It was a frustrating week for me. I missed the cut but I actually struck the ball well. My long game was good but my wedge play and short game were poor. But what was really annoying about missing the cut was that I felt the course set-up really suited me. The heavy rough was gone which meant that if you missed a fairway it was playable. Don’t get me wrong, it is still an extremely tough course as can be seen from the scoring, but I would rather play this set-up than with heavy rough.
Nearly all my dropped shots last week came from wedges or around the greens. I finished the two days -4.875 in strokes gained putting; it doesn’t matter how well you hit the ball it’s hard to make up for that. Over the two rounds I duffed a few wedge shots and also missed a couple of greens. I can see that the work I have done on my long game has paid off but it has affected my short game. I need to concentrate on this area to get it back to where it was.
I stayed around at the weekend to practice and do some work with Bob Rotella. I spent my time hitting wedges and also out on another golf course at PGA National hitting shots on the course rather than just hitting ball after ball on the range. I have always found this type of practice much more enjoyable and beneficial as I get so more from it in terms of it being like tournament play. There are more consequences to my practice when I do it as Bob and I spoke about. I just have to make the effort to go and do it more often. I spent a few hours on Saturday and Sunday doing it and I can’t tell you how much better I feel.
I have a few days to get myself ready for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. After a few days with Bob I know what I have to do and have committed to doing it. So while it was a bad week in terms of missing the cut I really believe that it was a great week in that I now know what I have to do to perform better.
Padraig shot a second round of 74 to miss the cut at the Honda Classic. Four dropped shots in the space of five holes on the front nine did the damage. He found two green side bunkers, which he failed to get up and down from, and a three putt on the par three 5th hole all contributed to his score. Three more dropped shots around the “bear trap” coming home made it a day to forget as his six over par total missed the cut by three shots.
Padraig opens his account at the Honda Classic with two over par round of 72. On a very tough set up, he got off to a slow start with a couple of bogies early on but birdied the par five, 3rd hole, where he got up and down from a green side bunker to be one over par after eight holes. He dropped another shot on the 9th hole where he missed a short putt to be out in two over. He then swapped a birdie with a bogey on the 13th and 14th holes and played the infamous “bear trap” in level par. Four under par leads the tournament after the opening round.
Padraig plays this week on the PGA Tour at the Honda Classic. It is the site of his last win in the States back in 2015. The course plays tough with a finishing stretch called the “Bear Trap” in honour of course designer, Jack Nicklaus. It comprises the 15th, 16th and 17th holes and has water just about everywhere making it a difficult task for a leader trying to hang on! One of the most popular events on the tour!
Thursday: 8.15am ~ Friday: 1.05pm
With Matthew NeSmith & Matt Jones
This week I’m in West Palm Beach for the Honda Classic, a tournament that I have won twice before in 2005 and 2015. My second win was on the current course, PGA National, home of the Bear Trap. I only got here on Tuesday afternoon as I was in New York on Monday night at a charity fund raiser for Crumlin Hospital. It’s an event that I have been trying to get to over the years but it just hasn’t worked out with my schedule, so when we were able to set it up for Monday I was thrilled to be able to make it there. It is such a great cause.
I’ve been home for the last two weeks and I have hit a lot of balls, all of them indoors on a simulator. So when I got here on Tuesday I was anxious to get out on the course to see how my game was. I warmed up and went and played 7 holes on the back nine. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised as to how well I hit the ball. After hitting into a net for 2 weeks, I was a little worried as to what the ball flight would be like.
The Wednesday pro-am was only nine holes and I played the front nine. After my round I had lunch with Bob Rotella, who spends his winters down here. I haven’t seen him for quite a while so we had a lot to chat about – it was good to catch up and to do some work together. As always, I can see from taking to him that I have been spending too much time on my physical game and not enough on my mental game. After we chatted I went out and hit balls, working on my routines. It’s amazing how hard it is to do and how few balls you actually hit when you are doing it properly.
After my two weeks of practice at home I am a little rusty. My wedge play is not quite where I would like it to be and my routines are only okay – I can see that I need to spend a lot more time on these areas. However in terms of ball striking, I am happy with how it has been been in practice.
The golf course is playing quite different to other years. There is nowhere near as much rough as normal and as a result it takes the pressure off hitting fairways. That’s not to say it is an easy course from the rough but at least now you are not as worried about not being able to reach the green. The greens are quick and firm to chip onto. It’s in as good condition as I have seen it and I would expect the scoring to be a little better than normal as a result.
I know I am quite rusty in terms of scoring and I’d like to have another day to spend on my wedge play, chipping and putting. However I don’t have that luxury so I have to play my way into things over the next couple of days. I’m out early tomorrow at 8.15am and then 1.05pm on Friday. Patience will be my mantra for the week.