It was a disappointing week here in Bay Hill for me. I got off to a nice start by shooting four under but I couldn?t make up any ground over the next three rounds, shooting two rounds of one under and a round of two over. The scoring was good all week so only shooting four under for the tournament was not great. Having put myself in position from round one it is always very annoying to tread water for the next three days. What makes it more disappointing was that it was down to my putting again, although this time it was more to do with my pace putting than the short ones. I had a total of eight three putts during the week! I have gone seasons where I have had less three putts than this, let alone one tournament! The greens were not good and I am putting it down to this as I found it hard at times to get a feel for whether the putt was into or down the grain. The colours didn?t show up as normal due to the fact that there was very little grass on the greens.
That said I still should have been able to manage the greens better than I did. What it tells me is that I need to do some work on this area over the next couple of weeks so that it is ready for Augusta. My weekend putting stats here in Bay Hill of nearly -3 and -2 in strokes gained putting are not going to work at Augusta National.
I felt that the rest of my game was good during the week. I drove the ball well after a ropey first round. For the last three rounds I was just under 65% in Fairways Hit, which is good. This coupled with my greens in regulation stat of 68% resulted in plenty of chances on the greens which I unfortunately failed to capitalize on. I felt that the work I have been doing on my set up and take away made a big difference for my starting line. I didn?t feel that I was going to hit any big wide?s, which gave me a lot of confidence.
Overall it was a disappointing week in terms of my finishing position and putting but in terms of how I hit the ball, I am happy. Also my bunker play was very good all week; it got the stage where I felt I could hole out at any stage. I know that with a bit of work on my putting it will be fine. The problem I had had with my pace will be easily solved with a small bit of practice. I am home this week and will continue with the work on my set up and take away and will be spending some time on the greens.
So while it was a poor week in terms of result I am happy with what I saw in my game and really looking forward to the next couple of weeks.
I have moved to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. This is one of the most famous tournaments on the PGA Tour thanks to Arnold. I have played here a number of times over the years but never really contended. It has been a course that I have found tough to play, this year though I feel the set-up suits me better. The greens are not as firm as normal and they have widened the fairways, which are also not as firm as other years either. The greens are not in their best shape and will be relayed next week. However, whilst they don't look great they are actually putting fine.
Last week I missed the cut due to poor putting, so this week I have spent a good bit of time working on it and I am feeling much better about it. I have also been working on slowing down the takeaway of my backswing, which has helped me a lot in terms of the starting line of the ball and in being more stable through my swing. It still feels a little awkward but it is getting there.
I played nine holes on Monday and did a small amount of practice. On Tuesday I had some media commitments in the morning and then spent a couple of hours practicing my putting and chipping, but didn't hit any shots as I wanted to take it easy. On Wednesday I played the morning pro-am and afterwards Shane and I had a chipping competition. If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen that I made my dinner money from him - there's nothing nicer than taking the young lads money!
I'm happy with how I have hit the ball during the week and my short game is in good shape. I'm looking forward to playing, especially after missing the cut last week and play late/early with Rory Sabbatini and Louis Oosthuizen.