HONOLULU, HI - JANUARY 16: Padraig Harrington of Ireland plays a shot during the third round of the Sony Open In Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 16, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
I finished in the mid- 50's last week but I am coming away from the tournament feeling good. I shot seven under par for the week and I know that whilst I should have been a lot better, it wouldn't have been a problem to get to the high teens under par as I gave myself an abundance of birdie chances and there was no round that I didn't feel I should have been better. I know it's funny to come away feeling good after that, but the fact that I struck the ball well and hit a lot of good putts has me excited for the season ahead.
The scoring was good last week as can be seen from the fact that I shot 7 under par to finish tied 55th. I know that I played much better than I scored and that if I continue with what I was doing for the two weeks, the good weeks will come. I did very little practice over the two weeks and when I did go to the range I spent most of my time hitting wedges. I could see the benefit from this in all my rounds as my wedge play was very good. Whenever I got to a nine iron down, I was only looking at the pin and if I didn't hit it close I was disappointed. I would say that this was one of my best weeks for giving myself birdie putts inside ten feet for a long time.
I found the range hard to line up on and as the week went on I struggled with a pull from the tee. Not so much with my other clubs more the driver - luckily I was hitting a lot of fairway woods from the tee anyway. The course wasn't long so if I was in doubt on a hole I tended to go with one of my fairway woods. By hitting these well on the course it actually gave me confidence in my driver when I used it.
I had a first this week and unfortunately it cost me a shot. I was up against a range fence when playing the ninth hole (my last) on Friday, which is out of bounds. I took a penalty drop as you don't get a free drop from a nearby fence only to find out when we got in there it was indeed a free drop on this occasion because they felt that the fence moved in the wind. Ronan and myself weren't aware of this and so we took a penalty drop. I don't think I have ever given away a shot like that before, but thankfully it didn't make a big deal of difference in the end.
I'm now heading off on my 24 hour trip home and off for two weeks. I intend to continue with my wedge practice and to keep the technical work to a minimum. I am feeling good about my game and don't need to do anything to my swing. I am delighted that I went all the way to Hawaii, it was a very enjoyable two weeks and definitely worthwhile in terms of getting my season going.
I'm in Hawaii for another week, but have moved islands to play the Sony Open in Honolulu. It's very different here than Maui and is much busier. It's not the only thing that has changed - the golf course this week is totally different to last weeks. It is a short flat course compared to last weeks, which was long and very hilly. Both are very good courses, just very different, if you played on courses like these all the time you would be very happy.
After my play last week, I haven't had the urge to hit many balls as there really isn't anything that needed fixing. So this week I have taken a relaxed approach again - on Monday I practiced my putting for a couple of hours and never went near the range. On Tuesday I tested some new irons on the range and then went and played the back nine with Ricky Barnes. When I was finished I hit some wedges and did some putting practice. On Wednesday I played in the afternoon pro-am so I did my wedge practice before I went out and also spent some time on my bunker play. In terms of hitting full shots I only warmed up and there was no practice done. I'm feeling good about my swing and how I'm hitting, so I don't need to be on the range working on it. I know that there will be times when I have to work on my swing but at the moment there is no need.
The course this week is a short old style one, plenty of trees and an emphasis on hitting fairways. The greens are quite small but they have big fringes, so it's hard for them to have tight pins as you can putt from the fringe. The rough is not too heavy but it is dry and so the ball flies from it, so to get the ball close you need to be coming from the fairway. It's not a course that you need to hit too many drivers on ? it requires a lot of 3 woods and hybrids, playing for position rather than distance. Normally the real defense here is the wind, but this week there is very little wind forecasted so the scoring should be good. It's the first full field tournament since November so everyone here raring to go. It's nice to have last week under my belt as most of the field are feeling how I did last week, wondering what my game would be like - we are all the same and until we get out in a tournament and play we are not sure what to expect.
I'm very happy with how last week went and a how I have played here in practice. All I have practiced is my wedges as they are vital around this course. I'm out early on Thursday and late on Friday, and then hopefully late both days at the weekend!