BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Three days of grumbling were finally lost beneath the roars. Majors, we were reminded, are remembered only for what happens Sunday, and so much did on this one.
It was Carnoustie revisited, with Benny the C from Ostrander, Ohio and Royal St. Georges waving the American flag. Yeah, the anti-media darling Ben Curtis, with his Detriot Lions gear and his Midwestern working man pedigree, that guy had the legions in our compound screaming Benny the C! No one ever again should be surprised when he pops up in contention.
As for Sergio, hes still the heartbreak kid, still untidy when he needs to be unflappable, still the subject of so much conjecture. Now hes left with just one more season to win his first major before turning 30. That he wouldnt own a major by 30 seemed a preposterous thought when he was 19 in 1999 contending for this championship.
He can take solace though knowing that Padraig Harrington didnt win his first until he was 35. Now hes chasing Seves five and Faldos six for all-time European supremacy. Imagine, too, a career that doesnt tank but instead skyrockets off a double bogey on the 72nd hole of a major championship, Harrington admitting that had Garcia not let him off the hook at Carnoustie, he might never have recovered.
Padraig Harrington is now the quintessential tough course tough guy. Yet a year ago on that 18th at Carnoustie he hardly looked at ease. But down the stretch at Birkdale, and down the stretch here, he not only looked comfortable, he looked like a fighter with all his senses and all his power pouring it on in the 15th round.
In Tigers absence, its been nice to have witnessed someone else make all the putts that matter, someone else achieve greatness. Indisputably, Padraig Harringtons achieved that in the last glorious month.
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