Harrington is the hardest worker in golf

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2008, 5:00 pm
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. ' Perhaps it is only fitting that Padraig Harrington first gained notoriety in the United States when he walked more than 150 yards to the 17th green at The Country Club to check the hole location at the Ryder Cup.
Few players pay such attention to detail.
He is missing this week from the Chevron World Challenge for the first time in seven years, but he was easy to find all those years he showed up at Sherwood for what most everyone else treated as a prestigious money grab. Even in the silly season, Harrington would be on the practice range until it was too dark and too cold to continue.
That he was voted PGA Tour player of the year Tuesday was no accident.
Vijay Singh for years was credited as the hardest-working man in golf because he spends so many hours on the practice range. Others would argue that Tiger Woods works the hardest because he is the most efficient with his time. Harrington is a little of both.
And to what does he attribute such a work ethic?
Im an optimist, he said. Every day I get out there, I think Im getting better.
In some respects, he was at his best this year. The Irishman won only two tournaments this year, but they put him in the record books. He became the first European in more than a century to win back-to-back at the British Open. A month later, he became the first European ever to win successive majors in the same season by capturing the PGA Championship.
Who would have imagined that?
As everyone waited to see if Colin Montgomerie would win a major to validate his eight Order of Merits, or if Sergio Garcia would live up to his supreme skills by winning a major, Harrington won three of the last six majors to become the face of European golf.
I probably never was necessarily destined as the one to be picked out to go on to such great heights, Harrington said. At all stages, Im somebody who has worked hard. And probably my greatest trait is my ability to learn, apply myself to tasks, find out what needs to be done and to move on.
Harrington won 11 times on the European Tour and twice on the PGA Tour before he won his first major. He was known almost as much for the all those runner-up finishes he had'14 in a four-year span at the turn of the decade.
He figures he could have won more, but at what cost?
Im quite a risk-taker when it comes to changing things, Harrington said. I worry sometimes that, certainly in my initial years on the tour, I sacrificed short-term performances. I might have won more events but for the fact that I was always changing things.
He can recall more than one occasion when he was leading or in contention going into the final round, and he spent his time on the practice range that morning changing his swing to get ready for a bigger tournament down the road.
Nowadays, it would be madness to do something like that, he said.
His great season was topped off by a week that made all the work'and all the changes'worthwhile.
In a span of eight days, Harrington was voted player of the year by the European tour; by the British-based Association of Golf Writers; by the Golf Writers Association of America (with 75 percent of the vote); and by his colleagues on the PGA Tour.
The most recent was the most meaningful because it was strictly a vote of the players.
It is an individual game when were out there competing, but you do want and crave the respect of your fellow pros, he said. And the fact that they have picked me as their player of the year, I find it hard to describe. Ive probably never received as high an accolade in my life. It compares equally to winning a major championship.
The PGA Tour does not release voting totals, and all Harrington revealed was that he abstained.
I wouldnt believe in voting for myself, he said. But I did dearly want to win it, so I wasnt going to vote for somebody else.
With one major in the bag, Harrington found himself trying to live up to his status the first part of 2008 and getting in his way. Only after a wrist injury in the days leading up to the British Open did he take pressure off himself and let the golf come naturally.
Two majors put him in a special class, but he kept pushing, searching for a new level to reach. He found it a month later at Oakland Hills with a putting performance over the final three holes that ranks among the best.
Now comes the most scrutiny he has ever faced.
If he were to win at Augusta National in April, Harrington would join Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan as the only players to win three consecutive majors since the Masters began in 1934. Additional pressure comes from having to beat a major field that includes Woods, who was on the couch when Harrington won the last two majors.
Whatever happens, it will not be from a lack of effort

Related Links:
  • Padraig Harrington voted PGA Tour Player of the Year
  • ON THE TEE: Did Harrington deserve PGA Tour Player of the Year?
  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.

    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.

    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.

    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.

    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”