Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Monday Wrapup

Padraig Harrington wins the British Open in a four hole playoff over Sergio Garcia

I don't know where to start, so I'll just dive in:

There is no way around it; Sergio choked. He was three shots ahead at the beginning of the day and shot two over par on the front nine, giving other players hope. His putter betrayed him once again. If the weakness of his game wasn't known before (and it was; you don't go to a belly putter because it matches your shoes) it was laid bare for the world to see Sunday afternoon in Scotland. Garcia was able to putt well for the first 45 holes, but he returned to form on the remaining 27.

While I don’t expect any public self-immolation from him, he has to either figure out how to putt better, or come to accept his limitations as a golfer and tailor his game around them. He can win all the Booz Allen Classics he wants the way he is now, but the crack in his game will continue to haunt him in the majors.The good news is he has time at 27. If you look at the most recent major championship winners, you’ll see Garcia is ahead of the curve:

US Open 2007 - Angel Cabrera – 37
Masters 200 - Zach Johnson – 31
US Open 2006 - Geoff Ogilvy – 29
US Open 2005 -Michael Campbell – 36
British Open 2004 – Todd Hamilton - 38
Masters 2004 – Phil Mickelson - 33

Padraig Harrington surely made a mess of the 18th Sunday, but by that time he was six shots under par for the day with no bogeys. He may have blinked, but he didn’t choke.

I believe on the 12th hole Andres Romero took an unplayable lie when he hit his ball into a bush Sunday. The American announcers were making a big deal about the inexperience of Romero's caddy (he left Romero's bag around the green and had to retrieve it; he also didn't pace off the yardage Romero had from his drop to the green). A better example of the caddie letting Romero down is when he didn't raise a stink on the 17th hole when Romero pulled out a 2-iron to hit out of wispy rough. Regardless of whether Romero put his second attempt on the green with a 3-wood (even I can hit good shots if given two changes at them), that was a lay up if there ever was one.

Ernie Els seems to be at least past his peak and at most done as an elite level pro. He was the only serious contender with a victory in a major championship on his resume, but he couldn't raise his game on the back nine of a tournament begging to be taken. While he didn't make the glaring mistake like Harrington or Romero, going one over on the back nine won't win you most majors.

This is Ogilvie's first PGA Tour win, and I don't think he cares if the big boys were over in Scotland.

Tim Clark, for the second week in a row, can't close for his first win. I"m not going to cry for him too much; he has earned over $640K in less than a forthnight.

Having this tournament, which with the match play format could be a pretty big deal, the same weekend as the British Open is a shame. The Open sucks all the attention from anything else regarding golf.

I will not bemoan the lack fo star power in the final. When you have match play, these things happen.

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