When Tiger Woods announced that he was having major knee surgery and would miss the remainder of the season, pretty much everyone assumed one of two things: Woods’ absence would open things up either for a crop of new players to get their first majors, or that a “name” player like Phil Mickelson or Vijay Singh would pounce on the chance to win with Tiger out. What no one expected was Padraig Harrington becoming a stone cold killer.
Harrington took the PGA Championship by two strokes on Sunday, breaking Sergio Garcia’s heart the same way he did to Greg Norman at the British Open earlier in the year in the process. This time, it was two clutch putts to close things out: a birdie on 17 and then a knee-knocking par save on 18 to put him clear of the field and wrap up the tournament.
For Garcia, it was another case of “close but no cigarro” in a major championship. He shot a solid two-under today, but that could have been a much, much better score. He missed a birdie putt at 17 after getting his tee shot inside of Harrington’s, and then totally misplayed 18 to take a bogey. But the worst part came on 15, after he his the flagstick with his approach and almost holed out for an eagle. But the ball ricocheted out of the hole, landing 10 feet away.
Champions drain that putt and take their birdie to the next hole. Garcia misses his putt, going from eagle to par and killing his momentum.
Harrington has now won three of the last six majors played - Tiger won two of the other three. He’s the first player other than Tiger to win two majors in one season since Mark O’Meara back in 1998. Some might say that these wins need an asterisk, since Tiger was out. Hogwash. He played the field that showed up, and he showed unbelievable brass tacks in winning both times.
Of course, if he really wanted to show Tiger up, he’s announce that he’s having surgery on two bum knees tomorrow. And then have sex with two Swedish models.