Notes Harrington Still a Work in Progress
Vijay Singh has long held the reputation as the hardest working man in golf, but Harrington could match him bucket for bucket, hour for hour. The difference was that Singh was refining, while Harrington seemed to be constantly rebuilding.
The turning point came 18 months ago.
'I started to believe more and more in myself,' Harrington said last week in Bermuda, where he stayed on a chipping green for an hour after his six-hour pro-am round. 'This season and last season, I was more comfortable. I would say in the last 18 months, for the first time, I turned up for a tournament and played those tournaments as if there were no tournaments the following week.'
He said that was true even at majors, which seems odd for someone to be thinking about anything but the next shot.
But he pointed to two majors that showed the difference in his game.
One was the U.S. Open in 1998 at The Olympic Club, where he tied for 32nd. The other was the 2006 Masters, where he tied for 27th.
'At Olympic Club, I walked away from that thinking I've got to change,' Harrington said. 'I did everything I could. I got up-and-down, holed every putt. I felt I could do no better. I felt totally inadequate.'
He was never in contention and broke par only one round at Augusta National in 2006, but he knew he was on the right track.
'There wasn't a shot that was presented where I thought somebody else had a big advantage,' he said. 'I said to Bob Rotella afterward, 'I'm good enough to win one of these.' And since then, I've been a lot more comfortable with my game. I feel like I can hit the shot. I'm not saying I could do it at will, but I could do it.'
And he did.
Jim Furyk doesn't know if the PGA TOUR will move the TOUR Championship after the Ryder Cup next year, but he's certain of one thing: Leaving everything alone would ensure players skipping at least one playoff event.
'You would see a majority take at least one week off,' Furyk said. 'I guarantee it.'
The tour is looking at several scenarios for 2008, the only year in the TV contract in which the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup falls immediately after the FedExCup. A decision is expected at the policy board meeting Nov. 12.
But it could be a test to see whether the tour caters to a bigger event (Ryder Cup) or to more players. Ten of the 12 players on the U.S. team at the Presidents Cup, for example, were at the TOUR Championship, and seven of them played all four weeks.
'I guess the question is do you set your schedule around 12 individuals?' Furyk asked rhetorically.
What would be the downside of moving the TOUR Championship after the Ryder Cup? Furyk wondered if the TOUR Championship would feel like a letdown for Ryder Cup players.
'And it would hurt the party Sunday night for the winning team,' he said.
BACK TO WINNING:
Mike Weir said his victory in the Fry's Electronics Open was a long time coming because it had been more than 3 1/2 years since his last PGA TOUR victories.
But he certainly wasn't the only player who ended a long drought this year.
With two tournaments left in the season, already eight players went more than three years between victories. The longest wait goes to Paul Goydos, who won at the Sony Open to end a 256-tournament drought that stretched nearly 11 years.
Steve Stricker went 6 1/2 years and 146 starts before he won The Barclays, followed by Scott Verplank, who went 5 1/2 years and 139 tournaments until he won the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Two other players went more than 100 tournaments between trophy presentations -- Charles Howell III (127) and Steve Flesch (101).
So it wasn't that bad for Weir. He only went 86 starts between victories. Rounding out the list are Woody Austin and Jonathan Byrd, who both went 81 starts without winning.
All it takes is one good week for a player to secure his PGA TOUR card next year, and Jesper Parnevik is one of several examples. He was No. 139 on the money list when the Fall Series began, but a playoff loss at the Valero Texas Open has helped move him to No. 88, and now he's trying to go higher to get into the invitationals.
Parnevik had been thinking about using a one-time exemption for top 50 on the career money list.
'But it's a pride thing,' he said. 'I've been playing now for 21 years and never lost my card, so it's something you want to do even though I had a little parachute thing to fall back on.'
British Open champion Padraig Harrington has a book coming out during the holidays that details his best 18 shots over four days at Carnoustie.
He wouldn't divulge the order, but one shot might have been a clear No. 1 if he had made the putt.
'The 4-iron I hit on the third playoff hole to 5 feet,' Harrington said.
The Irishman already was two shots ahead of Sergio Garcia, and he missed the 5-foot birdie at No. 17 to carry the drama to the final hole, where a bogey gave him a one-shot victory and the claret jug.
Why won't such a pure shot be at the top of his list?
'The fact I didn't hole the putt,' he said. 'And the fact I was two ahead. It was inconsequential. If I was level, hit that shot and holed the putt, it would go down as the best shot I ever hit in my life.'
As it is, he'll gladly settle for the claret jug.
Mike Weir became the sixth player to join the $20 million club on the PGA TOUR this year. The others are Mark Calcavecchia, Scott Verplank, Fred Funk, Stuart Appleby and Stewart Cink. ... After serving as his assistant captain to Gary Player the last three Presidents Cup, former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch has joined his company. Baker-Finch will be an ambassador for Black Knight International, focusing on business ventures. ... The American Junior Golf Association selected Peter Uihlein and Vicky Hurst as its players of the year on Tuesday. ... The 125th spot on the PGA TOUR money list has increased by $169,217 through five events of the Fall Series.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Justin Rose is third on the European Tour Order of Merit despite playing 11 tournaments, with only five of those events in Europe.
'I was 30 under par for the last two weeks and didn't win. I guess I better play better.' -- Mark O'Meara.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”