Is Padriag Harrington the next in line on the PGA’s attempt to find a rival for Tiger? With Woods looking about ready to wrap up his 15th major, there has been a buzz around Harrington (the defending champion of the event) playing very well for a second week in a row. Phil Mickelson and all of his troubles this year hasn’t put together much of a challenge on Tiger’s thrown, but he has been in and out of golf all season for obvious family reasons. Truthfully what can you expect from Phil if he isn’t able to properly practice and prepare himself to play at the highest level. Today, Harrington was quoted saying he wanted to play with Tiger in the final group. Harrington unfortunately didn’t get his wish as Y.E. Yang will play with him in the final group Sunday. Yang actually beat Tiger when he was in China at a tournament, but I have a feeling this will be a little different. Every player that gets paired with Tiger shoots an average of three shots higher than him, so I don’t see tomorrow playing out differently. It has to be tough playing with a gallery of Tiger’s size surrounding you all over the course.
I’m all for Paddy being the next contender to Tiger though, because last weekend he was paired with Tiger in the final round of the Buick Open, and held his lead after the 15th hole lead by 1 stroke.
Something weird happened on the 16th hole though, as even Woods came off the course furious about what happened on the 16th hole, eventhough he was the beneficiary of the occurrence. Harrington had a triple bogey on the 16th hole, and it was later revealed that Harrington was pushed by one of the rules officials John Paramor, for exceeding time limits. This would be understandable if they were in an earlier group, but they were the final group playing for a tournament and a million dollars! It was completely ridiculous.
Tiger later stated “He (rules official) got in the way of a great battle. It was such a great battle for 16 holes, and we’re going at it head to head, and unfortunately that happened. I don’t know why we were put on the clock.”
Hopefully Paramor didn’t put them on the clock so they’d finish in time for the CBS to broadcast their rerularly scheduled program! Well guess what? They finished at 6 p.m. on the dot.
Either way I like Paddy’s confidence around Tiger, because it’s basically the opposite of nearly every other player on the tour. Harrington went on to say that he felt comfortable playing with Tiger. He feels that Tiger forces him to not take too cautious of an approach, and go for more aggressive shots than he normally would. Harrington struggled early this year as he’s made major changes to his swing. It looks like the last two weeks have shown that he is finding his groove with that new swing. If he becomes the next player to challenge Tiger, I’d like that. He seems to feel like he can win, and has fun with it the same way Phil does on the course. He may not be able to take Tiger down this Sunday, mainly because Tiger has won every tournament (14-0) that he held the third round lead in, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be pulling for him. I don’t know why, but I always root against Tiger. I guess I just like to root for the least likely outcome… Go Harrington and/or Lee!