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Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington’s personal tour diary: BMW Championship preview

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Padraig Harrington

Read Padraig Harrington's tour diary at PadraigHarrington.com

This is the last of three tournaments in a row for me; after this week the top thirty get in to the Tour Championship in Atlanta for the final of the playoffs. This week in Chicago there are seventy players, everyone has a chance of getting into the final event and winning the Fed Ex cup. I am currently lying seventh so I am assured of being in the Tour Championship but the key for the final event is being in the top five of the standings going into the Tour Championship so that you can win the Fed Ex cup if you win the Tour Championship. If you are outside of the top five then you have to rely on what the top guys do even if you win. So this week’s event has a lot of bearing on the final outcome.

It is the BMW Championship at Cog Hill; previously the Western Open was held here. I have never played here before which is a big disadvantage however they have redone the golf course over the last year so it is kind of new to everyone. All the greens and bunkers have been completely redone and some length has been added. The fact that the greens have been re-laid is a big advantage to me as it means that they are all pretty much new to everyone.

I flew up straight from Boston on Monday night as we are back to normal with our Thursday start this week. As we lost a day with last weeks tournament finishing on Monday it meant that I only had two days to practice the course. I got up and played the course on Tuesday so that I would get a good look, most of the field weren’t arriving until Tuesday afternoon. As I hit my second shot down the 11th I tweaked my neck, it had been a little tight during the front nine so when it went on me I went straight in for some treatment, just as a precaution. I would have liked to have played the course in full but I wanted to make sure that there was nothing wrong with my neck. I got treatment and then took it easy for the rest of the day so not to aggravate it. I knew that I was playing the pro am on Wednesday and would get a good look at the course then so I wasn’t too worried about it.

This is my first time seeing the course and I have to say it really is a very good tough course. It has a real US Open feel to it - long, tough with heavy rough as well as having a lot of mature trees. It’s the sort of course that you would never tire of playing. It measures over 7,600 yards but actually feels longer as a lot of the second shots are up hill and the fairways are soft so there is no run. The way it is playing there is definitely a premium on hitting the fairway as it will be hard to make some of the greens from the rough.

My neck has cleared up nicely and I am feeling good about my game. Like the last two weeks this one is a big week as there are a lot of points up for grabs before the rerank on Sunday evening. I am here to concentrate on this week’s tournament; I have to make sure not to get sucked into the hype of the Fed Ex cup. To win the Fed Ex cup you have to play well in the play-offs, so far I have had two good weeks but to have a chance of winning it I have to keep that run going. As always with me I am here to try and give myself a chance of winning the tournament come Sunday afternoon. If I can get into contention again then I know that I am doing the right things and if I keep doing them I will win one. The key is to keep my mind on this week and forget about the last event and what could or couldn’t happen.

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