Harrington ready for every occasion at Pebble

By Associated PressFebruary 12, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. ' The rain started falling late Wednesday, a sure sign the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was about to begin. And it was sure to bring a smile to Padraig Harrington.
 
The three-time major champion from Ireland is not much different from any other golfer. Give him the choice between 80 degrees and sunshine or 50 degrees and rain that falls sideways, and hell be on the first plane to Palm Springs.
 
But he can play in the cold, in the wind, in the rain'sometimes all of the above.
 
I was brought up playing in this, he said. Its natural to me. I understand it. I can adapt to it. I dont have issues with it. Being brought up in Ireland, you get a lot of different conditions. You can have a nice summers day or you can have a wet and windy day, and you just have to get on with it and adapt.
 
Certainly, thats a trait of mine that has served me well.
 
Even as recently as last year, it should not go unmentioned that he won the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 30 mph wind, and won the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills by playing 27 holes on Sunday because of the rain.
 
But he offered some insight and illustrations of his history with weather and his passion for golf in any conditions.
 
I have never arranged to play a game of golf in Ireland and not played, Harrington said. Theres never been a day. I have played when it snowed, Ive played in all sorts of conditions, but I cant ever remember arranging to play golf and not actually going to play.
 
The worst of it?
 
Harrington played the West of Ireland golf championship every year as an amateur, the first big tournament of the spring held at Rosses Point on the tip of the Emerald Isle where he said the next stop would be New York.
 
As you stand there, its kind of on the sea or kind of on the cliff edge, and you can see the weather fronts come in, he said. And the weather used to get so bad that it was close to gale force winds, hail storms. When the real bad wind came in, you used to have to huddle into little ravines or bunkers to protect yourself from the hail storms.
 
He would wear a T-shirt, a golf shirt, a vest, two sweaters and a rain jacket and still feel the hail.
 
But he remembered one valuable lesson.
 
My old coach, Howard Bennett, used to always say, You get a bad day, 50 percent of the field arent prepared to play in those conditions, and the next 50 percent arent capable of playing in the conditions. So youre only playing 25 percent of the field on a bad day, Harrington said. Whereas on a nice, sunny day, you have to beat everybody.
 
No telling how many he will have to beat when the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am begins on Thursday.
 
The field is the largest in golf, 180 players with 180 amateurs spread over Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills. This is the one tournament that has room for every rookie from Q-school or the Nationwide Tour, and some players who only have status as a past champion. Chris Smith, who hasnt finished in the top 150 on the money list in five years, got in as an alternate.
 
The field is strong. Harrington is among three players from the top five in the world ranking'joining Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh, back from a minor knee surgery'while Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk made it five of the top 15.
 
The last three PGA Tour winners'Nick Watney (Buick Invitational), Perry (FBR Open) and Pat Perez (Bob Hope Chrysler Classic) are playing, as are David Toms and Davis Love III.
 
What kind of weather they face remains a mystery, which is typical of Pebble.
 
Remember, this is the tournament that was delayed in 1962 because of snow. Jimmy Demaret rolled out of bed at the Lodge, saw snow on the 18th green and quipped, I know I had a lot to drink last night, but how did I end up in Sun Valley?
 
But as bad of a rap that Pebble gets this time of the year, weather hasnt been an issue since Tiger Woods won on a Monday in 2000.
 
Toms is back for the first time since he missed the cut in 2002, in part because he is No. 66 in the world ranking and this is the final week to qualify for the 64-man field at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
The last few times I was here, the weather was extremely iffy at best' probably a lot like were going to have again, he said. So maybe its my fault.
 
Also back at Pebble is Mark Calcavecchia, although hes not sure why. He stopped playing the Sony Open and Buick Invitational, missed the cut in his two starts in the desert, and figured hed better play somewhere.
 
Plus I kept hearing the weather has been good here, so I figured Id better put a stop to that, he said. I played in 2001 and it took me three years to get over it. Played here in 2004 and it took me five years to get over that.
 
Sounds like he might not be in that 25 percentile to which Harrington referred.
 
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."