Harrington leads after 36 as weather makes 'mess' of Honda

By Doug FergusonFebruary 28, 2015, 10:05 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - Padraig Harrington is a 36-hole leader on the PGA Tour for the first time in nearly five years and he knows he has a long way to go.

A vicious storm Saturday at the Honda Classic made his weekend even longer.

Harrington made six birdies in the 12 holes he played Saturday morning in the rain-delayed tournament to complete a 4-under 66 and take a one-shot lead over Patrick Reed, with Ian Poulter and Brendan Steele another shot behind.

The third round ended 51 minutes after it started because of a storm that packed 50 mph gusts and dumped about 5 inches of rain on PGA National. The storm was so severe that it created an air bubble on the 18th green the size of a sea turtle, caused the sides of bunkers to cave in and toppled an electronic scoreboard off a platform and down to the bottom of a lake.

"That's as bad as I've ever seen it rain," Russell Knox of Scotland said after a 68 left him four shots behind.


Honda Classic: Articles, videos and photos


Only 24 players completed a hole before the storm arrived, causing the third delay of the week. The plan was to return at 10 a.m. Sunday to resume the round, and continue with the same pairings to play as much as possible on Sunday. The tournament now is to end on Monday.

"We've got pretty much a mess," said Slugger White, the tour's vice president of competition.

It helps that the next event is a World Golf Championship about a 90-minute drive down the highway at Doral, and there is no pro-am.

Harrington, the three-time major champion from Ireland, has fallen to No. 297 in the world and couldn't qualify for Doral even if he were to win. He won the Indonesian Open on the Asian Tour at the end of last year, ending a four-year drought dating to another Asian Tour event.

His last PGA Tour victory was his second straight major, the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. He said the benefit of playing Indonesia was a boost to his confidence, on and off the golf course. At such a small tournament, his name resonates.

"They treat you like a star, you play like a star," he said. "I'm back to being a three-time major winner. I went for that reason - to give my ego a boost. There's definitely a lot to being a big fish in a small pond."

That was a proper analogy when PGA National turned into a pond, and Harrington surely played the role of a big fish.

Thanks to nearly four hours of rain delays Friday, he made it through six holes and returned Saturday with back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, and then another from about 10 feet on No. 1, posing over just about every shot.

After a bogey set up by a wild tee shot on the par-5 third hole - he had to pitch down the second fairway because of the trees - Harrington ran off three straight birdies before a few loose tee shots cost him. The rough had become so thick and wet that he couldn't reach the green on his last two holes, making bogeys on both.

He finished at 7-under 133.

"It's nice to be in contention," Harrington said. "I'm very positive about my game coming in here this week. I don't know what's going to happen the next 36 holes, but I have a good idea where I'm going. I'm pretty confident."

Reed finished his 67 on Friday.

Poulter matched the low round of the week at PGA National with a 64 and was two shots back. He holed out for eagle with a sand wedge on the fourth hole and dropped only one shot on the back nine.

"If I play half as good as I've obviously played today, then I'm going to have a chance come Sunday," Poulter said.

Steele's 69 score doesn't reflect his up-and-down day. He didn't make a par until the 10th hole, playing the front nine with six birdies and three bogeys. And then he made nothing but pars on the back nine except for a double bogey on the 16th.

Luke Donald finished his 67 on Friday and was another shot back at 4-under 136.

The cut was at 4-over 144 and didn't include Rory McIlroy. His first tournament in America in five months lasted only two days for the world's No. 1 player. McIlroy bogeyed three of his last four holes on Friday for a 74 and missed the cut by three shots. 

Phil Mickelson, who had missed two straight cuts on the West Coast swing, finished up at 67 on Saturday and was five shots behind.

The focus on Sunday starts with Harrington.

"Through 27 holes, I was the most confident guy in the world, and less so at the moment," he said after his bogey-bogey finish. "I know it's going to be a long weekend, and a tough weekend. I have two options. I can play well on the weekend or I can dig deep and hang in there."

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

Getty Images

Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

Getty Images

Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

---

9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

---

5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

---

5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

@jenamsims on Instagram

Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.