Paddy Awakes as Open Champion

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Padraig Harrington woke after only two hours sleep on Monday so he could see the British Open claret jug by his bed.
'I went to bed at about 4 am and woke up at six wide awake,' he said. 'I woke my wife and said: 'I'm the Open champion. I can't believe I've done it.' She said: 'I can believe it, there's the trophy, now can you go back to sleep?''
The Irishman, who has finished at least tied for fifth five times in three different majors and who was tied for seventh at this year's Masters, finally got his hands on the sought-after trophy by beating Sergio Garcia in a four-hole playoff at Carnoustie on Sunday.
Harrington thought his chance was gone after a double-bogey six on the 18th. But Garcia's par putt lipped out, and the Irishman holed a three-footer at the fourth extra hole to claim the title.
'I was just standing there, just thinking I was the Open champion,' said Harrington, who ended Europe's eight-year drought in majors since Paul Lawrie won at Carnoustie in 1999.
Now, he is confident that the Europeans, who consistently beat the Americans in the Ryder Cup team competition, will start collecting more of golf's biggest prizes on a regular basis.
'I definitely think we have banished the hang-up for the moment,' Harrington said. 'European golf is very strong. This may be the start and, if it is, I will be telling people I started it.'
Harrington wants to follow the example of Phil Mickelson, who won the Masters in 2004 after 46 majors without a victory before adding the PGA Championship in 2005 and the Masters again in 2006.
'I have always had it in my head that if I won one major I would want to win more,' Harrington said. 'I got that from observing the other guys who've won majors, like Mickelson, and you have to have goals to keep you moving forward. If your goal was to win one major then that would be it. I am definitely focused on winning more than one.'
Garcia, who was four strokes ahead of the field at one stage in Sunday's final round, is still waiting to win his first major after 36 attempts.
'He is probably the best ball striker in the game and he is still young,' Harrington said. 'I really felt for him. I know he is under incredible pressure to win a major, and he will. It will happen.
'The more he believes that the quicker it will happen. But the longer it takes the harder it gets. He could have left the field behind here and run away with it.'
Harrington said when he was walking to the 18th green having twice played shots into the water known as the Barry Burn, he thought back to Jean Van de Velde's triple bogey at the same stage in 1999. The Frenchman was three shots in front at the last hole, but ultimately lost to Lawrie in a playoff.
'One big part of me making six was that it wasn't seven,' Harrington said. 'I was counting it up in my head. It crossed my mind that Jean took seven to lose the Open and I was sliding down that slippery slope too.'
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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