Day 1 The Best Day in Golf in 2007

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 1, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's note; In the holiday spirit, the Team is counting down the 12 Days of Golf, the most memorable days of the 2007 season. This is Day 1
Day 1This was supposed to be Sergio Garcias day. The day he became a major champion. The day he fulfilled all levels of expectation and promise. The day he could actually start enjoying press conferences.
A day he would never forget.
At least the last part was right.
Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington's British Open win was a major loss for Sergio Garcia. (Getty Images)
July 22, 2007 was not Sergio Garcias day. It was not his day to become a major champ. It was not a day of fulfillment. And it certainly was not a day for him to smile and laugh in his post-round presser.
The day was all set up in Sergios favor. He had a three-stroke lead to start the final round of the Open Championship at Carnoustie. He had a friend in his putter. And he had Tiger Woods no way near him.
Steve Stricker was Sergios closest competitor. He was three in arrears, while no one else was within five. There were a few formidable foes six back, like 2002 Open champ Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Chris DiMarco and K.J. Choi.
But, cmon, six back? No way. This was Sergios day.
It seemed that way as the sun woke up and it seemed that way as it started to settle in for sleep.
Argentine Anders Romero had self destructed on the 17th hole to end his inspired run. And when Padraig Harrington plunked two into the Barry Burn on 18 ' after having started the hole with a one-shot lead ' en route to double bogey, it appeared as if he, too, was doomed.
As he reached the 18th hole of regulation, Sergio needed only a par to claim his first major title. It was all on Sergios shoulders.
Oh, if only that was the case. If only Fate didnt hate on Sergio. If only the Union of Bunker Rakers didnt have a grudge against Sergio. If only was there anything else Sergio whined about at the end of the day?
Garcia had to wait a few minutes (which apparently felt like an eternity ' Having to wait 15 minutes in the fairway doesn't help when you're trying to win the British Open, he later said.) while a course employee raked a greenside bunker from the group ahead. A frustrated and impatient Sergio then dumped his approach shot into said bunker, plopped out and had 10 feet for par and the victory.
For the first time in his career, Sergio had what every player dreams of: a makeable putt to win a major championship. Only it wasnt so makeable.
The putt slid by and Sergio buried his head in his unfaithful putter. It was off to a four-hole cumulative playoff with Harrington.
I still don't know how that par putt missed. I'm still trying to ask myself, trying to find an answer on that, Sergio said.
While Garcia was fighting from being distressed and depressed, Harrington was all smiles and confidence heading back to the 10th tee box.
In fact, he was all smiles after walking off the 18th green in regulation. Despite having double bogeyed the final hole to all-but cost himself the Claret Jug, Harringtons Irish eyes could help but light up at the sight of his ??-year-old son running out onto the green to give him a big hug.
Fathers Day may fall on U.S. Open Sunday, but this was the most indelible father-son image of the year. That moment helped keep Harrington focused on a positive outcome.
I never let myself feel like I'd lost The Open Championship as I sat watching. The one thing, I never, ever had it in my head that I'd lost, he said.
History will note that two men entered this playoff and that Harrington ultimately defeated Garcia. It will, however, make no mention of Fates part (at least in Sergios mind).
Sergio Garcia
Nothing seemed to go Sergio's way Sunday at Carnoustie. (Getty Images)
I should write a book on how not to miss a shot and not win a playoff, Sergio said in his post-round press conference.
Apparently, Garcia forgot about his approach shot on the first extra hole, which landed short of the green and ended up costing him a shot. His bogey combined with Harringtons birdie gave the Irishman a two-stroke lead.
On the next hole, Garcia found a bit more misfortune. With Harrington in trouble off the tee, right of the green, Sergio watched in total disbelief as his tee shot clanked off the flagstick and 18 feet past the hole.
He missed the birdie putt, made par, and damned his bad luck.
It's funny how some guys hit the pin or hit the pin and go to a foot. Mine hits the pin and goes 20 feet away, he said.
After both players parred the third extra hole, the par-4 17th, it was back to the infamous 18th. Harrington played the hole conservatively and left himself with a 3-foot putt for bogey, which meant Sergios 25-foot birdie putt could force sudden death.
But, of course, Fate wasnt going to let that fall.
You know what's the saddest thing about it? It's not the first time. It's not the first time, unfortunately. So, I don't know, I'm playing against a lot of guys out there, more than the field, Sergio lamented.
After Sergios miss, Harrington rolled in a little more than a tap-in and became 2007 Champion Golfer of the Year.
I couldn't believe it as it was rolling in from right in the middle hole and I'm thinking, The Open Champion. Am I The Open Champion? What does this mean? Harrington said.
It meant that Harrington had ended Europes major championship drought, which dated back, coincidentally, to the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie. It also meant that Harrington was now the cream of the crop in European golf.
As for Sergio, the events of July 22, 2007 meant that he was still without a major. That he was still unfulfilled professionally.
And that future press conferences were going to be even less tolerable than ever.
Related Links:
  • Harrington Wins, Sergio Sulks at British
  • Golf Central Special: The Wildest Day
  • Golf Central Special: Sergio Loses Style Points
  • 12 Days of Golf Countdown
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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.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    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.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''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.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    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.