Sergios post-round, woe-is-me press conference confirmed what many had suspected. Dignity and grace arent yet in his bag.
Justin Rose and his beautiful wife, Kate, treated this weary reporter to breakfast at the Edinburgh Airport on Monday morning. Rose is grounded, humble and genuinely nice. On playing with Tiger the first two rounds, he related that the world No. 1 was almost serene amidst the madness that accompanies his major appearances, adding that hes a pleasure to work alongside.
New Orleans winner Nick Watney, chatting while waiting for a plane back to the States, had no problem with Harringtons choice of driver on the 72nd hole. He explained that its such a long hole and that if youre forced to come in from 250 on your second with OB left, even a bogey is not guaranteed. Five, he said, is still possible after driving it in the burn as Harrington did. With a one-shot lead, you cant play for bogey. And the best chance for par, he felt, comes with driver.
Could you imagine a more poignant scene than Harrington, after the sad double-bogey at the 72nd hole, breaking into a big smile as he hoisted his little boy into the air? A childs naivety trumped painful reality in a beautiful way.
Sergios press conference at the PGA Championship should be must-see-TV. That might be a good time to spin the story in a new direction. Say something like, Upon reflection I realized that my comments right after Id lost the British were made in the heat of a tough moment and Id like to make it clear that Im responsible for what happened, not the golf gods or bad luck. A 73 on Sunday just wont get it done. My hats off to Padraig Harrington. Hes a great champion.
I love the antiquated notion that in golf competitors police themselves, and I do not believe theres a widespread problem. But lets put a drug testing program in place ASAP, if only to send the likes of Dick Pound scurrying for cover.
Headed to the Canadian Open and pleasant reminders of the late ball-striking savant Moe Norman. I recall Norman, a Mickey Rooney look-a-like, watching Tom Lehman beat eggs years ago. Lehman recognized Moe and then implored him to hit a few. Lehman handed Norman an iron, and old Moe proceeded to lace one after the next straight and true. Afterwards, he regaled a small gathering with tales of his exploits. Me and Hogan, me and Hogan, he said in that unmistakable high pitched voice, always repeating for emphasis. Were the only two players with 365-day-a-year swings, the only ones.
What a 12 months its been for Irish golf. First they host the winning European Ryder Cup effort; then the wonderful amateur champion, Joe Carr, is tabbed for the Hall of Fame; and finally Harrington, who was already the first Irishman in 25 years to win the Irish Open, becomes the first Irishman in 60 years to win a major. Oh, how the Guinness flowed in Dublin on Sunday night!
Im still bullish on Sergio as a multiple major winner because the talents simply undeniable. And while his cries of bad luck were lamentable, the thought did occur after his 72nd-hole winning bid spun out hard, that there are more dangerous games than golf, but few that are crueler.
Tell most people theyre going to a small town with little to do, where its going to be 45 degrees and rainy for most of the week, and theyd say, What for? When its authentic Carnoustie, and the British Open, I say, How soon until we go back? I love it.