Hard work in golf gets major results - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Hard work in golf gets major results

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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2007 11:40 am | Updated: 7:23 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

It seems so simple, yet Hogan’s words never rang more true than in the aftermath of last week’s British Open at Carnoustie, the crusty old Scottish course that “The Hawk’’ helped make famous.

Asked how he sees himself in the scheme of golf’s hierarchy, Padraig Harrington said, “I’m a worker. ... I just worked hard and I think I just drew on all my experience of playing links golf, and honestly convinced myself that I was going to win.’’

Yep, blue-collar, slow and steady, Ireland’s “regular guy’’ survived his own self-destruction via a doublebogey on the last hole — granted, a great 6 for two balls in the burn — to come back and win his first major championship in a playoff over Sergio Garcia.

Meanwhile,the somewhat-spoiled Spaniard got a little defensive over a question about how his latest failure in the majors affects his stock. “You only watch the guys that make the putts and get the good breaks, and things like that,’’ a wounded Sergio accused the media.

OK, so what does all this mean? Not much, really. Except that Harrington no longer is part of the rat pack that carries the dubious distinction of being “the world’s best player never to have won a major.’’

On the other hand, Garcia seems to have ended the debate on who is the most frustrated player in the world right now. After numerous golden opportunities in the majors, Serg still is wearing the 0-for-33 collar.

Not that Garcia doesn’t have some good company in the game’s most dreaded doghouse. And with only one more major in the season – the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Golf Club in Tulsa, Okla. – there’s not a lot of time for those handful of snoopers to set things straight.

What’s interesting about the 2007 season is that the winners’ circles in the majors are, to date, Tiger-less. Zach Johnson wins the Masters, Angel Cabrera emerges from the U.S. Open and now Harrington takes the British Open. Not necessarily your marquee names, but note that all three work very hard on their games.

Which is not to say that Garcia is a slouch. But he is a higher-profile player who is more in front of the camera as the No. 1 pitchman for TaylorMade-adidas Golf, as well as those sexy commercials he does for Michelob Light.

Just think, if the fashion-conscious Sergio had followed the James Bond-like script from his latest beer commercial he would have won the Claret Jug. But, alas, Sergio’s effort on the final hole of regulation was anything but “a good up and down.’’

So who else besides Garcia is vying for that first major in the worst way? At this point it’s a pretty short list with all of the candidates not surprisingly among the top 20 in the world.

Some might even argue that Adam Scott should be on top, considering he is ranked No. 5 in the world to Garcia’s No. 8 position. But Scott never has got himself in position to make a serious run at a major even though he has won some big tournaments like the Players Championship.

Henrik Stenson at No. 9 gets a lot of media acclaim for having the potential to be the next big thing. Yeah, he came up big in Tucson at this year’s WGC Accenture World Match Play, and he did beat Tiger in Dubai. But Stenson has yet to show his Swedish colors in a major.

Little Luke Donald also has as nice game, which is why golf’s “Hugh Grant’’ is No. 11. But the English lad has proved to be nothing but early speed in the majors.

Same with Paul Casey, the former ASU All-American who lives part-time in Scottsdale. What Casey needs to do is quit goofing around in Europe, get over the “Stupid Americans’’ fiasco, and get serious on the PGA Tour. If he doesn’t, his position is going to fall much further than No. 18.

Those five players – Garcia, Scott, Stenson, Donald and Casey – are my five-player pool to win next month’s PGA. And you can almost bet that hard work as it relates to luck again will come into play.

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