Harrington Focused Jack at Augusta

By Associated PressFebruary 5, 2008, 5:00 pm
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Padraig Harrington has the silver claret jug from winning the British Open. What he doesn't have is complacency from winning his first major and, strangely enough, the confidence he figured would come with his victory at Carnoustie.
The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will be only his third tournament in the last 10 weeks, although he is working harder than ever to refine and slightly retool his swing. The Irishman does that every year, and being a major champion didn't change that.
'You would think winning a major would mellow you,' he said. 'It's done the opposite to me. It's made me even more obsessive. There's a huge incentive to push on. I don't think I have that attitude of some guys who are trying to prove they deserved to win it. But I certainly have the attitude that I really want to win another.
'It would have been nice to chill out and take some of the glory of it all and be confident. But that's not the way my system works.'
Harrington at the very least rivals Vijay Singh as the hardest-working man in golf, and this offseason was no exception. He figures that's one reason he came down with shingles toward the end of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship three weeks ago.
He also was exhausted from giving so many interviews in Ireland toward the end of the year. He spent that time to reflect on his playoff victory at the British Open, but the start of 2008 had him looking forward.
What he realized was that a player shouldn't truly appreciate winning a major until he retires.
'I would have thought it would have given me the confidence to be happy where I am,' he said. 'It hasn't at all. It only made me want to work harder. I had a swing that won a major, but there's no element that wants to stay the same as the guy who won the major at Carnoustie, which is odd. I think that's peculiar in my psyche.'
Then again, Harrington might be in good company.
He believes Tiger Woods winning the U.S. Open by 15 shots at Pebble Beach in 2000 was as good as anyone could play. Still, it wasn't long after Woods had captured his sixth major in nine starts that he began rebuilding his swing again.
'If he tried to stay still, it probably would have gone away. He had to try to keep working on it,' Harrington said. 'I would say that as long as he's doing something, he feels like he's moving forward.
Anthony Kim is skipping the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and taking his chances.
This is the final week before the world ranking sets the 64-man field for the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona. Ernie Els already has said he won't be playing, so the top 65 will qualify.
Kim currently is at No. 64, the only player between Nos. 62 and 66 who is not competing this week. J.B. Holmes, who moved up to No. 62 with his victory in the FBR Open, Daniel Chopra (63) and Pat Perez (66) are at Pebble Beach, while Brendan Jones of Australia (65) is playing in India on the European Tour. Simon Dyson (70) also is playing in India.
Jack Nicklaus might be playing at the Masters for the next decade or two -- in the Par 3 Tournament.
'I got into that a couple of years ago, and my son, Jack, said, 'Oh, dad, you're going to play in the Par 3. How about having Charlie caddie for you? It would be a big thrill,'' Nicklaus said.
Charlie is his grandson, and the Golden Bear is a big believer in equal opportunity.
'Once I had one grandchild (as a caddie), I have 19 more, and I'll have 20 more in another month,' Nicklaus said.
Nicklaus stopped playing the Masters in 2005, another reason he can play in the Par 3. The six-time champion conceded to being superstitious, well aware that no one ever won the Masters after winning the Par 3 Tournament.
He also said it cut into his preparations.
'You play a practice round on Wednesday, preparing yourself for a golf tournament,' he said. 'And you go out and play on another golf course, another set of greens, and you're spending energy when you should be resting for the start of the tournament.
'Do you spend a lot of energy? No, you don't. Is it too much to ask the players to play? No, it' s not too much. But in the days when I was competitive and felt like I had a chance, I had so much energy focused on wanting to win that golf tournament that it was a distraction for me and not something I wanted to do.'
One of the most raucous victories for Tiger Woods came in October 2005 in the American Express Championship in San Francisco, when he rallied to catch John Daly and then beat him on the third hole of a playoff in a rock concert atmosphere.
Among those at Harding Park that week was the future No. 1 -- in women's golf.
And she bought a ticket.
It was the first time Lorena Ochoa said she saw Woods play in person, even if she couldn't see much.
'I was very impressed,' Ochoa said. 'I wanted to be close on every shot, but it's impossible. I was trying to follow him so I could watch, but it was crazy out there.'
Paul Azinger will announce his four captain's picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup on Sept. 2 in New York, a day after the Deutsche Bank Championship and about two weeks before the Ryder Cup. ... Since his first full season, Tiger Woods has won an official tournament overseas every year except 2003 and 2007. ... Twelve of Phil Mickelson's 32 victories have come at PGA TOUR events using multiple courses -- three at Pebble Beach, three at Torrey Pines, three at Tucson, two at the Bob Hope Classic and one at the Byron Nelson Championship.
Former British Open champion Todd Hamilton tied for 25th at the FBR Open, ending a streak of 38 consecutive PGA TOUR events in which he failed to finish in the top 25.
'What fascinated me about the whole thing was why anyone else cared what another professional golfer thinks about their game.' -- Padraig Harrington, on Ian Poulter's comments he potentially is the only player capable of challenging Tiger Woods.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.