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Mr Nice Guy wins at last

by Iain Carter (U7103772) 23 July 2007
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Padraig Harrington demonstrates all the qualities that Nick Faldo says are essential to become one of golf’s major winners. He’s also a nice guy, proving that you can have friends and be successful.

The Irishman’s victory was born out of hard work, dedication and an unfailing ability to recover from the hard knocks of the professional game.

Harrington had the reputation of being a choker, with 31 second places to his name, but in recent years those second places have been the result of good finishes rather than chances thrown away.

In the final round at Carnoustie he recognised that had his double-bogey six at the 72nd hole cost him the title, from which it would have been almost impossible to recover.

Sergio Garcia did the Irishman a huge favour by failing to convert the winning putt and to take it into a play-off.

Having said that, Harrington fully deserves his victory - anyone who shoots a final-round 67 at Carnoustie when in contention is a deserving winner.

There is no more dedicated player on the European tour - he pounds thousands and thousands of balls under the expert eye of swing coach Bob Torrance - Sam's father - at Largs on the west coast of Scotland.

The pair started working together after Harrington played his first US Open in 1997 and realised he didn’t have the game to compete in, never mind win, a major championship.

Harrington put together a brilliant business plan for the championship week
Since then they have totally reshaped Harrington's swing and technique. It has been a painstaking process.

It was highly appropriate, then, that Harrington broke his major duck at Carnoustie as this was where Ben Hogan won in 1953, and the American has been the driving influence behind so much of Torrance’s teaching.

On top of that, Harrington demonstrated his single-minded determination to land his first major here by putting together a brilliant business plan for the championship week.

He ignored the soft, inland parkland course that is Loch Lomond, home of the Scottish Open, to be battered by the elements at the Irish PGA Championship at the European Club instead.

This was a masterstroke. It gave him competitive play the week before the Open and prepared him for the challenges of links golf.

This inspired move separates him from so many of his European Tour counterparts, who preferred to go for the big bucks at Loch Lomond.

For Sergio Garcia, Sunday will provide a trauma from which it will be hard to recover.

It all stems from his errant putter, whether at the conventional length or the one that he wedged into his midriff throughout the championship. His putting undermined his efforts in the final round, piling pressure onto his long game.

In fairness, Garcia responded magnificently to keep himself in contention, but when it really mattered, when he had to hole the winning putt, he wasn’t able to do it.

Had his putting been as good as his long game, it would never have come down to that single moment on the 72nd green.

As for Harrington, he has always said that his ambition is to win majors, not just one.

This triumph could prove the launch-pad for several more. He can draw on the confidence that he can win the biggest prizes in the game.

It should also send a signal to the rest of European golf that majors are attainable.

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posted Jul 24, 2007

Good article Iain,and I can only agree with you.It sends out the message that Europeans can win majors unless of course they are English.
Poulter,Donald,Rose,Westwood etc all just fade away when nerve,steel ,determination and character are needed.Nick Faldo was 100% correct, they all happy to have water in their swimming pools and Porches in the drive and sod the glory of a Major title.

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posted Jul 24, 2007

MC200010: "its seems to me every time you mention Harrington actually winning the open you must alongside it include comments referring to "choking" and "luck", i cant see why you dont jus mention it without trying to downgrade the achivement"

No not a case of downgrading the achievement, rather commenting on the actualities of the event, if you and others wish to argue that the display from Harrington was an example of golf par excellence then that's fine but your the ones deluded not me.

As regards my commenting on Harrington's 'hackers' strategy, yes it was in part a comment made so as to provoke - a debating strategy utilised so as to engage, you see that is what debate is all about, occasionally confrontational language often moves such debate forward - if your sensibilities are offended by a truthful observation that's your problem not mine.

As regards your assumption that other golfers would do the same if we are speaking about mid handicappers i'm sure your right, in regard to the best golfers in the world who have a capacity to ignore what has gone before i'd argue your completely wrong - as evidenced by Tiger Woods victory in the Canadian Open a few years back when having put one ball in the water but still holding the lead executed the same shot this time pitching a few feet from the hole - a guy who trusted his swing and was able to put what had gone before behind him.

I don't blame Harrington for what he did it showed he was more interested in winning than what others would think - but i guarantee you that Harrington will be working on his swing flaws which produced such choking behaviour so that in a similar position rather than risk losing by taking a most probable 5 - and having to rely on others not making birdie, he would be able to trust his swing and make sure of victory by making birdie

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comment by anboth (U8525631)

posted Jul 24, 2007

andytad11. you are proof that opinions are a great thing, even idiots like you are aloud to have then.

your trying to say the you have better course management skills than PH.....??????

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posted Jul 24, 2007

'anboth': "your trying to say the you have better course management skills than PH.....??????"

So when exactly did i mention my course management skills - i was referring to a Mr Woods' - try reading an article before you spew forth uninfromed comments about it

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comment by anboth (U8525631)

posted Jul 24, 2007

ok listen.......your comparing two golfers, TW and PH. Your saying one is correct in the way they play and one is wrong. Thats you voicing YOUR opinion........

Your also PRESUMING that TW would play it a certain way

also you say that, "EVERYONE ELSE is deluded but not you".......so your always right then are you?....`

and talking about trusting your swing, why did TW use irons on all the holes in hoylake.

lets talk about facts shall.....PH is the open champion because he was the best player over the weekend......you see this is a fact not an opinion MATE

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posted Jul 24, 2007

I always seem to join these debates once the good stuff has been absorbed and it's down to the name-calling!...but having just read ALL the comments, here's my 2c worth.

- Padraig deserved to win, by a whisker.

- However, I was rooting for Sergio because all the pressure was on him, and his first three rounds were excellent.

- I don't think either player "bottled" anything on the last day. Sergio putted well but mis-read several (easy to do when the pressure is on - you start second-guessing yourself). Padraig did chunk his approach to the 18th, but his up-and-down was class.

- Sergio should be proud of his efforts - it's only right that he should not diss himself minutes after such a huge disappointment. He fought to the end, and his bunkered approach to the 72nd was, in the circumstances, only a whisker from perfect, and he had a good go at birdie on 18th in the playoff (he may wish he'd taken the driver first time around!).

- Padraig did have some luck on the last day - but I'm guessing if you analysed it the luck over 72 (76!) holes pretty much evened out.

I actually believe both guys were incredibly strong mentally, given the circumstances. Padraig's demeanour on the last day, from his BBC interview on the range beforehand, to the 18th tee, was so focused and determined, and his play was aggressive and confident. I for one can forgive him for any amount of nerves on the 18th tee. Sergio could have crumbled, but kept making his shots (and striking the ball superbly well) right to the end.

So...well done to Padraig - his confidence will now soar, and rightly so - but I hope Sergio also takes the positives from what was a superb effort. If he does, he will win a major soon too.

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posted Jul 25, 2007

To say that the open was played off by a pair of chokers is only stating the obvious:just find out how many times Harrington and Garcia have finished second in tournaments but regardless of this congratulations to Harrington on his win.

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posted Jul 25, 2007

S'funny, you have some people here saying how Woods would have played better than Harrington (but didn't over the week), insinuating that Woods is the better player and then you complain about Garcia and Harrington being chokers. Ha! With Woods winning so many majors and tournaments, there's a lot of second places up for grabs.

If we're talking choking, why is it Tiger can't make up shots and win a major? Why is it when it comes to the third round and he's behind, it seems that he can't bring his game up to the normal lofty standards that he demonstrates when he's in front by a few shots? Choking is coming onto the first tee knowing you have to make shots and then dumping it into the rough or any stretch of water... remind you of anyone?

I do not consider Woods, Harrington or Garcia to be chokers. Golf is a pressure sport. The pressure is all on one person, not shared around as in a team game like football or cricket. to stand on the 18th, knowing one mistake could blow your only chance of a Major title.. none of us really understand that pressure. The pair of them played superbly and it was a fabulous showcase for the Open. It's consistently offered up sensational golf and, in my opinion, showed the US Open and US Masters up for what they are becoming: lengthy courses that take the shot making ability away from the players because of ridiculous rough and greens that verge on the insane. Watching people being able to use long irons from the rough and actually hold the shot on the green was a joy to see at Carnoustie.

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posted Jul 25, 2007

Best comment so far AndyPlowRight. Good man. <ok>

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posted Jul 25, 2007

"also you say that, "EVERYONE ELSE is deluded but not you".......so your always right then are you?...."`

There you go again 'anboth' this time nevermind not seeming to have read what i had written your even directly misquoting me i wrote: "if you and others wish to argue that the display from Harrington was an example of golf par excellence then that's fine but your the ones deluded not me."

i.e. i'm not referring to "EVERYONE ELSE", let alone writing it (you are aware what quotation marks are for aren't you?), just those sad deluded fools who have been suggesting that Harrington's round was a flawless display of golf - something he himself admitted was not the case.

May i suggest that next time you sit down to write something, rather than jumping up and down in a state of excitement and writing the first thing that comes into you head, that instead you take off those green-tinted spectacles, count to 50 (maybe thats not a wise suggestion), re-read the message and then offer a written reposte.

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