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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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.