ST. PADDY’S DAY: Padraig Harrington won the PGA Championship, his second consecutive major championship, and now has claimed three of the past six majors. The Irishman didn’t win this one going away like he did the Open Championship last month at Birkdale, as he made three huge clutch putts on the final three holes – 16 for par; 17 for birdie; and 18 for par – to defeat Ben Curtis and Sergio Garcia by two shots.
When Tiger Woods went on the DL after the U.S. Open, critics said it was time for someone else to step up and take advantage of the situation. Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia were the names thrown around most often as the ones expected to produce the goods. Never once did we hear Padraig Harrington’s name in that conversation. Now, two months after the U.S. Open, Harrington has established himself as the world’s second-best player and has as many major championships as Mickelson.
ANOTHER CLOSE CALL: Sergio Garcia was the victim of another major championship. The Spaniard has 14 top-10 finishes in majors but hasn’t collected a victory, meaning he’ll continue to carry the label of BPNTWAMC – Best Player Never To Win A Major Championship. He led by one in the middle of the 16th fairway and lost by two.
El Nino will win one of these things eventually but it ain’t going to get any easier. Harrington is plucking off majors at a Tiger Woods-like clip and, um, well, Tiger Woods will be back for the Masters in April to continue to pluck off majors at a Tiger Woods-like clip. If the guy made putts in majors like he does in the Ryder Cup, he’d have won more majors than Harrington and likely would have stolen two from the Irishman.
CURSE OF THE LIONS: Ben Curtis tied for second place with Garcia at Oakland Hills. The Ohio native led midway through the final round but lost a chance to validate his shocking victory in the 2003 British Open as he bogeyed two of the final four holes for a 71. He did, however, move up to No. 7 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings to qualify for the team next month at Valhalla.
What do you expect when you wear Detroit Lions paraphernalia all week? The Lions haven’t had a winning season since they were 9-7 in 2000. Wearing the Lions colors endeared Curtis to the galleries but it didn’t do much for his karma. Tip for Curtis: Next time if you want to have your cake and eat it too, it may be better to go with Detroit Pistons gear.
SCARY STUFF: Living up to its nickname as 'The Monster,' Oakland Hills played very difficult as the winning score was 3 under, the highest winning score in relation to par at the PGA since 1987 when Larry Nelson won at 1 under.
The Monster must have given the players nightmares all week, as hard greens and fairways, and impossibly thick rough made for an extremely difficult test of golf. It was one that many of the competitors did not appreciate, as Robert Allenby called the challenging setup, "Crap." Maybe we should send Mr. Allenby a thesaurus?
DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING...OR DID WE?: Kenny Perry withdrew from Oakland Hills after shooting an opening round 79 due to an eye injury he suffered while removing a contact lens just two days prior. The Kentuckian, who had made the cut in 16 of his last 17 PGA Championships, was playing in his first major of the year.
Putting aside Perry's peculiar decision to play in Milwaukee rather than Birkdale, it would be tragic if a scratched cornea were to keep the 48-year-old from playing in the Ryder Cup Matches. It left the Kentucky native with just one round of golf played in majors in the 2008 season. Very, very weird.
GLORY'S LAST CUT:There were many casualties of Oakland Hills as multiple big names failed to qualify for the weekend. Adam Scott’s, Lee Westwood’s and K.J. Choi's quests for their first major were cut short, while major champions Zach Johnson, Trevor Immelman and Vijay Singh also had the weekend off.
Fresh off a victory at Firestone, Singh's putting woes continued as the Fijian four-putted his final hole on Friday to miss the cut. Westwood made sure to let the PGA of America know what he felt about the golf course before heading home early after carding 77-78. The Englishman ripped the layout saying that the organizers "are sucking the fun out of the major championships." Thanks Lee, but weren't not sure majors championships were ever supposed to be 'fun.'
ANOTHER GOODBYE: The Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika ended its two-year run as an LPGA event, citing lack of sponsorship as the main reason for canceling the tournament
Annika's event had the LPGA's third highest pay out at $2.6 million, but with its namesake calling it a career the major draw was gone. And while we're talking about Sorenstam, the Swede tied for sixth place on the LET's Scandinavian TPC, playing for the final time in her home country.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Duke star Amanda Blumenherst won the U.S. Women’s Amateur on Sunday, beating NCAA champion Azahara Munoz, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final at Eugene Country Club...Scott Piercy won this week on the Nationwide Tour with for his first career victory on the circuit...Eric Manning shot a second-round 88 at Oakland Hills to take the honor of highest round shot at the 90th PGA Championship.
Blumenherst, a three-time NCAA Player of the Year and runner-up at this event in 2007, had to rally for the win as she found herself 1-down after the morning 18 and still a hole behind through 27... Piercy drained a 20-footer for birdie on the 17th hole to seal the deal. "To make that at that time you can’t ask for anything more,” Piercy said...Manning, the Cortland Country Club head pro in Syracuse, N.Y., fired a sublime no birdie, two triple bogey, three double bogey, six bogey round on Friday.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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