HOYLAKE, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Padraig Harrington of Ireland during The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on July 16, 2014 in Hoylake, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
It was not the week I was hoping for. I went into the Open feeling good about how things were progressing. I prepared well and really felt ready to play but I never got any momentum going in either of my rounds. I even got the good side of the draw, but wasn't able to take advantage of it.
Missing the cut in The Open is very disappointing, but this year it was more so. When I got off the course on Friday I was told the news about Bob Torrance passing away. While it wasn't a huge shock, as I had been to visit him a few weeks ago and had also been talking to Sam about him at the Scottish Open, it was clearly very sad and poignant. That evening it was great to hear everyone talking about him and all the stories that they had; there are so many great ones, you could write a series of books.
There is no doubt that hearing the news of Bob made my missing the cut a little tougher but also quite insignificant. I would have loved to have be challenging for The Open in Bob's memory.
The real damage in terms of missing the cut for me was done on the Thursday as the weather was perfect. You couldn't ask for better scoring conditions but I was only able to shoot two over par. It was a bad finish that really cost me; I was one over with three to play. With two par fives and a par four to play, I should have been able to shoot level or under par but instead I bogeyed the 16th and 17th and then finished with a birdie. The bogey on the 16th was a killer - I was looking to birdie it but a bad drive was followed by a poor lay up, leaving it in the rough for my third shot. Then we misjudged how far we wanted to pitch it and it ran over the green. All in all it was a badly played hole and then I let it annoy me enough to cause me to bogey the 17. It was extremely disappointing to shot the score I did on Thursday as I started out hitting the ball very well but wasn't able to hole any putts.
Going out on Friday I was on the cut line and knew that I needed to play a solid round to make the cut. I hit a terrible drive on the first but managed to make par and then made a bogey on the second from the middle of the fairway. It didn't get any better from there and in the end I shot six over par and made no birdies. It was really a poor round. Not to make a birdie was particularly poor as there were plenty of chances on the course to make them, but I just wasn't able to hit it close enough to make any.
I stayed and did some work with Pete Cowen over the weekend as I won't see him until the PGA. It was worth staying to work with him as we got some good work done. I flew home on Sunday and got in to see Rory's last few holes. It looked like it was going to get a little exciting for a while but he was playing too well to let anything happen. It was a great win. Right from Thursday morning he took control of the tournament and kept going with it. Well done Rory. It was a fantastic performance.
I am off this week and then head to the States for a few weeks.
The Open Championship.
Padraig misses the cut at Royal Liverpool as he fails to find a birdie on day two of the Open Championship. Despite getting the best of the weather he failed to hit enough fairways and greens to give himself chances to pick up shots on the field. The two time Open champion was disappointed afterwards but the death of his legendary former coach, Bob Torrance, put the day in perspective. RIP Bob.
Disappointing opening round for Padraig at the Open Championship. His two over par round of 74 leaves him with work to do on Friday. After starting with four solid pars, he picked up his first shot of the day at the par five 5th hole but immediately dropped two shots to be out in one over par. He failed to take advantage of the three par fives on the back nine, playing them in a collective level par which made it a struggle for the day. He tees off late at 2.16pm local time in Fridays second round. Fellow Irishman, Rory McIllroy, leads after the opening round at six under par.
Padraig returns to Royal Liverpool, Hoylake for this years Open Championship. It was last played here in 2006 when Tiger Woods took home the claret jug. The course is playing much different this year as unusually high rain fall has the course lush and green. The greens are quite flat and the emphasis will be on driving the ball well. Padraig tees off early on Thursday at 9.15am with Charl Schwartzel and KJ Choi.
Hole by Hole
1. It's always tough when you start off with a difficult hole. You're nervous and keen to get off and running with a stress-free par, and this is certainly an opener where you're glad to walk off with a four. A tough tee shot to find the fairway and it's a difficult new green as well.
2. This hole proved very tricky in 2006 owing to the sloping nature of the green, and they tend to tuck the pin away on this one. Off the tee you need to keep out of some deep fairway bunkers.
3. The mistake many players make here is they don't take enough club to lay-up to the corner of the dog-leg, leaving a tricky second shot that brings out of bounds down the right into play. A good lay-up leaves about 170 yards to the green and missing on the left down into a swail is not the end of the world, since you can putt from there.
4. A lay-up off the tee with anything from a two iron to four iron depending on the wind to take the fairway bunkers out of play. This leaves you a pitching wedge-type distance from the hole and is definitely a hole where you're looking to make a birdie.
5. Two choices off the tee. Take driver and take on the gorse and the bunkers or a three wood and play safe but leave a much more difficult second shot. Any player taking this route will leave himself under quite a bit of pressure, trying to hit a green that slopes off and is protected by bunkers.
6. An interesting short hole. It shouldn't cause problems but on the front right of the green you've got one of the most difficult bunkers on the whole course while the pair on the left aren't much fun either. Usually played in a right to left wind, so you're happy to make your par and move on.
7. Stroke index one hole for the members but this big, long par four is not the sort of thing that's going to keep the pros awake at night. Not the most exciting hole on the course but a tough, strong one nevertheless.
8. The blind tee shot adds an element of difficulty and doubt, and catches your eye a bit. You'll see a few more hooks here than you might expect because guys tend to come up more quickly when they can't see the tee shot land. Get your drive away, however, and you've only got a short iron to the green.
9. A par three that has plenty of length but one that doesn't strike fear owing to the fact it is generally played downwind. You'll see a few birdies made on this one.
10. A par five where you desperately want to make a birdie. You're coming back into the wind after this hole and so you're looking for something to tuck away. I'd describe this hole as an easy par five but a very difficult birdie four because the green is hard to hit with a long club.
11. A short par four, possibly driveable if the wind is not the prevailing one. Otherwise, a two iron/five wood type of lay-up will leave a wedge or sand wedge. Hitting the fairway here is critical. A great birdie chance if you do so, but if not you turn a 3 1/2 strokes type hole into one that will play more like 4 1/2.
12. Another hole where hitting the fairway is paramount. This is a really tough par four, where you have to stay out of the fairway bunkers on the right. If you elect to lay up short of them, however, you leave yourself a really difficult approach to a green that is a hard one to hit.
13. This is a lovely par three along the Dee estuary where the wind is blowing from the left. All you're looking for here is a good strike with your tee shot and if you do that you should walk off with a par, which is all you're really trying to make on this hole.
14. A pivotal hole in my opinion because it's the last "big" hole on the course, and after this one you're thinking birdies. A tough tee shot where you've got two choices. Play short of the bunkers on the right and left and leave yourself a long shot to an awkward green, or take on the risk and get rewarded with an easier approach if you miss the sand traps.
15. A short par three usually played downwind and we had terrible problems here last time trying to get the ball to stop on the green with many tee shots shooting through into the bunker on the left. A back right pin could make this hole really difficult, but it all depends on the firmness of the green.
16. Get a good tee shot away on this par five and you're really in business. The entrance to the green is narrow but the trouble isn't so difficult to stop someone from going for it, because the worst score you should make if you miss the target is a par. A hole where you will definitely see some eagles.
17. This is a strong par four, with fairway bunkers on either side that are definitely in play. The green is big but in 2006 they tucked the pins away so you might not see too many shots finishing close to the flag. A hole, therefore, where you'll see more pars than anything.
18. A par five where eagles can be made but also big mistakes, so you need two good shots to make sure you gain your reward. It's the greatest feeling in golf coming down the 18th hole in an Open Championship with the grandstands packed and this year will be no exception, with the wraparound seating. But the 18th is no place for the faint-hearted.
Conclusion: Normally you're going into a major championship comfortable that a score in the low under par digits will not see anyone running away from you, but we're going there this year knowing 18 under par won last time. And unless the weather is terrible I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be a similar score this year. So that means you're going to have to start well. Anyone starting with a 74 or 75, for example, will find themselves with an awful lot of catching up to do.
Reproduced by kind permission of MailOnline.
The Open Championship is finally here. It is the third major championship of the year but only my first as I didn?t play the Masters or US Open. As a past champion of the Open it's always great to play and this year we are back at Royal Liverpool GC, otherwise known as Hoylake. It was last held here in 2006, which everyone remembers as having the brownest course ever. The weather had been brilliant leading up to the tournament and the course was so dry that when you put your club down you were afraid that it would slip and hit the ball. This year it is very different, it is much greener and softer than normal for a links course.
I got here on Sunday evening but I actually took Monday off. This is very unusual for me at a major but I felt that I needed to take a break and that it would be more important to be rested than practice at the course. I was here a few weeks ago and so I am comfortable with the course - it is a very fair course that is all pretty much in front of you. On Tuesday I played the first six holes and then the last six holes, which was a pretty easy going day. I did a small bit of practice beforehand, then spent about 40 minutes chipping and finished up with some putting. On Wednesday I played the last twelve holes and again spent some time chipping afterwards and finished up with putting again. I am very happy with how my preparation has gone, I feel I am hitting the ball well and my putting is in good shape. It has been a very low key few days for me, much more relaxed than I would normally be. I haven't felt that there is much to do this week; I am happy with how I am hitting it and my short game got better as the week went on last week. When I thought about what I needed to do before Thursday, it was rest that was most important.
Last time we were here it was the most burnt out course I had ever seen. This time it is very green and as a result extremely fair. Like a lot of links courses one of its biggest defense is the fairway bunkering - if you hit it in a fairway bunker it is a penalty. You have to take your punishment and not get too smart. It is hard to know what the scoring will be like this time round, a lot of people think that it will be good but I am not too sure. There are plenty of good holes that can cause problems on the course. There are four par fives which are reachable, which gives you opportunities to make birdies too. It is a super golf course in very good condition, probably in too good a condition as it is so green. The weather conditions will play a big part in the scoring as always - Thursday is to be very good and then the next two days are to be wet and windy. By the sounds of what is expected, it is exactly what you would want for an Open, a bit of everything to test the players.
I am very happy with how my preparation has gone and I am not feeling like I need to do anything else. I am actually feeling pretty calm about it all. I really like the course, which rewards good shots and penalises bad ones. There aren't any real tricky holes and everything is pretty much in front of you. It is definitely a little softer than I would like but it's not a big deal. Like all links courses it will play very different depending on the wind and strategy will be a big part in players? performance, which is why I have purposely taken it easy this week as I know that when I am mentally fresh I make much better decisions.
I am drawn with KJ Choi and Charl Schwartzal for the first two rounds, teeing off at 9.15am Thursday and 2.16pm Friday. I am looking forward to getting going as there is nothing better than The Open Championship!