Padraig Harrington: I had a terrible week on the greens at the Honda Classic
I said at the start of the week, PGA National is a very hard golf course. It has tended to play like a major course over the years, although this year it may have been a little easier than previous years as the rough wasn’t as heavy. However even with that there was still only one player that finished in double figures under par, Camilo Villeagas. I finished on four over par for the week, well down the field.
It was an unusual week for me in terms of my performance and play and looking back on it I know that I left a lot of shots behind me. I can’t say that I played well enough to win the tournament but I know that I played well enough to finish four or five under par as opposed to the four over par I did.
To finish four over par for the week was a disappointment. The main reason behind it was the fact that I had a terrible week on the greens. I would say that it was probably my worst putting week of my career - it was a combination of struggling to read the greens and also struggling with my alignment. I had spent some time in practice talking to a guy who works with pros on their putting as to how he reads greens.
I was explaining that I had been struggling for a while with my reading of the greens; I reckon that in nearly two weeks out of four I am finding it hard to see the breaks and to get a feel. We talked about it in detail and about how he reads greens; he does a lot of it based on walking the greens and feeling the undulations with his feet. It was very interesting stuff and certainly I think it will help me in the future but last week I was completely confused. I was struggling to read the greens anyway and then when I tried his method it just made it more confusing. On top of this I never felt good about my alignment with the putter all week - every time I looked down I felt like I was aiming way off. With all this going through my head I just wasn’t able to commit to my putts and as a result I putted terribly. I had a number of three putts and also missed a number of short putts. It really is hard to play golf when you are struggling to get the ball in the hole.
I was happy with my game from tee to green - I felt that I drove the ball well and hit a lot of very good shots. I struggled with a few of my grips that I wasn’t happy with - I had them changed earlier in the week and thought they were fine but when I got into the tournament I realized that they were a little out. It was the grip on my three-wood that really felt bad and I struggled with it for the week; I tried not to hit it unless I had too. The only other area of my game that I wasn’t happy with was my bunker play. I felt that I wasn’t getting a great strike on my bunker shots - I was hitting the spot where I wanted to pitch them on the green but they were releasing a lot as my strike wasn’t great.
The best of my rounds was on Sunday when I managed to hole a few putts early on and get myself to three under through six holes. I was playing nicely, had holed a few putts and feeling good about myself but unfortunately I made a few mistakes over the rest of the round and dropped a few poor shots, ending up shooting level par. However I felt that I had made progress with my putting so it wasn’t all bad.
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