Notes Harrington Still a Work in Progress

By Associated PressOctober 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
To say that Padraig Harrington's victory in the British Open was a work in progress might be an understatement.
Vijay Singh has long held the reputation as the hardest working man in golf, but Harrington could match him bucket for bucket, hour for hour. The difference was that Singh was refining, while Harrington seemed to be constantly rebuilding.
The turning point came 18 months ago.
'I started to believe more and more in myself,' Harrington said last week in Bermuda, where he stayed on a chipping green for an hour after his six-hour pro-am round. 'This season and last season, I was more comfortable. I would say in the last 18 months, for the first time, I turned up for a tournament and played those tournaments as if there were no tournaments the following week.'
He said that was true even at majors, which seems odd for someone to be thinking about anything but the next shot.
But he pointed to two majors that showed the difference in his game.
One was the U.S. Open in 1998 at The Olympic Club, where he tied for 32nd. The other was the 2006 Masters, where he tied for 27th.
'At Olympic Club, I walked away from that thinking I've got to change,' Harrington said. 'I did everything I could. I got up-and-down, holed every putt. I felt I could do no better. I felt totally inadequate.'
He was never in contention and broke par only one round at Augusta National in 2006, but he knew he was on the right track.
'There wasn't a shot that was presented where I thought somebody else had a big advantage,' he said. 'I said to Bob Rotella afterward, 'I'm good enough to win one of these.' And since then, I've been a lot more comfortable with my game. I feel like I can hit the shot. I'm not saying I could do it at will, but I could do it.'
And he did.
Jim Furyk doesn't know if the PGA TOUR will move the TOUR Championship after the Ryder Cup next year, but he's certain of one thing: Leaving everything alone would ensure players skipping at least one playoff event.
'You would see a majority take at least one week off,' Furyk said. 'I guarantee it.'
The tour is looking at several scenarios for 2008, the only year in the TV contract in which the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup falls immediately after the FedExCup. A decision is expected at the policy board meeting Nov. 12.
But it could be a test to see whether the tour caters to a bigger event (Ryder Cup) or to more players. Ten of the 12 players on the U.S. team at the Presidents Cup, for example, were at the TOUR Championship, and seven of them played all four weeks.
'I guess the question is do you set your schedule around 12 individuals?' Furyk asked rhetorically.
What would be the downside of moving the TOUR Championship after the Ryder Cup? Furyk wondered if the TOUR Championship would feel like a letdown for Ryder Cup players.
'And it would hurt the party Sunday night for the winning team,' he said.
Mike Weir said his victory in the Fry's Electronics Open was a long time coming because it had been more than 3 1/2 years since his last PGA TOUR victories.
But he certainly wasn't the only player who ended a long drought this year.
With two tournaments left in the season, already eight players went more than three years between victories. The longest wait goes to Paul Goydos, who won at the Sony Open to end a 256-tournament drought that stretched nearly 11 years.
Steve Stricker went 6 1/2 years and 146 starts before he won The Barclays, followed by Scott Verplank, who went 5 1/2 years and 139 tournaments until he won the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Two other players went more than 100 tournaments between trophy presentations -- Charles Howell III (127) and Steve Flesch (101).
So it wasn't that bad for Weir. He only went 86 starts between victories. Rounding out the list are Woody Austin and Jonathan Byrd, who both went 81 starts without winning.
All it takes is one good week for a player to secure his PGA TOUR card next year, and Jesper Parnevik is one of several examples. He was No. 139 on the money list when the Fall Series began, but a playoff loss at the Valero Texas Open has helped move him to No. 88, and now he's trying to go higher to get into the invitationals.
Parnevik had been thinking about using a one-time exemption for top 50 on the career money list.
'But it's a pride thing,' he said. 'I've been playing now for 21 years and never lost my card, so it's something you want to do even though I had a little parachute thing to fall back on.'
British Open champion Padraig Harrington has a book coming out during the holidays that details his best 18 shots over four days at Carnoustie.
He wouldn't divulge the order, but one shot might have been a clear No. 1 if he had made the putt.
'The 4-iron I hit on the third playoff hole to 5 feet,' Harrington said.
The Irishman already was two shots ahead of Sergio Garcia, and he missed the 5-foot birdie at No. 17 to carry the drama to the final hole, where a bogey gave him a one-shot victory and the claret jug.
Why won't such a pure shot be at the top of his list?
'The fact I didn't hole the putt,' he said. 'And the fact I was two ahead. It was inconsequential. If I was level, hit that shot and holed the putt, it would go down as the best shot I ever hit in my life.'
As it is, he'll gladly settle for the claret jug.
Mike Weir became the sixth player to join the $20 million club on the PGA TOUR this year. The others are Mark Calcavecchia, Scott Verplank, Fred Funk, Stuart Appleby and Stewart Cink. ... After serving as his assistant captain to Gary Player the last three Presidents Cup, former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch has joined his company. Baker-Finch will be an ambassador for Black Knight International, focusing on business ventures. ... The American Junior Golf Association selected Peter Uihlein and Vicky Hurst as its players of the year on Tuesday. ... The 125th spot on the PGA TOUR money list has increased by $169,217 through five events of the Fall Series.
Justin Rose is third on the European Tour Order of Merit despite playing 11 tournaments, with only five of those events in Europe.
'I was 30 under par for the last two weeks and didn't win. I guess I better play better.' -- Mark O'Meara.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."