HOYLAKE, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Padraig Harrington of Ireland during The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on July 16, 2014 in Hoylake, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
It was not the week I was hoping for. I went into the Open feeling good about how things were progressing. I prepared well and really felt ready to play but I never got any momentum going in either of my rounds. I even got the good side of the draw, but wasn't able to take advantage of it.
Missing the cut in The Open is very disappointing, but this year it was more so. When I got off the course on Friday I was told the news about Bob Torrance passing away. While it wasn't a huge shock, as I had been to visit him a few weeks ago and had also been talking to Sam about him at the Scottish Open, it was clearly very sad and poignant. That evening it was great to hear everyone talking about him and all the stories that they had; there are so many great ones, you could write a series of books.
There is no doubt that hearing the news of Bob made my missing the cut a little tougher but also quite insignificant. I would have loved to have be challenging for The Open in Bob's memory.
The real damage in terms of missing the cut for me was done on the Thursday as the weather was perfect. You couldn't ask for better scoring conditions but I was only able to shoot two over par. It was a bad finish that really cost me; I was one over with three to play. With two par fives and a par four to play, I should have been able to shoot level or under par but instead I bogeyed the 16th and 17th and then finished with a birdie. The bogey on the 16th was a killer - I was looking to birdie it but a bad drive was followed by a poor lay up, leaving it in the rough for my third shot. Then we misjudged how far we wanted to pitch it and it ran over the green. All in all it was a badly played hole and then I let it annoy me enough to cause me to bogey the 17. It was extremely disappointing to shot the score I did on Thursday as I started out hitting the ball very well but wasn't able to hole any putts.
Going out on Friday I was on the cut line and knew that I needed to play a solid round to make the cut. I hit a terrible drive on the first but managed to make par and then made a bogey on the second from the middle of the fairway. It didn't get any better from there and in the end I shot six over par and made no birdies. It was really a poor round. Not to make a birdie was particularly poor as there were plenty of chances on the course to make them, but I just wasn't able to hit it close enough to make any.
I stayed and did some work with Pete Cowen over the weekend as I won't see him until the PGA. It was worth staying to work with him as we got some good work done. I flew home on Sunday and got in to see Rory's last few holes. It looked like it was going to get a little exciting for a while but he was playing too well to let anything happen. It was a great win. Right from Thursday morning he took control of the tournament and kept going with it. Well done Rory. It was a fantastic performance.
I am off this week and then head to the States for a few weeks.
The Open Championship is finally here. It is the third major championship of the year but only my first as I didn?t play the Masters or US Open. As a past champion of the Open it's always great to play and this year we are back at Royal Liverpool GC, otherwise known as Hoylake. It was last held here in 2006, which everyone remembers as having the brownest course ever. The weather had been brilliant leading up to the tournament and the course was so dry that when you put your club down you were afraid that it would slip and hit the ball. This year it is very different, it is much greener and softer than normal for a links course.
I got here on Sunday evening but I actually took Monday off. This is very unusual for me at a major but I felt that I needed to take a break and that it would be more important to be rested than practice at the course. I was here a few weeks ago and so I am comfortable with the course - it is a very fair course that is all pretty much in front of you. On Tuesday I played the first six holes and then the last six holes, which was a pretty easy going day. I did a small bit of practice beforehand, then spent about 40 minutes chipping and finished up with some putting. On Wednesday I played the last twelve holes and again spent some time chipping afterwards and finished up with putting again. I am very happy with how my preparation has gone, I feel I am hitting the ball well and my putting is in good shape. It has been a very low key few days for me, much more relaxed than I would normally be. I haven't felt that there is much to do this week; I am happy with how I am hitting it and my short game got better as the week went on last week. When I thought about what I needed to do before Thursday, it was rest that was most important.
Last time we were here it was the most burnt out course I had ever seen. This time it is very green and as a result extremely fair. Like a lot of links courses one of its biggest defense is the fairway bunkering - if you hit it in a fairway bunker it is a penalty. You have to take your punishment and not get too smart. It is hard to know what the scoring will be like this time round, a lot of people think that it will be good but I am not too sure. There are plenty of good holes that can cause problems on the course. There are four par fives which are reachable, which gives you opportunities to make birdies too. It is a super golf course in very good condition, probably in too good a condition as it is so green. The weather conditions will play a big part in the scoring as always - Thursday is to be very good and then the next two days are to be wet and windy. By the sounds of what is expected, it is exactly what you would want for an Open, a bit of everything to test the players.
I am very happy with how my preparation has gone and I am not feeling like I need to do anything else. I am actually feeling pretty calm about it all. I really like the course, which rewards good shots and penalises bad ones. There aren't any real tricky holes and everything is pretty much in front of you. It is definitely a little softer than I would like but it's not a big deal. Like all links courses it will play very different depending on the wind and strategy will be a big part in players? performance, which is why I have purposely taken it easy this week as I know that when I am mentally fresh I make much better decisions.
I am drawn with KJ Choi and Charl Schwartzal for the first two rounds, teeing off at 9.15am Thursday and 2.16pm Friday. I am looking forward to getting going as there is nothing better than The Open Championship!