Sunday, July 20, 2008

Harrington wins his second consecutive Claret Jug

Padraig Harrington cut an understandably delighted figure after shooting a final round of 69 to defend his Open crown. The Dubliner finished four shots clear of Ian Poulter after a stirring finish that saw him play his final six holes in four-under-par. Harrington admitted he had tried not to think about the magnitude of claiming the Claret Jug for a second straight year. The £750,000 winner's check also guarantees Harrington's place on Europe's Ryder Cup team in September and lifts him from 14th to a career-high third in the world rankings. All of this is fine but there were three major things wrong with this year’s BA that made it difficult to watch. Firstly, no Tiger, even if you are sick of seeing him lift the trophy time after time, in a fashion similar to Ali, when someone rises up to challenge him even though you know it’s just for ONE round or ONE tournament, you’re pullin’ for the dog and it’s exciting. Secondly, the weather was horrible. I don’t want to watch professions battle 20mph winds and hack out grass 2 feet high. If you didn’t know what you were watching you would have thought the tournament was held in Nebraska. Lastly, once Norman was out of contention there was just no more story there. Sorry Padraig, but your second consecutive was not a good enough reason to stick with this bore. Ernie Els was right when he said “Golf will survive without Tiger”, but the question is, in what condition?

7 comments:

buddythegoon said...

Congratulations to Padraig Harrington!

He managed to repeat at the British and ensure that the ratings for golf for the rest of the season remain in the toilet. We had a story for a while with Shark on top, but the whole thing was just plain anti-climactic on Sunday.

Golf-fan is going to disagree with me, but here's the deal: no one gives a crap about Padraig Harrington. I have nothing against him personally, but it's true. ESPN and the networks showing the remaining tournaments will try to create some heat for them, but they will likely lose to NASCAR in the ratings. I'm not a NASCAR fan either. There is hard truth that golf must face and Phil Mickelson hit it on the head on Sunday morning. Golf needs stories. Tiger is not playing so golf needs someone to step up. Padraig just doesn't cut it, sorry. For all you smarks who think Tiger is overrated, pay less attention to impossible cross-era comparisons and pay more attention to the TV ratings. When the numbers come in for the Tour Championship and the PGA Championship, we'll see how much the game misses its "overrated" superstar.

Anonymous said...

There are so many new fans to the game of golf because of Tiger that many don't know or care about some of the more memorable victories of other great golfers. Some people act like Tiger invented the sport! While I am a huge fan of Tiger's I would never be so bold as to discount the accomplishments of previous stars of the game like so many of Tiger's other fans.

Anonymous said...

I want to see Tiger actually win one of these when he is behind. Had someone stayed close to Tiger after 2 days, he would not have reached 17 under at the masters or 12 under at the US because he wouldn't have been able to play so relaxed.

dibsen, he has executed more clutch shots than anybody since....than anybody. And you need look no further than Torrey Pines for an example of him coming from behind. He was down in the final round, which is more significant than being down after 54 holes.

dibsen said...

I'm not saying that Tiger is over rated, but when is the last time someone REALLY pressed this guy? I mean, he is always playing from ahead, and on rare occasions a b-leaguer rises up and puts pressure on him for one or two rounds. I want to see a 4 round war with someone of caliber and see how the wunderkind does.

hoopster1 said...

In the 1993 British Open Greg Norman started Sunday 1 shot off the lead and proceeded to shoot a 64 to win. While no one will dispute that Norman has LOST many a Major he has also had some stolen from him. At 53, hardly playing golf anymore? I'd hardly call yesterday a choke.

willyd said...

Everyone's talkin about tiger and jack and no one's talkin about norman. Had he won, it would have been one of the most significant accomplishments in golf history and would have topped all but Tiger in '97 and Jack in '86 in terms of modern era golf memorables. What it turned into was another Norman disaster. He is arguably the game's greatest 54 hole golfer (outside of Tiger) and almost certainly the worst closer in its history bar none. Yes he has a thousand legitimate excuses for losing this one but the bottom line is he played perfectly for three days and then when winning time came up he went the wrong direction. This is merely another validation nail in his choker coffin. Yes Harrington played well but Norman offered nothing but negatives from the first hole to the last. His overaggressive play was indicative of a man simply trying to hit his way through the demons and pressure. Play all out and he can rationalize the defeat far easier than if he'd been conservative and still lost. I only pray for all golf fans that the sport finds one closer in its immediate future who can step up and force Tiger to do something truly special to win great events. Norman clearly never had that in his best day and clearly still doesn't.......

Anonymous said...

best golf played ever is different in my book than Greatest Victory ever. Who could dispute that the best four rounds of golf ever played isn't the 2000 U.S. Open win for Tiger when he beats the world's best by 15 shots!!! Listen, Tiger believes that the 2008 U.S. Open win was his greatest and it's not because of how he played but the adversity he had to overcome to win. That, in my mind, is what a Great Victory is.

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