Padraig Harrington Golfs Stopper

By Brian HewittJuly 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
First of all, you must appreciate how voracious Padraig Harringtons appetite is for the practice of golf and what sheer labor it takes to become the Champion Golfer of the Year.
Im a worker, Harrington said Sunday, just moments after surviving a nightmare on the 72d hole and defeating Sergio Garcia in a four-hole medal playoff to capture the Open Championship at Carnoustie in Scotland.
And, he added, Ive come a long way.
He has brought his countrymen and, now, his continent along for the ride. Europe is no longer an embarrassing 0-for-the-21st century in major championships.
In 1997 Harringtons prowess was little-known outside of his Dublin home when he and partner Paul McGinley showed up at Kiawah Island in the States for the World Cup. It had been 40 years since the Irish tandem of Harry Bradshaw and Christy OConnor Sr. brought that cup home to the Republic of Ireland.
Harrington and McGinley won.
Earlier this season the European Tour staged the Irish Open at Adare Manor in County Limerick. It had been 25 years since an Irishman (John OLeary) had won his countrys national championship. Harrington ended that drought as well, outlasting Welshman Bradley Dredge in another playoff.
Then came Sunday at Carnoustie where Harrington emerged from a pack of challengers with an eagle on the 14th . Later he watched in disgust as two shots found the Barry Burn and produced a double bogey on the 18th that'if not Van de Veldian--wasnt far off.
Only a bogey on the same hole by Garcia, playing in the final twosome, forced the playoff that Harrington quickly commandeered with a birdie on the first. To say Harringtons 3-footer to win on the last playoff hole was a knee-knocker is like calling the Grand Canyon a ditch.
He made it.
It had been 60 years since an Irishman (Fred Daly) had won the Open Championship. Once again it was Harrington, who had once studied to be an accountant if this golf thing didnt work out, who put an end to the longing and the keening in the pubs and the peat fields of Eire.
I could be a long time explaining this, said Harrington, in his pitched and lyrical Irish brogue.
No need there, Boy-0. Irelands history of poetry and prose is rich. Shaw, Wilde, Beckett, Joyce and Yeats are just a few of the wordsmiths that have handed down a rich literary tradition in your country. Irelands writers will frame your achievements in words that fit your latest deed.
For that matter, all of Europe is claiming you as its own now that you have put an end to your continents major dry spell.
Harrington has always been popular in the United States. His distant cousin, Joey Harrington, plays quarterback in the NFL. And somewhere in the USA theres an accountant who already has done the conversion. At the close of business Friday, one pound sterling was worth 2.0566 U.S. dollars. Which means the check they cut Harrington for winning his first major championship was worth $1,542,527.
There were so many winners at this 136th Open Championship where the drama played out all week in the wind and the chill and the rain, building to a Sunday climax. Among them were: European golf; the game of golf in general; sports; televised sports; Carnoustie (which had been so reviled during this same event back in 1999); low amateur Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland; and explosive Andres Romero from Argentina, who finished third.
The list goes on.
But at the end of this long Scottish days journey into night there was a rainbow framing the Carnoustie clubhouse. And there was Padraig Harrington down there by the 18th green clutching the precious Claret Jug.
Im actually not going to put this down, were the first words out of Harringtons mouth in front of the thousands gathered on the grounds and the millions watching on TV. Im going to hang onto it.
If it wasnt obvious how much this meant to Harrington all you had to do was look at the face of Garcia and see what it meant to him not to have it.
Harrington had hunted 54-hole leader Garcia down from behind. He trailed Garcia by six at the start of the final day. But he never stopped grinding. Never stopped working.
So his legacy now, even if he never lifts another club, will be as the Irishman who reached and achieved where others grasped and come up empty.
Which is why I wont bet against Padraig Harrington when 156 players convene at the U.S. Open next June at Torrey Pines South in California.
After all, no European has won that championship in 37 years.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 136th Open Championship
    Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. – Ryan Lavner

    Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry