Padraig Harrington adds some noise with PGA gift

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' The defending PGA champion not only hosts a dinner for past champions, he selects a special gift. Shaun Micheel gave them a guitar at the 2004 dinner, while Phil Mickelson gave the champions a scrapbook of newspaper clippings from their PGA victory.
Padraig Harrington made some noise at his dinner Tuesday night.
His gift was a bodhran, which is a traditional Irish drum that looks like a tambourine without the bells.
Micheel gave us a guitar, Rich Beem said. All I need now is a bass player and Im good to go.
Beem was joking, for he and other past PGA winners were impressed with the thought Harrington put into his gift. Even better was Harringtons explanation, which according to Beem and Paul Azinger, went something like this:
In the hands of the right Irishman, its makes a lovely sound, Harrington told them. In the hands of a 6-year-old, Im not so sure. You might want to keep it on a high shelf.
The menu also was traditional Irish, everything from leek and potato soup to Irish beef stew braised in Guinness to grilled salmon with Irish Champ. The three-time major winner had said before the dinner that he wanted an Irish theme, but didnt want anyone to starve. Beem gave the meal high grades, then also shared Harringtons closing thought at dinner.
Im off to the Waffle House with the Mrs. Im not sure if Ill be upset if I see any you there or not.

MONTY AND SANDY: Just when Colin Montgomerie thought his dustup with Sandy Lyle at the British Open was over, they ran into each other Wednesday at Hazeltine.
Montgomerie, appointed European captain for the Ryder Cup, received an invitation to the PGA Championship. Lyle, who was not selected captain, is at Hazeltine working for Sky Sport.
Lyle caused quite a ruckus at Turnberry when he was said to three British newspapers that walking off the course at Royal Birkdale in 2008 could not have hurt his chances at being captain because Montgomerie did far something worse. Lyle brought up an incident four years ago when Monty was accused of cheating for placing his ball in a good lie after a storm delay.
Its interesting, I didnt think Sandy was coming over here to commentate for our British Sky television here for the tournament, he said. And I had just managed to speak to Sandy, which was good. I cant, unfortunately, say what was said. But that matter is closed, and I personally thought it was closed 4 1/2 years ago.
Then he paused, and smiled.
It is now, believe me, he said.

IN FORM: The PGA Championship used to have a reputation of producing first-time major champions, from Wayne Grady and Shaun Micheel, to stars like Vijay Singh and Davis Love III. Thats no longer the case, as the last five champions of the final major have been Padraig Harrington, Tiger Woods (twice), Phil Mickelson and Singh.
What stands out among recent champions is what kind of year they have had.
Micheel in 2003 is the only winner who had not won until the PGA Championship. That remains Micheels only victory.
David Toms (2001), Mark Brooks (1996), Singh (2004) and Rich Beem (2002) all had their best seasons the year they won the PGA Championship. Brooks had won twice before his major victory at Valhalla.
I think it makes a difference between the ears of the golfer, Stewart Cink said. Its a huge confidence builder. It can only help.
Among the multiple winners this year: Woods, Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy, Brian Gay and Martin Kaymer.

ON THE BAG: For the last couple of years, TaylorMade has been making custom bags for its staff players at the majors ' green at the Masters, a patriotic theme at the U.S. Open. There was a crown above the logo at the British Open, a reference to remains of the castle belonging to Robert the Bruce near the ninth green.
The logo for the PGA Championship has 2 in the Wanamaker Trophy because its the second PGA held at Hazeltine. Beneath the company logo are three feathers from the Sioux tribe that once inhabited the land. The initials SH are for Susan Hazeltine, the first teacher in the county after whom the golf club was named.
But what stumped the players ' and even some company officials not in the know ' were the initials GLS.
One thought it had to do with a sugar operation on the land where the golf course was built. Finally, it all made sense. The PGA Championship is known as Glorys Last Shot ' GLS, for short.
Its getting too complicated for me, Kenny Perry said.

THE OTHER GUY: Rich Beem won the PGA Championship the last time it was held at Hazeltine, but even he expects to be forgotten during the first two rounds. His playing partners are defending champion Padraig Harrington and Tiger Woods.
Beem made light of being the third wheel when asked to speak at the dinner for PGA champions Tuesday night.
He told stories of his relationship with Hazeltine members over the last seven years, how he has made a dozen trips to the golf course and now is an honorary member.
Beem said he looked at Harrington and Woods and pulled a line straight from the movie, Anchorman.
I dont know how to put this, but Im kind of a big deal, he said. People know me.

DIVOTS: A PGA spokesman said Michael Letzig withdrew as an alternate, making Tim Petrovic next in line should anyone else pull out. The only possibility was Paul Casey, who injured rib muscles. Casey, No. 3 in the world, is expected to at least try to play Thursday. Two young boys showed a some ingenuity as they tried to get autographs from behind a railing next to the path leading to the clubhouse. They purposely dropped their hats in the path, waiting for players to retrieve it for them ' and sign it.
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    Twice winner Kizzire on missing U.S. Open: 'Fuel to my fire'

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 5:59 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Based on recent form, there likely wasn’t a more decorated player watching last week’s U.S. Open from home than Patton Kizzire.

    Kizzire is in the midst of a breakthrough season that has already included two wins: a maiden victory at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November, and a marathon playoff triumph over James Hahn at the Sony Open in January. While those titles got him into the Masters and the PGA Championship, they didn’t mean an exemption to Shinnecock Hills.

    Kizzire got as high as 51st in the world rankings after his win in Honolulu, but his game started to turn shortly thereafter. A T-12 finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship is his lone top-25 finish in 12 starts since his Sony victory, and he missed four straight cuts from the Masters to The Players Championship.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    The U.S. Open grants exemptions to the top 60 in the world at two different cutoff points close to the tournament. But in the midst of a cold streak, Kizzire was 63rd and 65th at each of those deadlines. He attempted to earn a spot at sectional qualifying in Columbus, only to find that his score of 5 under was one shot too many.

    “I guess just adding a little fuel to my fire, adding insult to injury,” Kizzire said. “Just to have narrowly missed several different ways of qualification was disappointing. But I just tried to spin it as a positive. I got two weeks off, and I did watch those guys struggle a little bit. I wasn’t struggling at home, we’ll just say that.”

    Kizzire hopes to put the disappointment behind him this week at the Travelers Championship, where he finished T-53 a year ago. And while his pair of trophies didn’t get him a tee time last week – or guarantee him a berth in The Open next month – they put him in prime position to make the season-ending Tour Championship, which would mean spots in the first three majors of 2019.

    The combination of two recent wins and a ranking outside the top 60 isn’t one that comes up often on Tour, but Kizzire maintains a balanced perspective as he looks to get back to playing the kind of golf that will ensure he doesn’t miss any more majors in the near future.

    “If I would have played better in between the U.S. Open and my last win, I would have gotten in. So my play was the reason I wasn’t in,” Kizzire said. “You certainly could look at it and say, ‘This guy’s got two wins, he should be in.’ But I’m not making too much of it.”

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    Masters, Players and U.S. Open champs grouped at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 5:50 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Fresh off a second straight U.S. Open victory, Brooks Koepka is getting right back to work at the Travelers Championship.

    Koepka has stood by his commitment to tee it up at TPC River Highlands, becoming the first U.S. Open champ to play the following week on the PGA Tour since Justin Rose played the Travelers after his 2013 win at Merion. Koepka will play the first two rounds alongside Masters champ Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson, who captured The Players Championship last month.

    Here’s a look at some of the other marquee, early-round groupings for a star-studded field outside Hartford (all times ET):

    7:50 a.m. Thursday, 12:50 p.m. Friday: Jason Day, Xander Schauffele, Daniel Berger

    Day is making his second straight Travelers appearance, having missed the cut both last year in Cromwell and last week at Shinnecock Hills. He’ll be joined by reigning Rookie of the Year Schauffele and Berger, who took home ROY honors in 2015 and last year was on the losing end of Jordan Spieth’s playoff dramatics at this event.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    8 a.m. Thursday, 1 p.m. Friday: Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson

    Koepka is making his third tournament appearance overall, but his first since a T-9 finish in 2016, before he had either of his two U.S. Open trophies. Reed has become a regular at this event and enters off a fourth-place showing on Long Island, while Simpson cruised to victory last month at TPC Sawgrass and tied for 10th last week.

    12:50 p.m. Thursday, 7:50 a.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Russell Knox

    This was the tournament that turned things around last year for Spieth, who took home the title in his debut thanks to one of the most dramatic shots of the year in a playoff against Berger. He’ll start his title defense alongside a pair of past champs, as Leishman won here for his first Tour title back in 2012 and Knox was a winner two years ago when the tournament was played in August.

    1 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m. Friday: Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas

    This group should get plenty of attention in the early rounds, with Thomas entering as the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 2 and joined a pair of players who will launch drives all across TPC River Highlands. Watson has feasted on this layout, winning in both 2010 and 2015 among five top-10 finishes, while McIlroy tied for 17th last year in his tournament debut but missed the cut last week at Shinnecock.

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    Travelers Championship: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 5:30 pm

    There will be plenty of star power this week in Hartford as the PGA Tour moves north for the Travelers Championship. Here is the key info for this week's event.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3:30-6:30PM ET; live stream:

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3:30-6:30PM ET; live stream:

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Purse: $7 million

    Course: TPC River Highlands (par 70, 6,841 yards)

    Defending champion: Jordan Spieth. Defeated Daniel Berger with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

    Notables in the field

    Jordan Spieth

    • Missed last two cuts (the Memorial, U.S. Open) entering this week

    • 188th on PGA Tour in strokes gained: putting (4th in strokes gained: tee to green)

    • Only player to win Travelers Championship back-to-back: Phil Mickelson (2001-02)

    Brooks Koepka

    • Making third career start in Travelers Championship (last start: T-9 in 2016)

    • First player to play Travelers week after U.S. Open win since 2013 (Justin Rose)

    • First player to win U.S. Open back-to-back since 1988-89 (Curtis Strange)

    Justin Thomas

    • Fifth career start in this event (MC, T-3, MC last three years)

    • Second on PGA Tour this season in strokes gained: tee to green (+1.49)

    Rory McIlroy

    • Second career start in Travelers Championship (T-17 last year)

    • Missed cut last week at U.S. Open (shot 80 in opening round)

    Jason Day

    • Fourth career start in Travelers Championship (best finish: T-18 in 2014)

    • Leads PGA Tour in strokes gained: putting this season

    Patrick Reed

    • Earned second-most world ranking points of any player in 2018

    • Finished fourth at U.S. Open last week (three shots behind Koepka)

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    Day 'disappointed' in USGA's handling of course, Phil

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 5:16 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Jason Day had the weekend off following a missed cut at the U.S. Open, but that didn’t prevent the Aussie from keeping an eye on all the drama that unfolded at Shinnecock Hills.

    The former world No. 1 found it “disappointing,” – with “it” being both the deterioration of a major championship setup and the fallout from Phil Mickelson’s putter slap during the third round.

    Day is hoping to bounce back from an early exit at this week’s Travelers Championship, but before turning his attention to TPC River Highlands he shared that the brunt of his disappointment stemmed from the USGA’s inability to keep Shinnecock playable during the third round and their subsequent decision to water it down for the tournament’s conclusion.

    “It’s more the course, about how they set it up. Because Saturday was a total, it was like two different golf courses, practically, on the greens Saturday versus Sunday,” Day said. “I just wish they would leave it alone and just let it go. Not saying to let the greens go and let them dry out and make it unfair, I’m just saying plan accordingly and hopefully whatever the score finishes, it finishes, whether it’s under par or over par.”

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    But Day’s frustration also tied back to Mickelson’s head-turning decision to hit a moving ball on the 13th green during the third round, and the USGA’s subsequent ruling that the actions merited a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.

    “It’s obviously disappointing to see what Phil did,” he said. “I think a lot of people have mixed reviews about what he did.”

    USGA officials explained over the weekend that Mickelson’s actions explicitly fell under Rule 14-5, which called for a two-shot addition and turned his score of 8 into a 10, rather than Rule 1-2 or Rule 33-7 that could have resulted in disqualification for a “serious breach” of the rules.

    Day felt it was unfortunate that all of Saturday’s drama deflected attention from a world-class performance from Brooks Koepka en route to a successful title defense, but when it comes to the handling of the Mickelson controversy he believes the USGA could have made good use of a mulligan.

    “It’s just unfortunate that it happened at the USGA’s tournament, where they enforce the rules, like the R&A. And I think they may have, they probably should have enforced a different outcome for Phil,” Day said. “But it is what it is. It’s done. It’s just disappointing that that is overshadowing the winner of the whole week. I think if they had it back again, they may have chosen a different outcome.”