I got into London on Monday afternoon after flying straight from Dallas. I had an appointment at three o'clock and then after that I went to Walton Heath to play one of the US Open qualifying courses.
As I hadn't played at Walton Heath before I wanted to get a look before qualifying. I played the Old Course on Monday evening and then went back on Tuesday to play the New Course. I played the New Course on Tuesday with my brother Columb, it was good to see him as it had been a while and even longer since we had played a game together.
After we finished I went to Wentworth to see Pete for 30 minutes and then I had physio and then after all that I went to the European Tour Dinner.
Wednesday I played the morning pro-am and then did some practice. I didn't get too caught up in practising, as I was a little tired. I spent about 20 minutes hitting balls and then about 45 minutes putting and chipping. Nothing too stressful as I was out early on Thursday morning.
Wentworth and the Walton Heath courses were extremely firm when I played them in practice but when I got up on Thursday morning it had rained during the night and had softened up the course considerably. I was quite happy to see it this way as I felt that the course as it was in practice was not a good test. There were pins on the greens that with firm greens you couldn't go at whereas after the rain it meant that a good shot was rewarded.
I played early on Thursday with Darren [Clarke] and Tongchai Jaidee, I felt that I played OK tee to green and like last week in Dallas I chipped and putted well, and ended up shooting three under par. When I finished it only felt like an average score because Thomas Bjorn was playing behind me and he shot ten under, however as it turned out my score was a solid opening round.
The group behind us finished up and then a storm came in and suspended play. It ended up being suspended for over two hours. I had some filming to do and a few other bits that filled the time, as I wanted to do some putting practice. Once play resumed I went out and hit a few balls and then putted for about an hour.
Looking back on the week I wish I hadn't gone to the putting green on Thursday afternoon. Over the next three rounds I putted very poorly, my game from tee to green didn't change too much but my short game was poor for the last three rounds. On Friday I ended up shooting four over par to finish on one over for the tournament to make the cut by a shot.
My last few holes were like a rollercoaster, I birdied 12, 14 and 16, bogeyed 13, 15 and 17 and parred for a round of 76. I missed a lot of short putts on my way to this score. The weekend didn't get much better, I shot rounds of 74 and 73 to finish in a tie for 61st. The majority of the problems were on the greens.
Looking back I can see what happened, I practised my putting on Thursday evening and the green was quite slow and I ended up missing a number of putts due to the pace and this affected me for the rest of the week. I have no doubt that if I had left the course after my round on Thursday that I would have putted a lot better.
After starting with a round of three under on a course that I have struggled on over the years it was disappointing to end up shooting the scores I did on Friday and over the weekend. I put myself in a good position after round one and wasted it. I was feeling good coming into the week and after my first round but then I lost my putting and it made for a long week.
It is never nice to be watching the end of a tournament that you have competed in on television but this one was very exciting. I watched the last few holes in my hotel near Walton Heath. It was as exciting a finish as we have had for a long time. In the end it was a great win by Rory [McIlroy], to finish birdie, birdie was impressive when it had to be done and for Shane [Lowry] to get second place was great. What a putt on the last!
On Monday I tried to qualify for the US Open, it was 36 holes at Walton Heath. Like Wentworth it was a totally different course than I had practised, the rain softened the course up considerably. I played the New Course first and it was here that the damage was done. I struggled on the greens again but this time with the pace of them and also not knowing the course that well cost me a shot or two. A few poor shots and a few missed putts meant that I signed for a three over par first round.
It pretty much rained all day so when I was heading out for my second round I felt that I could still make it but that I needed at least six under. I made enough birdies, six in all, but too many mistakes. I had two double bogeys and a bogey for a one under par round.
When I was playing the last few holes it was quite miserable and I thought that anything under par for the two rounds might be good enough.As it turned out it took four under to get through and even those on four under had to play off. Considering the conditions the scoring was good. Had I shot six under in the afternoon I would have been very disappointed. So it means that I am missing my first US Open for fifteen years. It is tough to take but the worst part of it is that it will be tougher come the week of it.
I am back home this week for a rest. I have played 14 rounds in 13 days and am feeling the effects of it now. I could see in Walton Heath that tiredness was playing a big part in my performance. I am looking forward to taking it easy for a few days before I head back to the States for the Fed Ex St Jude Championship.
Padraig Harrington writes for GiveMeSport and shares his thoughts on the recent BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
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