Harrington Win Poetic Justice

By Brian HewittMay 20, 2007, 4:00 pm
When all Irish eyes were a smiling
And Harringtons golf was beguiling
Their Open he captured
Their hearts he enraptured
Now theyre spilling their beer on the tiling.

Yes, an Irishman, Padraig Harrington, has finally won the Irish Open after 25 years of national futility. And, yes, he did it at Adare Manor which is in County Limerick.
Which explains the verse above and the poetic license.
You see Harrington wasnt exactly beguiling on the final nine holes Sunday. He three-putted the 11th and mis-clubbed on the 17th. And by the time, he and playing competitor Bradley Dredge got to the 72nd hole, Harringtons three-shot lead over the persistent Welshman had evaporated thanks to Dredge birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 17.
A three-shot lead isnt anywhere near enough on a golf course like this, Harrington said. The interesting thing about this particular quote is that Harrington uttered it at the conclusion of play Saturday when he commandeered the 54-hole advantage over Englands Simon Wakefield. By three shots.
Much of Irelands history is defined by an horrific potato famine that ushered in great hardship and greatly influenced the character of the people who live on the Emerald Isle. So it goes without saying that a golf drought is an occurrence that isnt terribly surprising or disconcerting to the locals.
Nonetheless the Irish are a proud people and Harrington is their golf hero. Darren Clarke is popular, too. But he is an Ulsterman from Northern Ireland. The heart of the Republic of Ireland is still Dublin. And Harrington is a native Dubliner.
In 1997 when Harrington and Paul McGinley walked off with the World Cup at Kiawah it was the first Irish victory in that event since Harry Bradshaw and Christy OConnor Sr. had carried the day way back in 1957.
OConnor was a character who liked to hit driver off the deck and knew a thing or two about spending a night on the tiles as they say in the pubs. Bradshaw would later become known simply as The Brad. And although the Catholic Church doesnt recognize his sainthood, he was long ago canonized at Portmarnock.
Portmarnock, by the way, is the golf course where John OLeary became the last Irishman to win the Irish Open. Until the 35-year-old Harrington beat Dredge on Sundays first hole of a sudden death playoff.
When the Irish crowd greeted Harrington as he approached the 18th green at the end of his Saturday round, it was as if they had crowned him champion already.
The strange thing is were going to have to go out and do this again tomorrow, Harrington told his caddie while politely acknowledging the spectators.
Little did he know he would have to do so twice. The Irish enthusiasm turned to a murmur on the 71st hole when Dredge stiffed his approach into the par-4 and Harrington played aggressively long and left with his second. The resultant two-shot swing left the players in a flat-footed tie going to 18.
Both made par and both returned to the daunting par-5 18th for the playoff. Dredge made a mess of the hole. Harrington carded a conservative par. And the celebration began in earnest.
Just as Byron Nelsons tournament is Scott Verplanks fifth major and Milwaukee is the same to Jerry Kelly, the Irish Open is the tournament Harrington coveted the most next to the four real majors. And the frustration had been building after two seconds in this tournament in the last six years.
It has been said the Irish dont do anything easily. I felt the pressure, Harrington admitted afterward. It was probably the most nervous Ive been for many a tournament.
It has also been said'God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world. The quote, if you Google it, is most widely attributed to Ed McMahon, Johnny Carsons former sidekick.
At some point these stereotypes go from amusing to tiresome. Harrington is one of the three or four hardest working golfers in the world. His work ethic is right up there with the regimens of Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods.
So lets give credit where credit is due to a hard won victory by one of golfs best grinders. But lets not think celebrating with a pint of Guinness is such a bad idea either.
Its a great day for the Irish.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

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    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.