PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Padraig Harrington of Ireland lines up a putt on the seventh hole during round two of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club on February 19, 2016 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
It was almost a good week in LA. A poor last round meant that what looked like being a solid week turned into a disappointing one. After three rounds I had put myself in a position whereby a good round could have pushed me into the top ten. Unfortunately I had a bad final round where one hole really killed me and instead of climbing the leaderboard I fell down it.
While I didn't finish the week off with a good round there were a lot of positives to take from the week for me. I drove the ball well in terms of fairways hit - I would have liked to have a bit more speed but then I would always say that. What I have been working on in my swing over the last few weeks has definitely made a difference to my driving. I didn't feel like I had a big wide in me and my misses were much more under control. I could see it last week as there were a few holes on the course that I have hit three wood on over the year, whereas this week I hit driver. I wouldn't say that I was completely confident in it yet, but with more good weeks I will get more and more confident. My bunker play has been very good for a long time and again it was good last week. I was even joking to Ronan in one of the rounds that I should aim at the bunkers.
These are important areas for me but the area that I was happiest with was my putting. I putted very well last week and continually rolled in those tricky 3,4 and 5 footers. Every time I holed another one I couldn't get over how good it felt. My stroke feels good and I feel confident over the putts. It has been a long time since I felt this good about my putting.
I struck my irons quite well on the course but on the range I was pulling them, so when I got onto the course I wasn't quite confident enough to fire at enough pins. There's really not much wrong but, if anything, it may have been the range. My chipping was ok, I hit some good and some bad ones which I will be working on this next week - Shane is playing in the Honda Classic so I will be looking to see if I can take some money from him around the chipping green.
I am happy with my game, there are a few small things that I will be working on before the start of The Honda, but all in all I am happy.
I am very disappointed however with my final round. One hole killed me - I triple bogeyed the 7th. I hit my tee shot into the fairway bunker and then I miss-hit my second shot and it stayed in the bunker. Then I caught the lip coming out and it went into another bunker. From there I hit a good bunker shot, but then three putted. I actually ended up holing a good putt for a triple bogey. I never recovered from it, even though I had some good chances, but it was a struggle to get any momentum after the 7th. In the end I shot four over par to finish on 2 under for the week.
I'm not getting hung up on my last round as I know my game is in good shape. It would have been nice to be heading to my defense of the Honda Classic after a good finish in LA but unfortunately that's not the case.
This week I am at another of my favorite stops of the year, the Northern Trust LA Open, which I is played on one of the best golf courses in the world, Riviera Country Club. Ever since my first round here back in 2005, when I played it with a friend of mine, I have loved the place and the tournament has been a fixture on my schedule ever since. It is an old style golf course, tree lined fairways, plenty of length, but the real defense is the greens. If they are firm it plays very tough as no matter who you are you are going to miss a few greens. It's not often you play a course that has no weak holes but this is one. There are 18 really good holes and it has the best short par four of the year, the 10th hole. It's a driveable par four but just because it's reachable doesn't make it easy. It's the toughest easy hole I've ever played. You feel that you should birdie it every time you play it, but par is actually a good score.
I took Monday off and relaxed as Caroline is out this week. On Tuesday I had a medical in the morning, just a routine check up - I hadn't had one for a while and so I decided to get it done. In the afternoon I did some media activity for my defense of the Honda Classic next week. It was a couple of hours and by the end of it I was wiped. I had intended to go to the course afterwards but I was wrecked and decided to have another day off. I was in the pro-am the following day and have played it a number of times so I didn't need to see the course.
On Wednesday I played the morning pro-am and then did some wedge and putting practice afterwards. I played so-so in the pro-am, which is about all you want to see as you never want to shoot too good a score on a Wednesday. The course played firm but it started to rain in the afternoon and was forecast to continue through the night so it should have softened up for us early first round starters.
I am out early with Ernie Els and Jimmy Walker. Hopefully the rain will have stopped by the time we are teeing off!