Harrington tops Norman for claret jug - COPIED

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England --Turns out Padraig Harringtons wrist was strong enough to hit all the right shots in the British Open. Better yet, it was strong enough to lift the silver claret jug.
 
Harrington became the first European in more than a century to win golfs oldest championship two years is a row, smashing a pair of fairway metals into the par 5s Sunday that allowed him to pull away from mistake-prone Greg Norman and hold off a late charge by Ian Poulter for a four-shot victory.
 
I enjoyed the claret jug so much I didnt want to give it back, Harrington said.
 
Even in the relentless wind, Harrington managed to shoot 32 on the back nine to close with a 1-under 69.
 
And to think he gave himself only a 75 percent chance of teeing off on Thursday, and only a 50 percent chance of finishing.
 
No one bothered asking him the odds of winning.
 
The 36-year-old Irishman injured his right wrist eight days ago, and it was so sore when he arrived at Royal Birkdale that he stopped practice after nine holes on Tuesday and three swings on Wednesday.
 
But he was at full strength in gusts up to 40 mph off the Irish Sea, especially down the stretch. He ripped a 3-wood into the wind to about 40 feet on the par-5 15th and got down in two putts for birdie to build a two-shot lead. Then came a 5-wood that bounded up the green on the par-5 17th and settled 4 feet away for eagle.
 
Theres no doubt it helped me this week, Harrington said, referring to his wrist. It helped take all the pressure, all the stress, all the expectations away from me.
 
A year ago, Harrington was an emotional wreck at Carnoustie after making double bogey on the final hole and beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff. Backed by a four-shot lead after his eagle on the 17th, he was afforded a pleasurable walk along the dunes toward the final green, the only suspense his margin of victory.
 
He finished at 3-over 283, becoming the first European since James Braid in 1905-06 to win the Open in successive years.
 
It was his first victory since the British Open last year, and it could not have come at a better time. Harrington moved to the top of Europes Ryder Cup standings, and the victory moved him to No. 3 in the world ranking behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
 
Im quite enjoying this, Harrington said, cradling the claret jug. I dont think Ill get down off the stage.
 
Norman played a familiar role as the tragic figure.
 
This had all the elements of a fairy tale like few others in golf. Norman, 53, married tennis great Chris Evert three weeks ago and was on the tail end of his honeymoon when he wound up with a two-shot lead going into the final round and a chance to become the oldest major champion. Instead, it ended like so many other majors when he was in his prime.
 
The Shark lost his two-shot lead after the third hole. He still had a one-shot lead going to the back nine, but bogeyed three of the next four holes and had to settle for a 77 and a tie for third with Henrik Stenson (71).
 
I walk away from here disappointed, but with my head held high, because I hung in there, Norman said.
 
Poulter thought he could bring England its first British Open since Nick Faldo in 1992, playing bogey-free over his final 15 holes and making a 15-foot par on the 18th hole to finish off a 69. He went to the practice range in case of a playoff, but put his clubs away when he saw that Harrington made eagle on the 17th hole.
 
Norman tried to keep alive his hopes with a 35-foot par putt on the 14th, and a shot from a pot bunker that made him spin backward, turning to see the ball land 4 feet away for a birdie. Harrington, however, didnt back down.
 
Padraig played brilliantly today, even though he tried to let it get away in the middle of the round, Norman said. He came back and performed brilliantly, and he finished like a true champion.
 
Harrington walked off the 18th green with his children, Patrick and Cairan, and sat atop a pot bunker to pose with the jug.
 
The leaderboard featured a familiar name, missing an s.
 
Chris Wood, a 20-year-old amateur from England, closed in on the lead until three straight bogeys on the back nine. He finished with a 72 and tied for fifth at 10-over 290 with Jim Furyk (71).
 
Its been the best week of my life, Wood said.
 
Norman felt much the same, except for the final day.
 
What an amazing week for the Shark'spending his honeymoon in Skibo Castle, showing up at Royal Birkdale to tune up for the Senior British Open and Senior U.S. Open, then finding himself with a two-shot lead going into the final round.
 
Fans perched themselves atop every sand dune to see if Norman could pull off a victory that would have ranked among the most stunning in golf, from Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters at age 46 to Ben Hogan returning from a life-threatening car crash to win the U.S. Open.
 
But instead of a fairy-tale ending, he delivered a rerun of opportunties lost in the majors.
 
Where does it rank in those? Probably not as high as some of the other ones, said Norman, who now is 1-7 when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead in majors. Quite honestly, Im sure I surprised a lot of people.
 
Norman hit into a pot bunker on the first hole and made bogey. He missed the green left on the second hole and made bogey. His tee shot buried in the right rough on the third hole for another bogey. And he had to make an 8-foot to save bogey on the sixth.
 
Just like that, a two-shot lead over Harrington turned into a two-shot deficit.
 
Even quicker, momentum swung back in Normans favor.
 
Flawless over the first six holes, Harrington ran off three straight bogeys, and Norman stood on the 10th tee of the British Open with a one-shot lead and nine holes to play.
 
But he pulled his tee shot into the left rough and made bogey, losing the lead for good. The end for Norman was a tee shot into the pot bunker on the 13th, and a third shot that came up woefully short of the green. He scrambled for bogey, but only after Harrington made his first birdie of the round from 12 feet.
 
The only duel was between Harrington and Poulter, who came on strong in his pink pants and fist pumps.
 
Poulter had the look of an English winner over the home stretch with steady shots and a birdie on the 16th that fell into the cup sideways on its last turn. What ultimately cost him, however, was failing to birdie the par 5s from good positions, the last one a three-putt par from below the ridge.
 
I can only do what I can do, Poulter said. And I done my best.
 
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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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.