Life is a lot easier when you play badly and then all of a sudden you get in contention and win one. No one gets on your back. When you finish runner-up seven times, everyone is asking, 'Why aren't you winning?' It's much more fun when you jump into a win out of the blue. It's a much tougher game when you play consistently well.

WGC - Bridgestone Invitational

Entry Date:
Aug 29, 2006

The week started poorly, in fact I played my worst golf of the year on the Thursday! Fortunately I played better as the tournament went on, and in the end I finished on two over par for a share of 27th position - funnily enough this is the same score that I finished on last year. 

I am coming away from this week with a lot of positives even though I did not perform quite as well as I would have liked. I have been getting quite frustrated with myself on the course lately as I have been playing well but just not getting the results that I felt I deserved. This week I tried to be more like my old self by not getting down when I hit a bad shot or missed a putt, I just got on with it and it definitely made a difference. 

During the practice rounds I was struggling with my grip, I couldn’t get the right feel. As I have mentioned before, this is something that I get a couple of times a year. As the week went on I got a little more comfortable, but it never felt completely right. The more that I focused on the target and less on my actual shot the less I thought of my grip as it meant that I was concentrating on something else. 

To shoot three over par in the first round was actually a good score considering the way that I played - my driving was awful, I hit less than 40% of the fairways, and then as a result my approach play was terrible again hitting less than 40% of the greens. All in all it was a very bad day!

After an hour on the range on the Thursday evening, the next three rounds were far better, even though I wasn’t able to convert many putts. Over the whole week I made a grand total of nine birdies, which you just can’t do if you want to contend in any event, especially on a course like this, as you know that you will make a few bogeys. In fact it took me 29 holes to make my first birdie of the tournament! On Friday I played very nicely through the front nine only to turn one over par, I made seven pars and a bogey in the first eight holes and then I made a terrible bogey on the 9th. I was only 102 yards from the flag after my drive on the 9th, I hit a lob wedge, it pitched on the front of the green and spun off. I failed to get it up and down, it was probably my most annoying bogey of the week - I could have hit it over the club house and still made the same score!! On the back nine I played very similar to the front nine but made three birdies and two bogeys, I birdied the 11th, 13th and 18th but bogeyed the 14th and 17th. In the end I finished with a one over par 71 to leave me on four over par.

The next two days I continued to improve. On Saturday I shot level par, which was probably the worst score that I could have shot as I gave myself plenty of chances but just couldn’t hole any putts, they just kept running over the edge of the holes or just coming up short. I made three birdies, but these were offset by a double bogey on the 12th hole and a bogey on the 10th hole. The double bogey was the result of a slight pushed tee shot on the par three 12th. I hit a six iron and missed the green right and it hit the bank and finished up well below the level of the green, from here I pitched it back onto the green to twenty feet and then I made the common error in this situation, I had a run at the par putt and then missed the one back. This put me two over for the day but birdies as the 15th and 16th got me back to level for the day and left me on four over for the tournament. 

On Sunday we were due to start early as there was a terrible weather forecast, I was due off at 0730 from the 10th tee but the thunder and lightning came early and we were delayed until 0900. I wasn’t too unhappy at the delay as it meant that I got another hour and a half sleep. When we eventually got going it actually got quite warm and was very pleasant for golf. I played very well in the final round, drove it well and hit a lot of very good iron shots but again I couldn’t hole the chances that I was giving myself. I ended up shooting two under par for the day and finished on two over for the tournament. I was happy with my round but a little disappointed that I hadn’t made a few extra putts to get myself back to level par for the week. I had good chances on my last three holes for birdies but the ball just wouldn’t drop. 

As I was saying I am taking a lot of positives from this week, I felt better about myself on the course than I have done for a while. I would have liked to of got off to a better start, to try to contend the event but it just didn’t happen. However, I did manage to improve in every round! I am off to Munich for the BMW International this coming week; it is a big week for us Europeans as it is the last week for the Ryder Cup qualification. As it stands I am not safe, but then anything can happen, as Eammon Darcy will testify. In Germany I will be focusing on my own game and not worrying about the peripheral things like who is going to make the team. I know that if I play my own game that it will be good enough.