Harrington in Need of Confidence Boost

By Mercer BaggsJuly 15, 2003, 4:00 pm
SANDWICH, England ' Padraig Harrington may be Europes highest ranked player, but he hardly feels like the best the continent has to offer.
Harrington, who is ninth in the Official World Golf Ranking, is not at his professional or mental best as the official start to the 132nd Open Championship nears.
Im certainly not 100 percent confident at the moment, he said. The last couple of weeks Im close to hitting it well, but I seem to be missing one part and so Im suffering a bit with my game.
Lack of confidence has always been an issue with the 31-year-old Irishman. Its always seemed others, like his teacher Bob Torrance, have had more faith in his abilities than has he.
If I had his confidence Id be OK, Harrington said of Torrance. Bob just says ' he just wishes Id go and do it without thinking too much about it. Obviously, thats the nature of me. I do tend to put a lot of thought into things and sometimes overcomplicate it.
Harrington has seven career European Tour wins, but also has 17 runner-up finishes ' furthering the notion that he often tends to get in his own way en route to the winners circle.
Last year was his breakthrough in terms of worldwide exposure. He had three top-10 finishes in the majors, including a tie for fifth in the British Open.
It was at Muirfield where he had his best chance for victory. He bogeyed the final hole, which, as it turned out, made him miss a playoff by a stroke.
Nonetheless, it was affirmation that he could win a major championship ' something many believe he will do in the near future.
For people to say that I should have won a major by now or that I should go and win one in the future, thats a big compliment. Ive come a long way for somebody to say that, Harrington said. I dont think someone would be saying it about me two years ago. It shows the game is going in the right direction.
'I'm held in very high esteem if that's what people are saying about me.'
Now, if he could share the belief others have in him.
Phil Mickelson may have never won a major championship, but he has contended in each of the legs ' except one. While the lefthander has at least two top-3 finishes in the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship, he has never cracked the top 10 in 10 prior appearances in the British Open.
His best finish came in a tie for 11th two years ago at St. Andrews. That year he came over a week before to compete at Loch Lomond, which he did again this time around.
I dont think it was a coincidence that my best performance in this Open Championship came in 2000, after playing in Loch Lomond the week before ' getting adjusted to the time, playing competitively. So I anticipate doing this pretty regularly now, adding the Scottish Open to my schedule, he said.
I feel thats the best way for me to prepare for a major, is to play the week before.
Mickelson tied for 35th in Scotland. It was another in a string of disappointing results this season. Now down to 10th in the Official World Golf Ranking, he has failed to earn a top 10 in his last eight worldwide starts.
Obviously, I havent had a great year, but Ive started to play a lot better, said Mickelson, who spent a couple of days with instructor Rick Smith before making the cross-continental trip.
We seem to have touched on a couple of things that have added consistency in my ball-striking, and given me a lot more confidence.
Im hoping to put it together. Hopefully it will happen this week. But if not, I feel like its much closer.
The golfing world will have to wait a little while longer to see who will match up against Hal Sutton as European Ryder Cup captain in 2004.
The decision, rumored to be announced this week, may be another month in the making. A committee is scheduled to meet Julr 23 to discuss the matter, but nothing more at that time.
Ian Woosnam, last years vice-captain to Sam Torrance, and Bernhard Langer, a 10-time team member, are the chosen favorites. But Sandy Lyle has also thrown his hat into the ring.
My name is in the pot for Ryder Cup captain, confirmed the 45-year-old Englishman. If I get it this year or the next few times, I dont know. I wouldnt like to leave it too long, because you tend to lose touch with your younger players, if youre not playing full-time in Europe.
Lyle, who won the 1985 Open Championship at Royal St. Georges and the 88 Masters, has played in five Ryder Cups, and was a member of the victorious 85 and 87 European teams.
Sutton was selected late last year to lead the American team in 2004 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
When an American makes his way abroad, there are a few things to which he must quickly grow accustomed: Time differential, driving on the left side of the road, a scant number of TV channels, washing machines without the complement of dryers and an obvious aversion to ice, just to name a few.
Of course, you have to make do. And Rich Beem is adjusting quite nicely. The reigning PGA champion arrived in Scotland Friday to become acclimated. He played the Old Course at St. Andrews a couple of times, and endeared himself to the locals by downing a few room-temperature beverages in the pubs.
I love coming over here. I think its very relaxing, he said, before adding, The beer is a little warm, but its not bad. The first one goes down a little stiff, but after that
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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.