 12.20pm on Friday. In general I prefer this draw but especially this week as I am a bit jet lagged and finding that getting up in the mornings is no problem, so the early start won't feel too bad.