Last week definitely goes down as one of my busiest ever tournament weeks. With the Ryder Cup points starting, I went there expecting it to be busy but it surprised even me. It was certainly a different kind of week for me but a “good” different. It was a nice distraction in that it got me away from thinking about my golf and made me have to get my work done in a more efficient way. Whilst it was busier than normal, it won’t be like that every week.
In terms of my golf for the week, I didn’t feel that I played that well. I came off every round knowing that I had left a lot of shots out there. Yet when I looked at my stats for the week, I was surprised to see that I was second in Strokes Gained tee to green with +10.05 shots, but what let me down was my putting, which was -9.11, and my short game at -1.16. There is no doubt that when you are missing chances on the greens, as I was, it makes you feel like your game is poor. My last few weeks have been like this – I’m hitting the ball solidly and my iron play is good, all set up by driving the ball well, but it is frustrating not to be holing putts. I am constantly reminding myself to stay patient and keep hitting good putts, but know that I am rolling the ball well and it it just a matter of time before they start to drop.
While I am disappointed to come away from the week only finishing level par and well down the field, I am very happy with myself on a couple of points. After a poor first round of 1 over par, I was under pressure to make the cut and after starting the second round with a par followed by a triple bogey, I was even more so. However I battled away and made 6 birdies to make it on the mark. The highlight of the birdies for me was to make one down the last hole of the second round when I knew I needed it to make the cut. I hit a good drive and then a great five wood from a hanging lie to just through the green to set up an easy chip and putt birdie. In fact, it’s two weeks in a row when I have birdied the last to make the cut on the mark.
My weekend could have been a lot better, however. A poor round of 75 on Saturday was disappointing, but to come back on Sunday and shoot 68 with a 5 under back nine was a nice way to finish. It’s always nice to shoot a decent score on a Sunday even if down the field, as it gives you good confidence and momentum going into the following week.
While I’m disappointed with my overall scoring for the week I have a lot of positives to take away. My game is in good shape, I just have to remain patient with my putting. Outside of my own golf I really enjoyed playing Wentworth this year. The changes they have made are brilliant and, as always, the crowds were great.
It’s onto St Andrews now for one of my favorite tournaments of the year, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
A superb final round of four under par 68 sees Padraig move twenty places up the field as he kept the mistakes to a minimum. He got off to a poor start with a dropped shot on the tough par-four first hole. He then played the next eight holes with eight pars to be out in one over par. But three birdies in four holes starting home and a magnificent eagle three on the par-five 17th hole saw him home in 32 shots. He will be pleased as it was the first day he played without a serious error. Fifteen birdies and an eagle for the week was a fitting return for some of his play!
Third round of three over par 75 for Padraig at Wentworth. He did record four birdies on the day but too many mistakes cost him a good score. He recorded five dropped shots and a double bogey at the tough par four 15th hole. He has had one bad hole each day which is holding him back having recorded twelve birdies so far.
Padraig birdied the last hole to make the weekend at the BMW PGA Championship. It was a fine effort after a terrible start when he took a triple-bogey six on the par-three second hole. He bounced back immediately to birdie four of his next six holes to be out in level par. Two birdies were offset by two bogies on the way home to see him sign for a level par round of 72. He tees off at 8.26 am on Saturday in a marquee three-ball with Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy!
Padraig opens his account at the BMW PGA Championship with a one-over-par round of 73. He got off to a steady start with one dropped shot and one birdie on the way out. He had his only poor hole of the day at the par-three 10th where he took a double-bogey after missing the green. He again steadied the ship with seven pars and a lone birdie on the par-five 17th which now plays to over 600 yards! He will be hoping to hole a few more putts Friday as the cut line with be around the level par mark!
Padraig is playing this week at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. It is part of the Rolex series of events and as such carries a massive prize fund of $7 million dollars. It also marks the start of the 2020 Ryder Cup selection process and players will be hoping to get off to a good start to put themselves in prime position to be playing on Padraig’s team. The top four on the European OOM and the top five in the world points list will automatically make the team. Padraig then has three wildcard picks. One of the hottest properties in golf is playing this week, Viktor Hovland from Norway who was invited to play and he will be hoping to impress the Ryder Cup captain.
Padraig plays at 8.35am on Thursday and 12.25pm Friday with Viktor Hovland & Mike Lorenzo-Vera.
Wentworth in September – no it’s not the Old World Matchplay, it’s the BMG PGA Championship. The new date for this great tournament has really added to the event. It has one of its best ever fields, the course is in brilliant condition and the weather forecast for the week is super. We really can’t ask for any more.
It’s been a funny few days for me. Ronan and myself played with two friends, Ross Desmond and Mitchell Tweedy, at Queenwood on Monday and I’m happy to say I took Ronan’s money again!!
Then on Tuesday I only got to hit balls at Wentworth for about 45 minutes and then putted and chipped for a couple of hours. I didn’t play on Tuesday as I had several Ryder Cup meetings lined up later in the day.
I played the Wednesday pro-am and again I had a lot of Ryder Cup media commitments in the afternoon so once I finished playing, my day was over in terms of golf. The media commitments included a press conference to announce that Robert Karlsson will be one of my Vice Captains and to set out the qualifying process. It’s all go from now!
This week is obviously a very busy one in terms of Ryder Cup commitments as it is the start of the qualification process. It’s something I am getting used to and having more off course commitments means that I have to limit my practice time.
Luckily I know Wentworth well after all these years so I didn’t feel the need to get out on the course and play; the 18 holes of the pro-am were more than enough. I have to say the course is in the best condition I have ever seen it and is an absolute joy to play. I always liked playing here in the World Matchplay which would have been a week or two later in the year. For some reason I always felt the course played its best around now and certainly it felt that way on Wednesday.
I played okay in the pro-am. I was a bit sloppy with my mental approach at times, but once I was aware of it, it improved. I’m happy with where my game is at and over the last few weeks there have been a lot of very good signs.
This week is a hard one for me in that there are a lot of off course distractions but, that said, I’m looking forward to playing. I’m playing the first two rounds with Victor Hovland and Mike Lorenzo Vero. I haven’t played with Victor before; I’ve followed his performances since he turned professional and what a run it has been. I have played with Mike but it was a good while ago, so it will be good to see them up close and get to know them. We play at 8.35am on Thursday morning and then 12.25pm on Friday.