July 23, 2007

THE COURSE THAT EATS CONTINENTALS:

Harrington Outlasts Garcia To Win First Major (TONY DEAR, July 23, 2007, NY Sun)

Allowed this time to look after itself with the help of an ever-present, albeit gentle, breeze, Carnoustie offered one of the best Open Championships in living memory, and one that will still be celebrated in Ireland long after Padraig Harrington has left for the great links in the sky. Sixty years after Fred Daly won the Open at Hoylake, the Emerald Isle has its long-awaited second Claret Jug and one which will no doubt need a thorough cleaning before heading to Royal Birkdale next year, in order to get rid of all the Guinness stains.

For Harrington, the moment is long overdue. An ungainly swinger of the club and considerably less gifted than a number of his peers, he has nevertheless ranked among the world's top dozen or so players for most of this century thanks to a work ethic that would impress Vijay Singh and a desire to succeed that only Tiger Woods might call moderate.

It's fitting perhaps that Carnoustie should be the scene of his first major triumph. Itself slightly ungainly and often overlooked in discussions of the world's best courses, it has worked hard in recent years to re-establish its reputation after the nightmare of 1999.

Long, superbly designed, and exposed to numbing North Sea winds, Carnoustie needed the forest of rough it got for protection in '99 like Fort Knox needs another padlock. Reaction to what happened eight years ago was probably over the top, but how much better it was to see a handful of world-class golfers chasing birdies around a course that certainly proved testing, but not overwhelming. In '99, the object was to shoot the least high number and get to the safety of the clubhouse without humiliating yourself or even crying in your mother's arms. Whereas this year, players had the chance, at least, to go low. And how ironic that Sergio Garcia, the man, or rather boy, who shot plus-30 for two rounds in '99 and then sought solace from his mommy, should go lower than anyone except, of course, for Harrington.


Jean van de Velde must feel vindicated.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 23, 2007 8:59 AM
Comments

The reality is that the OB fence on the left isn't that tight to the course (although, if you hit a screaming hook and the rough isn't up, there's nothing to stop your ball from rolling out) and there's plenty of room between where the burn meanders around the right side of the green to be short but still carry the water. But when your standing in that fairway with a 3 or 4 iron in your hand, you are so aware of the dangers that you can't help thinking about them, your grip tightens and the next thing you know you're signing for a "6" on the 18th.

Posted by: Foos at July 23, 2007 9:28 AM

I was pulling for Romero, but he made too many mistakes to win. That ball that he ricocheted out of bounds was like something I might do (have done).

Posted by: Brandon at July 23, 2007 10:34 AM

So who won the pool?

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 23, 2007 11:36 AM

My picks of Els, Woods, and Harrington shot a combined 838. Can anyone beat that? I didn't save everyone's picks.

Posted by: Bartman at July 23, 2007 5:16 PM
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