The final major of the year is over. In keeping with how a lot of the events on the PGA tour have gone it finished on a Monday, but it was an exciting finish all the same. For me it was another disappointing performance in a major. I have played in three this year and missed the cut in all of them. It has certainly been a poor year for me at the majors. I came into the
PGA after 2 weeks off, the break really helped me to relax and recuperate but as I have been saying all year I am just lacking some match practice. I feel like my year has been stop-start, I don’t feel as if I have managed to get any momentum going. Normally I am Mr. Consistent but this year has been I have been up and down. It seems that I either miss the cut or else get into contention. It is certainly a different type of season for me so far.
I came into this week in a good frame of mind. I would like to have played a few more events but I was feeling good, the only small problem I had was my neck, but the treatment I received from Dale Richardson all week meant that it wasn’t a problem. I was happy with the way my practice went, I purposely made sure not to over do it as it was extremely hot and temperatures were in the 100’s all week. By the time Thursday came around I really felt ready to go. Although it just didn’t go to well for me.
As you are probably aware by now, it was one of the longest courses in major history, especially as it was a par 70. However as always by the time you get to the tournament itself, the course just doesn’t seem as long as it did early in the week. For me the problem that I had was my driving. I just didn’t manage to drive the ball well on Thursday and as a result it meant that I really struggled. In my first round I only managed to hit 4 fairways. It started fine as I hit the fairway on my first hole, the 10th, and just missed making an opening birdie. Then I missed the fairway on the next two holes and couldn’t make a par on either. It was the story of my day, I wasn’t driving it well and on a course like this with heavy rough, if you are not hitting fairways you will always struggle. I hit a lot of really good putts during the round but I couldn’t manage to hole anything, they all just seemed to run by the edge or sit on the lip. With four holes to play I was 4 over par, still not out of it but in need of a decent finish. On the 6th, my 15th, I hit a good drive but it just ran into the semi rough but when I got up to it I discovered that it had settled in the collar between the semi and the heavy rough. The way it was lying I couldn’t get an iron to the back of the ball even though I was only 170 yard to the front of the green. I decided to hit a utility club, a new club that Wilson has just made for me, but the collar forced the ball right of the green and I made another bogey. Then the same happened on the next hole, this time I tried to hit a seven iron but again the collar affected the ball and it flew left and another bogey. Then on the 8th, my 17th, it happened again my drive kicked left and ended up against the collar but this time I was only 100 yards away and was able to get a sand wedge to it and make a par. I parred my last hole to shoot 76 and leave myself a lot of work to do on Friday to make the cut.
I knew going out on Friday that I needed to shoot at least 2 under par to make the cut, it was always going to be tough. It started off by making a good par from the rough on the first. I hit it just over the green with my second and managed to chip and putt. It was a nice start. On the second hole I hit my utility club from the tee but it just chased into the fairway bunker. From there I caught it a bit heavy and came up short. I ended up missing from 4 foot for a par and going to 7 over. On the third I hit a great second shot with a 5 iron to a foot to get back to 6 over and keep me in the hunt. I knew that I still had a chance if I could hit some more shots like that one into the third. But then I did something on the 4th that I have never done before. I had hit the green and putt up to 4 feet. I had this putt for par, read the line and was taking a practice putt beside the ball when I hit the ball with the toe of my putter. I had to replace the ball in the original spot and make the putt for a bogey. I couldn’t believe it, I had never done that before. I suppose I was lucky that I did it today and not a day that I am in contention. After this mishap I bogeyed the next hole and from there I was never really in with a chance of making the cut. I tried as hard as I could to make the cut but nothing was happening for me. However, I did feel that I was beginning to hit the ball stronger, something that I haven’t done all year. I was disappointed to miss the cut but there is always next week.
I spent the weekend practicing at Baltusrol, not because I wasn’t happy with my game but because I need to sharpen up.
I watched the most of the final round of the PGA and like everyone I was disappointed that it was delayed until Monday. It was very interesting as the course was getting tougher and it was tighter at the top of the leader board. In the end it was a great win by Phil and he made a great up and down on the last to win. I was disappointed for Tomas Bjorn, he hit a great putt on the last which could easily have gone in. It would have been great for Tomas and for the European Tour if he had won. But he will have another chance.
So the Majors are over for another year. There are still a lot of big tournaments left so there is no point in sitting around mopping about my performances in the them. I am looking forward to the rest of my season and feel that once I get a few consecutive events under my belt then I will start to get back to my normal self.
For now it’s the NEC in Akron, Ohio and then on Munich for the BMW.