Harrington's Masters streak nearing an end


Padraig Harrington has been a fixture at Augusta National for more than a decade, having teed it up in the Masters every year since 2000. Barring a win in either of his next two events, though, the Irishman will watch that streak come to an end next month.

Harrington has cracked the top 10 four times in his 14 consecutive Masters appearances, tying for fifth in both 2002 and 2008. He missed the cut a year ago, however, and his five-year exemption into the field for winning both the British Open and PGA Championship in 2008 expired last year.

Harrington's game has fallen off in recent months. After holding a spot in the top 50 in the world as recently as last February, the 42-year-old now sits at No. 155 in the latest rankings. He has finished inside the top 60 just once in six PGA Tour starts this season, a tie for 27th at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and despite a solid start at Bay Hill, Harrington ended last week in a tie for 67th after a final-round 80.

Harrington's lone remaining path for entry into the Masters field is to win, either this week at the Valero Texas Open or next week at the Shell Houston Open, where he is also scheduled to play.

"Time is running out," he wrote in a blog post last week. "I am trying hard to get to Augusta, as I will find it very hard sitting at home watching it on TV."

Harrington has fond memories of TPC San Antonio, having tied for 10th last year in his first appearance in the event. Still, a win could be a tall task considering the fact that his last PGA Tour victory came at the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.

Despite a poor finish last week in Orlando, Harrington remains upbeat while his chances to earn a trip down Magnolia Lane continue to dwindle.

"It was a terrible final round, especially as a decent score would have pushed me nicely up the leaderboard. It wasn't what I was expecting, however I am not getting too hung up about it," he wrote this week. "I am happy that I am making good progress in terms of getting my short game back and I am now looking forward to...San Antonio."