Harrington pushing hard for fourth major title

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2010, 12:10 am

Open ChampionshipST. ANDREWS, Scotland – A few years ago, Padraig Harrington would’ve gladly settled for three major championships.

Now, it’s not enough.

The two-time British Open champion said the outlook changes once you’ve got a few major titles in the trophy case. In addition to winning back-to-back at Carnoustie and Birkdale (2007-08), he captured the 2008 PGA Championship.

“I’m sure when I had zero, if somebody told me I was to win three, I would have said, ‘Thank you very much. I’ll take that,”’ Harrington said. “Now, of course, I’ve won three. It’s all about just one more. That’s human nature.”

He might be pushing too hard.

The Irishman hasn’t won a sanctioned tournament since his PGA triumph at Oakland Hills nearly two years ago, and his best finish in the last six majors is 10th.

“I want to go out and win more majors and, if anything, I’m too pushy, too hard, and trying too hard,” Harrington said. “It’s not about sitting back and doing your normal thing and relaxing a little bit and enjoying it. I would be of the other camp of overdoing things.”

Given his results, he’s starting to wonder if that’s the right attitude.

“When you’ve won them, you can ease off a little bit,” Harrington said. “That’s certainly something I’ll be focusing on this week, is maybe trying to take a more balanced attitude out to the golf course, relaxing, enjoying it, all those cliches that you hear said about golf. If I take a better attitude out there, I’ll just let it happen.”

He sure seemed relaxed on Monday. After wrapping up a practice round and heading back toward the clubhouse in a cart, he stopped along the way to sign autographs for a few fortunate fans.

“I actually don’t need my sports psychologist with me anymore this week,” Harrington joked. “I’m going to work with the journalists.”


HIGH STAKES, HIGH ENTERTAINMENT: When he reached the end of his practice round, Phil Mickelson could only chuckle.

“You think anyone has ever grinded this hard on a Monday?” he said.

It was only a practice round at the British Open, and a high-stakes game with Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney. But it was high entertainment at the end, even for Mickelson.

The threesome had a side bet on stroke play, with the loser paying the winner (whoever finished second was off the hook). Johnson roared out to a big lead, turning in 3 under, until the back nine tripped him up. Mickelson surged to a big lead until back-to-back bogeys, then a tee shot so far left on the 17th he thought he wouldn’t find it.

Watney also was in the rough, searching for his ball. That led Mickelson to wonder aloud, “Has anyone ever gone back to the tee for losing a ball in a practice round?”

Lefty found his ball and salvaged a bogey, sending him to the 18th at 1 under – two shots ahead of Johnson and Watney.

“I could make a 1 here. That would help,” Johnson said, and it wasn’t clear if he was kidding. After all, he does hit it a long way.

Mickelson, again disproving the theory that his course management is lacking, hammered a driver toward the first tee and was safe. It came down to Johnson and Watney to see who had to pay. Watney holed a 10-foot birdie putt, and Johnson matched him from 8 feet.

They tied at 72. The question was whether they split the tab or had a chip-off.

“You should have figured that out on No. 2,” Mickelson said, making it clear he never expected to lose this game. They headed toward the Valley of Sin with their putters, even as a single behind them, Paul Streeter, was coming up the 18th.

“He’s getting in the way of our game,” one of the caddies said.

Watney and Johnson both got up-and-down with 8-foot putts when Watney suggested they split the cost of losing.

“I don’t split,” Johnson replied.

On the second putt-off, Watney came up short and Johnson made his 4-footer. Pay up, Nick.

Then it was off to the range, not nearly as much fun.
STRUCK DOWN:
Steve Stricker is at St. Andrews for the first time in 10 years. Don’t get the idea he didn’t try to get here more often.

In his second year on the PGA Tour, Stricker flew over to Scotland in 1995 with hopes of getting to St. Andrews. He tried to get a spot as low finisher in the Scottish Open at Carnoustie, but didn’t make it. The tournament ended Saturday back then, to give players a chance at local qualifying on the Sunday and Monday of the British Open.

Stricker had his wife, Nikki, on the bag. They went to a local links, and he opened with a 73.

“I knew I needed a low one the next day,” Stricker said Monday after arriving at St. Andrews.

Without a practice range, Stricker was swinging a club outside the clubhouse to get loose. He birdied the first hole and thought he was on his way. Then he looked in his bag.

“I had one extra club,” he said. “I’m not sure what hole I was on, but I got four strokes (as a penalty).”

And so went his hopes for St. Andrews – that year, anyway.
WAITING GAME:
Brian Davis flew a long way with no guarantee of a tee time.

The PGA Tour regular hopped on one of the charter flights that brought more than two dozen players directly from the John Deere Classic to St. Andrews.

There’s a catch, however: Davis is only the first alternate for the Open, so his hopes of playing depend on someone else dropping out.

Still, Davis figured it was worth a shot, doling out a $1,250 donation to the John Deere charity fund for a seat on the flight. He arrived in Scotland on Monday and will be ready to go if the call comes that a spot in the 156-player field has opened up.

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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 halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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