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Teeing up for Olympics: Padraig Harrington says Olympics will be bigger than the Open or U.S. Masters

Padraig Harrington's blog: Chevron World Challenge review

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Teeing up for Olympics: Padraig Harrington says Olympics will be bigger than the Open or U.S. Masters

I am back home after the Chevron World Challenge and a couple of days at the Titleist Performance institute.

I came over to California looking for a win to finish off my season but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.  I finished in a tie for third place with Lee Westwood, which in the end was a very good result as I was looking like struggling for a top ten finish at one stage.  This has been a good event for me over the years and even though I didn’t win, it was still a good way to finish off my year.  I picked up some good world ranking points to close out my season; seeing as I am taking eight weeks off it is nice to have picked up a few!

For the first two rounds I played very nicely, but I never really converted the chances that I gave myself. I shot rounds of three under and four under but I should have been at least five shots better.  In my third round I didn’t feel that I played as well, but I still managed to shoot two under par to leave me in third place going into the final round.

I gave myself the chance to win the tournament but unfortunately I left a lot of shots behind me in the first three rounds.  The way I played in those rounds I should have put a bit of daylight between me and the field.  I had a number of three putts along with a number of short ones missed for birdies.  It certainly wasn’t a typical week for me on the greens.  At the start of the week I was hoping to get myself into contention for the final round so as to give myself a chance to win the tournament; I did this but I just didn’t play well enough in the final round to win.

My final round was a strange round of golf.  If someone had told me before I went out that I would hole out three times from off the green and drive the ball great then I would have assumed that I would win the tournament.  In fact I drove the ball probably as well as I have ever done in a final round; I hit it long and straight but I hit my irons very poorly.  I was in great positions coming into the greens but I just wasn’t able to hit a decent iron shot.  It was very strange; particularly for me as it is more likely to be the other way around. However, as bad as I hit my irons I did manage to save myself a few times by chipping in; I holed a bunker shot for an eagle on the second, a chip shot on the fifth for par and then another chip shot on the sixteenth for another eagle.  I still find it hard to believe that I didn’t have a chance to win coming down the last few holes considering I made two eagles!

After nine holes I looked at the leaderboard and noticed that I was in danger of dropping out of the top ten but also still capable of winning the tournament with a good back nine.  It was an amazing day in that there were so many people in with a shout of winning.  I managed to pick up one shot through six holes on the back nine to get me back to one over for the day, eight under for the tournament and four behind Jim Furyk.  On the sixteenth I missed the green right with my five wood second, finishing in a terrible lie.  I was looking to get it up and down for birdie but knew it would be hard as it was sitting poorly and on a down slope.  I wasn’t thinking about holing it when I was over the ball but as it ran out on the green I knew it had a chance. When it went in I felt that I had given myself an outside chance of winning with two holes to play.  I parred the 17th and then birdied the last to finish on eleven under par for the week and two shots behind Jim, who birdied the last.

I was disappointed not to have contended in the final round more but then I was also very happy with how I finished the round.  I shot three under for the last three holes to get into third place, so it could have been a lot worse!  All in all, it wasn’t a bad week. I would have loved to have picked up a win but you don’t get everything you want.

After the tournament I headed to San Diego for a couple of days at the TPI centre.  I always head up there at the end of my season to go through the screening process and see how everything is.  This year Bob Torrance came over to go through it with me.  I spent two and half days there doing all the various tests and screens.  As always it was very worthwhile; it gave me a good sense of where everything is with my swing and my body and what I need to work on in the winter.

I am back home now and looking forward to enjoying the season festivities.  As always I will be working away on various elements of my game but for the moment I will be taking it easy and enjoying being home.

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