Tiger Woods tops Padraig Harrington at Firestone

By Doug FergusonAugust 9, 2009, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio ' First came another signature moment from Tiger Woods, an 8-iron over the water that stopped a foot from the hole. Even more stunning was the meltdown that followed by Padraig Harrington.
 
A swift and shocking turn of events on Firestones famous 16th hole took Woods went from one shot behind to a four-shot victory Sunday as he closed with a 5-under 65 to win the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
Woods became the first player in PGA Tour history to win seven times on the same golf course.
 
Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrinton at Firestone
Tiger Woods shakes hands with Padraig Harrington after seventh win at Firestone. (Getty Images)
It was his 16th victory in the World Golf Championship series, and the worlds No. 1 player now goes to the PGA Championship next week at Hazeltine with two straight victories after missing the cut last month in the British Open.
 
After nearly four hours in the tough battle that Harrington expected, the Irishman let it slip away.
 
Woods left himself some 170 yards over the water, and his 8-iron landed near the pin and rolled back a foot away. Harrington hit from the collar of a bunker over the 16th green, but his delicate flop shot from behind the green came out hot and went into the water.
 
He wound up with a triple bogey and closed with a 3-over 73 to share second place with Robert Allenby, who had a 66.
 
The par-5 16th is the most famous hole at Firestone, given the nickname The Monster years ago by Arnold Palmer.
 
I took 6 and 8 the last two days, so I certainly think it was a monster, Harrington said.
 
Woods, who has won the Bridgestone Invitational seven times in 10 starts and has never finished out of the top five, closed out his remarkable afternoon in style with a 6-foot birdie putt.
 
It was the 70th victory of his PGA Tour career, three behind Jack Nicklaus in second place. Sam Snead (82) holds the record.
 
We locked horns pretty good, Woods said. I made a couple of mistakes. Paddy was being consistent, grinding it out, doing all the right things. Unfortunately, 16 happened. But it was a great battle all day.
 
It was every bit of that.
 
Woods won for only the sixth time in his career when trailing by three shots or more, a deficit that didnt last long.
 
He hit his approach into the par-5 second hole just over the bunkers to 25 feet to make eagle, and two more birdies was enough for him to take the lead after only five holes. From the right rough on the ninth fairway ' a rare miss on the front nine ' Woods hit to 7 feet for a birdie that gave him a 30 and a two-shot lead.
 
Harrington, a three-time major champion with a tough mind, kept grinding away with pars and regained a share of the lead with his first birdie of the day on the 11th. And when Woods made consecutive bogeys, Harrington found himself with a one-shot lead heading for the homestretch.
 
They took 30 minutes to play the first two holes, were timed throughout the round and put on the clock at the 16th. It didnt help when both of them found trouble off the tee ' Woods hooked his tee shot into the left rough and had to lay up well short of the pond; Harrington pushed his tee shot into the trees.
 
Harrington tried to punch a 5-iron around a fairway bunker, but wound up in the collar on the back slope of the bunker. From there, his third shot sailed over the green.
 
I rushed my second shot chipping it out and didnt hit a good shot, and obviously left myself in trouble, Harrington said. I had an awkward fourth shot. I had to go after it, and probably rushed that a bit, as well. That was the end of that.
 
Woods could not have imagined while standing in the left rough that he would be three shots ahead on the 17th tee. Harrington made such a mess of the hole that he hit five straight shots without losing his turn.
 
Tiger did play particularly well, Harrington said. I said to him afterward, Well do battle many more times again.
 
Woods won this one, as he often does at Firestone.
 
Hunter Mahan, who shot 66 and tied for fourth, looked up at the leaderboard early in his round and saw that Woods already had erased a three-shot deficit after four holes.
 
Thats what he does, Mahan said. He could play this course left-handed and do well.
 
A short time later, Camilo Villegas left the clubhouse and passed by the British-based Sky Sports broadcast crew watching on TV. Woods and Harrington were on the 12th hole.
 
What are you watching for? You know whats going to happen, Villegas said with a smile.
 
No one could have imagined the way it turned out, only the guy holding the trophy when it was over.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 2009 WGC - Bridgestone Invitational
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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.


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    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

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm