My FedEx Cup campaign is over after missing the cut at The Barclays. I knew going into the week that a missed cut would mean that it was likely I would fail to qualify for the Deutsche Bank in Boston. I spent my weekend watching the leaderboard following the progress of the players that could affect me and the projected standings in the FedEx Cup rankings to see how I was faring. It was a real ?yo-yo? situation as one minute I would be inside the top-100 and then next I was outside. On Friday evening I worked out where everyone had to finish for me to have a chance to stay inside the top-100. I was watching these guys all weekend, which was tough as you never want to wish anyone to do badly, but then you are also cheering for yourself as well. In the end I finished 103rd in the rankings and so three spots outside the cut off. The funny thing was that it was a lot easier once I knew I was missing out rather than the constant yo-yoing in and out. Once it was confirmed, at least I could make arrangements to get home and look into what events I will play back in Europe.
It was very disappointing to miss the cut as I really liked the course and also because of the effect it had on the FedEx Cup. I struggled with my putting for the two days and then as a result my long game suffered. When you are not putting well it puts a lot of pressure on the rest of your game as you feel that you need to hit every shot or every chip stone dead. With the chipping instead of looking at a three or four foot circle, you are looking at one of a foot. Then every time you don?t chip it stone dead you are disappointed and apprehensive about the putt. I spent the weekend working on my putting and going back to a few drills that I have used over the years. One that I have had good success with is where I have an elastic band attached to my putter so that when I follow through there is resistance. Also I spent a lot of Saturday and Sunday hitting putts down a ruler, the idea being that the more I see balls going in the hole the more confidence I have. By Sunday it was beginning to feel good, I liked what I was seeing and feel that it will certainly help.
In terms of my long game I am happy with my swing, whereas most of my bad shots is the result of me getting in my own way. I am confident that as my putting improves it will ease the pressure on my long game and as a result it will be much freer. As always I have a few things to work on but if didn?t I would be worried. The main areas for me to work on in my game over the next few weeks are my putting and wedge play. Both of these areas have been below par all year and to improve my results I need spend a lot of time on them.
I got home on Tuesday as I played in Ernie Els?s day for Autism on Monday. I am looking at my schedule for the rest of the year to decide on where I am going to be playing but the main thing that I have on this week is to get a scan on my knee to see how it is after the last few weeks of play, which will dictate a lot to me for the rest of the year.
After a nice week off hanging out with Caroline and the lads, I am back in action at The Barclays in New Jersey, the first of the Fed Ex Cup playoffs. From here on it is knock-out: 125 players start this week and next week it is reduced to 100 for the Deutsche Bank Championship, followed by 70 at the BMW Championship and then 30 at the Tour Championship. I am lying 87th coming in here this week and to ensure that I make it to next week I need to finish no worse than 65th. However I'm not thinking about what I need to do to be there next week, I am here looking to give myself a chance to win so that I am in control of my own destiny.
In my week off I didn't play any golf and I tried as much as possible to rest my knee. It's been ok, still niggles when I do a bit of walking but nothing as bad as during the PGA Championship week.
I arrived at Plainfield Country Club on Tuesday afternoon and did some practice. I didn't play any holes, just hit some balls and did a lot of putting. I played here in 2011 and was due to play the Wednesday pro-am, so I was happy not to play on Tuesday.
On Wednesday I played in the morning pro-am and then spent a few hours putting afterwards. My knee held up well for the round, which I was happy about. It wasn't sore whilst hitting shots, but it got a little annoying near the end with all the waking. My game was a little rusty after the week off but nothing to worry about.
I remembered the course a lot better once I got on it. It's a funky corse with a lot of undulating greens and a good mix of long and short holes. The overall yardage is not long but the longer holes do play long. What makes it seem short is that there are a couple of driveable par fours. I like the course, it's funky but good. The rough is very heavy which makes it play tough, but if you are coming off the fairway then you can score even with the difficult greens.
I'm playing early on Thursday and late on Friday, which is a nice draw as I get out early for the first round with good greens.