Irish golfer Padraig Harrington is caught up in a European Tour controversy

Coming to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the one worry you have is the weather but thankfully this year the weather was great. It stayed dry for the week and as we got to the end of the week it actually got quite warm.

However whilst the weather was great my golf wasn’t quite up to the same standard but it did improve a lot from L.A. I played a lot better than last week but I still wasn’t quite comfortable with my game; I felt like there was very little power in my swing. It was a similar feeling to what I had at the US Open last year; I remembered that I had worked on setting the angle in my swing earlier after the US Open and it helped a lot in terms of power. I spent some time working on this during the week and when I got it right I felt like I had a lot more power.

Even though I wasn’t quite happy with how I played I did perform a lot better than the previous week. My short game was much better and in patches my mental side was quite decent. I finished on 9 under par for a share for 16th which in the end was very disappointing as I was 10 under playing the last hole and I three putted to drop a shot and finish outside of the top ten.

Looking back on the week my tournament could so easily have been different as my first round of three under was close to being one under. I played fine in the first round but still hit a number of shots that I wasn’t happy with and was two under playing my last hole having dropped three shots.

The three dropped shots were all around or on the greens. I hit my second shot over the back of my last hole and left myself a messy lie and an awkward chip shot. I had already made a mess of two chip shots earlier in the round so it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for at that stage. I hit a nice chip shot that looked like it was going to be stone dead but thankfully it ran out and fell in for a birdie. Chipping in on my last hole made such a difference to how I felt about my round; I walked away feeling good and feeling like I could make a challenge in the tournament, whereas if I got it up and down or even dropped a shot I wouldn’t have felt so good about my round and I would have felt like I was struggling in the tournament.

I played nicely the second day in Pebble and shot five under which really got me into the tournament. I was eight under and lying two shots off the pace. My third round was on the new course Monterey Peninsula Country Club and unfortunately it didn’t go as well as I would have liked. I started on the tenth which meant that two of the three par fives were in my first three holes.

I really wasn’t feeling comfortable over the ball and I only managed to par my first three holes, then on my fourth hole I missed a three footer for birdie. This kind of set the tone for my day and everything after that was a struggle. In the end I made three birdies and two bogeys to shoot one under par. It was actually a decent score considering how I played but it left me too far back to challenge for the tournament. I was nine under and the leaders were at 18 under.

In the end I was disappointed with my finish in the final round because of the fact that I three putted the last hole to drop out of the top ten. I had played nicely the final day but the course was playing much tougher than the other days so one under would have been a decent score. If I had parred the last I would have come away from the week feeling good about it as I didn’t feel comfortable and yet I managed to put in a decent performance. My short game was pretty good, I chipped in twice during the week and got it up and down 6 times out of eight from bunkers. Even tough I missed a good few chances on the greens during the week I still managed to hole out well for pars.

Coming away from the week I am disappointed to have three putted the last green but I am happy with my short game. I am fully aware that my short game and my mental approach are key to how I perform on any given week. If I can get these areas in decent shape then I am in good shape. Unfortunately JP and I missed the cut in the team tournament; we did fine but our third round killed us. I struggled and didn’t really do enough for the team and as a result we ended up a few shots outside of the cut. As always though we had a great week and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It would have been nice to make the cut but there is always next year.

All in all it was a decent week. I definitely felt a lot better over the ball by the end of the week and my short game was in good shape. I am happy that I don’t have much to work on next week at the Accenture Match Play other than my focus and mental approach.