Irish Eyes Affixed on Harrington

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 16, 2005, 4:00 pm
04 Nissan Irish OpenOne of the deepest fields thus far on the 2005 European Tour schedule gathers together for the Nissan Irish Open at the Colin Montgomerie-designed Carton House Golf Club in Ireland.
A total of seven players from Europe's victorious Ryder Cup squad will be on hand and none more popular in this area than Ireland's own Padraig Harrington.
Harrington, who finally notched his first-ever PGA Tour win earlier this year at the Honda Classic, returns home to try and break a dubious streak that has lasted for 22 years. That is how long it has been since an Irishman has claimed the country's most prestigious title, a feat last accomplished by John O'Leary in 1982.
Joining Harrington in Kildare will be Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, England's Lee Westwood and a pair of former champions in Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.
Clarke, who has juggled his golfing schedule while caring for his ailing wife, has played some wonderful golf as of late. He posted both a second and fourth place finish in back-to-back weeks in the U.S. before this past week's tie for eighth at the Dunlop Masters in England. His final round 67 included a rare double eagle 2 at the par-5 third hole.
Jimenez, who led the European Tour last year with four wins, has not quite kept up that kind of torrid pace but has visited the winner's circle once already during the 2005 campaign, that coming at the Omega Hong Kong Open.
After a couple of top-10s early in the year, 32-year-old Westwood has stumbled of late. After missing the cut at The Masters, Westwood has posted dismal 74th and 50th place finishes in his last two events. He did, however, have an 11th place showing here in 2003.
Olazbal, a winner of this event in 1990, has had an impressive early part of the year with four top-10 showings on the PGA Tour. He hasn't however, had a victory since the 2002 season.
Montgomerie, who the course was named after following its opening in 2003, is also a three-time winner of the Irish Open. He had back-to-back victories in 1996 and 1997, with his last win coming in the 2001 event.
The Golf Channel will have live coverage of the Nissan Irish Open beginning Thursday at 10:00 a.m. (ET).
A purse of $2,525,000 is up for grabs with $421,000 going to the winner.
Last year, Australia's Brett Rumford posted a 5-under 67 on Sunday to cruise to a four-shot win, his second career victory on the European Tour. He beat out local favorite Harrington and Raphael Jacquelin by four strokes.
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    Even as youngest Euro, Rahm has no trouble fitting in

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:30 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Many times Ryder Cup rookies are seen but not heard, blending into the background while the veterans lead.

    Jon Rahm is not one of those rookies.

    The youngest player on the European Ryder Cup team – by three years – the gregarious 23-year-old has been particularly active in the team’s group chat.

    “I’ve been pleasantly surprised at Jon’s input into it,” said Rory McIlroy, who will likely be paired with Rahm at some point at Le Golf National.

    “To see how much he wants this and how he cares about the Ryder Cup and how proud he is to be European and Spanish and to really be a part of this, it’s been really cool to see. I wasn’t quite as vocal in my first Ryder Cup as he’s been, but I wasn’t as good a player my first Ryder Cup as he is.”

    Rahm seemed surprised that his healthy amount of input caught McIlroy’s attention – “I’m just being myself,” he said – but he quickly has learned how to fit in with the rest of his teammates.

    By poking fun at himself.

    After a Tuesday practice round with McIlroy during which he said he was outdriven by about 50 yards, Rahm retired to the physio table for some acupuncture treatment.

    “Because of jetlag, I was completely asleep,” Rahm said. “So Rory, he decided it was a perfect time to take a picture of me in my underwear and post it in the chat and say I couldn’t handle him hitting it past me every single drive. Obviously you have to protect yourself and respond to something like that, and I said whatever came to mind.”

    With Rahm’s passion and outgoing nature, he’s sure to be one of Europe’s most vocal players, even as the least experienced.

    “At first I was a little bit hesitant on what to say,” he said. “I didn’t want to piss anybody off, but once I realized what the tone was going to be, within 30 seconds, OK, here we go, it’s pretty much freewheel to say what you want to anybody, which is obviously a great thing because we all have a lot of fun.”

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    Slump over? Sergio had 'very positive week' in Portugal

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:14 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Sergio Garcia’s late commitment to the Portugal Masters may have given him the boost he needed for the Ryder Cup.

    After failing to qualify for the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs, Garcia told European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn that he’d add the European Tour event in Portugal if he were selected to the team as a wildcard pick.

    Garcia made good on his promise, and last week he tied for seventh – his best worldwide finish since March.

    “I was very pleased the way I played,” he said. “I think I played very, very nicely throughout the whole week, which was nice. It felt like it was a very positive week.”

    There hadn’t been many positive weeks throughout the year for Garcia, who has slipped from 10th to 28th in the world rankings. The 2017 Masters champion missed the cut in all four majors and struggled with inconsistency.

    Still, Garcia was selected to the European team, and Bjorn often cited Garcia’s intangibles – his familiarity with foursomes, his presence in the team room – in justifying his pick.

    Even Garcia conceded Wednesday that his selection had more to do with experience than form.

    “That’s probably, to be totally honest, one of the reasons why the vice captains and the captain decided to have me on the team,” he said, “not only for what I can bring on the golf course, but what I can bring outside.”

    Garcia may have found the spark that his game desperately needed. Six of his past eight rounds have been in the 60s, and he has shot a combined 27 under par during those two starts.

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    McIlroy: Tiger is just one of 12 at Ryder Cup

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 7:59 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods might be the biggest star in golf, but Rory McIlroy views him as just one of 12 this week at the Ryder Cup.

    “We’re not looking at any individuals,” he said Wednesday. “We’re just trying to beat the U.S. team. It’s great what he did on Sunday. But to focus on one player is silly, especially when I might not even see him this week at any point this week because I mightn’t be on the course with him or play against him. …

    “We’re looking to beat the U.S. team. We’re not looking to just beat Tiger Woods.”

    McIlroy had a front-row seat to Woods’ first victory in more than five years on Sunday. Playing in the final group at the Tour Championship, McIlroy struggled with his driver en route to a final-round 74 and disappointing tie for seventh.

    Asked whether there was any element of intimidation at East Lake, McIlroy replied: “That East Lake rough was really tough, yeah. That was the most intimidating part about it. Started hitting a few drives left and right early, and I didn’t actually have quite a good view from the trees on Sunday. I couldn’t really see what was happening too much.”

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    U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2018, 12:29 am

    The U.S. defeated Europe, 12 ½ to 11 ½, in the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland at Disneyland Paris.

    Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., clinched the winning half-point on the 18th hole with a 12-foot birdie putt that halved her match with Annabell Fuller, 16, of England.

    "It was the most incredible experience of my life," said Heck, a Stanford commit who last week made the cut in her second LPGA major, the Evian Masters.

    Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, of Wellesley, Mass., the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, drove the green on the 315-yard 18th hole, the ball stopping within 5 feet of the pin. His eagle putt completed 2-up win over 15-year-old Spaniard David Puig and ensured that the U.S. would retain the Junior Ryder Cup, as the defending champion needs only a tie (12 points) to maintain possession of the trophy.

    Singles results

    Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) def. Amanda Linner (EUR), 4 and 3

    Match 2 — Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) def. William Moll (USA), 1 up

    Match 3 —  Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) halved Rose Zhang (USA)

    Match 4 – Nicolai Hojgaard (USA) def. Canon Claycomb (USA), 4 and 2

    Match 5 — Yealimi Noh (USA) def. Emma Spitz (EUR), 3 and 2

    Match 6 —  Ricky Castillo (USA) def. Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR), 3 and 1

    Match 7 – Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) def. Erica Shepherd (USA), 2 up

    Match 8 — Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) def. David Puig (EUR), 2 up

    Match 9 – Alessia Nobilio (EUR) def. Alexa Pano (USA), 2 and 1

    Match 10 —  Robin Tiger Williams (EUR) def. Cole Ponich (USA), 2 and 1

    Match 11 – Annabell Fuller (EUR) halved Rachel Heck (USA)

    Match 12 — Conor Gough (EUR) def. Akshay Bhatia (USA), 1 up