Padraig Harrington is convinced his form is on the up despite missing the cut in his last two tournaments.
The three-time major champion will begin the last leg of a four-week stint in the United States when he plays Pat Perez on Wednesday in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain, near Tucson.
The results so far have been far from encouraging as Harrington followed a tie for 24th in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines with early departures from both the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and last week’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
Yet the Irishman insisted he was moving in the right direction as he heads towards The Masters, the first major of the year in April.
“I think my form has picked up,” Harrington said. “I’m very happy. I reckon I’m two weeks behind where I should be, but I’m very happy with where I am and where I’m going.”
The 37-year-old, however, said this week’s tournament would be a difficult place to assess that progress.
“Match play is a difficult event,” he added. “You can go out there and play great and lose, and you can go out there and play average and win.
“It’s one of those weeks – you can never judge your form based on a week like this.
“As I said, if it was a stroke play event, I’d probably be a lot more comfortable, because as I suppose I’m looking to show some form, and it would be easier to do that in a stroke play event because I know I have 72 holes to do it.
“Here you’ve got to be good from the start, and you’ve got to sustain it for... seven rounds this week if you win it?
“It’s a long week to sustain it, as well. It is difficult to show form or to use to judge form anyway, for a player to know how he’s playing.”
Having missed the cut at Riviera, Harrington arrived early at Dove Mountain, where this year’s WGC-Accenture is being played at a new Jack Nicklaus-designed course rather than its venue of the past two years, the nearby Gallery Golf Club.
Harrington played a full 18-hole round of the newly-completed 7,849-yard, par-72 Ritz-Carlton GC on Sunday, and played nine holes on Monday and again on Tuesday.
“It is a difficult golf course to fully remember,” the reigning Open and US PGA champion said.
“I think it’s a golf course you need to play and play and play competitively before you understand all the pin positions, if you ever can understand the pin positions.
“There’s a lot of pins that can be out there, and it seems to be impossible to cover all angles.
“It’s just one of those golf courses that because of the undulations in the greens, you’ll always put doubt in your mind in the approach shots because you just can’t hit it middle of the green every time. Middle of the green sometimes are worse than missing the green.
“It’s one of those courses you’re just going to have to put up with and keep firing at the flags, which is good for match play. It is actually a match play golf course.”