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The newly minted U.S. Senior Open Champion is making his debut at Europe’s Senior Major Championship this week and arrived in Scotland as one of the favourites over the King’s Course.
He lived up to that billing as he reached four under on day one but, just 11 months into his senior career, he did not believe it was his length or athleticism that gave him an edge.
“I’m happy with the score,” he said. “I was very tentative. I putted well and my putter saved me most of the day. I was just tentative with my iron shots particularly.
“I’ve got to say, I like it off the tee and as long as you keep the ball low, it does camber back into the fairways. You just don’t want to get it back into the fairway and spread it.
“On 17, I missed the fairway and that was a difficult shot and maybe I should have hit the iron off the tee. But I like it off the tee to be honest and that’s why I’m saying I should have been a bit more aggressive into the greens. I think you can set up a lot of chances out there.”
The three-time Major Champion has long been famed for his work ethic on the range and willingness to try anything to get the very most out of his game.
And while he does not regret all the hours he spent working on his game down the years, he admits he would not recommend it to anyone else.
Debutant @padraig_h was in no doubt about the most important club in the bag on day one of the #SeniorOpen pic.twitter.com/vHe3G8WS8d
— Legends Tour (@euLegendsTour) July 21, 2022
“I have a lot of different niggles and things like that,” he said. “Look, I can’t do it anymore. I don’t regret that I used to do it and it may be who I was but it definitely is not the right thing to do.
“I think I’ve learned from that now. I thought I was very poor today mentally, I ain’t going to find that on the range. Doesn’t matter what I do if I go down there, I cannot create the same competition on that range – a flat, big field – as I can on the golf course.
“I’ll think about it. Maybe do a bit of visualisation and just come out tomorrow and hope I have a better day in that sense. I’m not finding that on the range anymore.
“I was playing with Monty this week and he was great. You prepare for Sunday and not Thursday. And I always used to prepare for Thursday and sometimes I would be burnt out by Sunday.”