Harrington wins PGA for second straight major

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Padraig Harrington rallied from three shots behind Sunday to win the PGA Championship, closing with a 4-under 66 at Oakland Hills to become only the fourth player to win the British Open and PGA in the same year.
 
Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington with the Wanamaker Trophy(Getty Images)
If the winner was familiar, so was the finish.
 
Harrington shot a 32 on the back nine, just as he did at Royal Birkdale last month, and he came up with three big putts down the stretch. He made a 12-foot par on the 16th to catch Sergio Garcia and Ben Curtis, took the lead with an 8-foot birdie on the par-3 17th, then closed out the Spaniard with an 18-foot par for a two-shot victory.
 
I think I was willing them into the hole at that stage, Harrington said. You have to get focused and give it a go.
 
The Irishman ended Europes 78-year drought in the PGA Championship, and he joined Tiger Woods, Nick Price and Walter Hagen as the only players to win the final two majors in the same year. Woods did it twice, in 2000 and 2006.
 
Harrington talked about going to another level after winning the British Open, and he wound up in a class to himself a month later. He is the first European to win consecutive majors, and now has won three of the last six.
 
Thats Tiger-like, right there, Curtis said.
 
Garcia was poised to finally prove he could win a major, leading by one shot in the middle of the 16th fairway. But he hit 6-iron into the water and had to scramble for bogey, then missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the 17th to fall one shot behind. He hit into the bunker on the final hole and blasted out to 6 feet, but Harrington made sure that putt wouldnt matter.
 
I obviously came up a little bit short, Garcia said. But I guess thats the way things go sometimes. The only thing I can do is go back home with my head up high and keep working on it.
 
Harrington, stoic throughout so many stunning shifts in momentum, finally let loose when his par putt dropped on the 18th. He pumped his fist twice, then a third time for effect.
 
Harrington finished at 3-under 277 and earned $1.35 million.
 
Curtis lost a chance to validate his shocking victory in the 2003 British Open. He bogeyed two of the final four holes for a 71, but came away with a big consolation. His tie for second was enough to move him up to No. 7 in the U.S. standings and qualify for the Ryder Cup.
 
Garcia moved to No. 3 in the European standings and sewed up a spot on his fifth straight team.
 
Harrington wasnt even in the picture Sunday morning when players returned to Oakland Hills to resume the weather-delayed third round, some of them playing 36 holes. He was 4 over after nine holes, then ran off four straight birdies on the back nine for a 66 to get into contention going into the final 18.
 
With another major at stake under gloomy skies, Harrington simply shined.
 
And for the second straight year, Garcia suffered.
 
Harrington rallied from six shots behind last year to beat Garcia in a playoff at Carnoustie. This time, he spotted the Spaniard three shots when they made the turn and made four birdies over the back nine.
 
He knocked in a 15-foot birdie on the 10th, chipped to 3 feet for birdie on the par-5 12th and caught Garcia with a 12-foot birdie on the 13th. Garcia, whose birdie-eagle start thrust him into contention, didnt make a birdie over the final 12 holes.
 
Garcia accepted defeat far more graciously than at Carnoustie, although he was terse when asked if he sensed he would win his first major as he headed to the back nine after two tremendous par saves.
 
Next question, please, he said. Lets try to keep this as positive as we can, please.
 
Harrington lamented a British Open hangover after opening with rounds of 71-74, unable to concentrate. Maybe the rain delay Saturday gave him the rest he needed, for his focus returned. He looked more determined than ever, front teeth pinched forward and tongue tucked out of the corner of his mouth on every important shot.
 
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    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
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    Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

    Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

    Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

    Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

    The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 6, Dustin Johnson

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

    Only Dustin Johnson could win four times in 2017 and it still feels as though he underachieved.

    That’s unfair, perhaps, but it’s a testament to Johnson’s awesome ability – and his incredible run of form last spring – that observers can’t help but shake the feeling that his year could have been even better.

    In February, he rose to the top of the world rankings for the first time, the culmination of a long, bizarre journey in which he often battled himself (through major blunders and, reportedly, drug-related suspensions) as much as his peers. Johnson’s blowout victory at Riviera was his first of three consecutive titles (including two WGCs), as he achieved Tiger-like levels of dominance and rolled into the Masters as the prohibitive favorite.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Expectations for this star-crossed talent are always different, and so the surprise wasn’t that he blew that major but that he didn’t even give himself a chance. In one of the biggest stunners of the year, Johnson’s manager announced on the eve of the first round that his client had suffered a back injury while slipping on a set of stairs in his rental house. Just like that, the year’s first major was thrown into chaos, with Johnson unable to play – the line of demarcation in his good-but-not-great year.

    Though he added a playoff victory at the end of the season, Johnson failed to factor in any of the remaining three majors and was surprisingly inconsistent, perhaps because of swing compensations after the injury.

    Would DJ have denied Sergio Garcia a green jacket? Would he have created even more separation at the top of the world rankings? Would he have defended his Player of the Year title? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

    In typical DJ fashion, he left us to ponder what could have been.

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    Video: DJ withstands Rahm's rally to win WGC-Match Play final

    DJ on beating Rahm: 'I didn't give him anything'

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    Article: After uneasy warmup, DJ withdraws from Masters

    Article: Johnson installed as Masters betting favorite

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