Monday, July 23, 2007

Harrington the Hero

And so it became a battle of the fretting family members. As Padraig plunged into the Barry Burn twice on the 72nd hole of the 2007 Open Championship, it was Caroline Harrington who wore the countenance of the seafarer's wife, scanning the suddenly stormy seas in hope of her man's safe return.

Then it was the Garcia family's turn to worry, the chipmunkish features they share with Sergio changing from pearly grins to gnashing of teeth as their boy's putting woes refused to abate and the play-off was set up.

In the end, it was little Paddy Harrington who swung it. Only the cruellest sporting god (the Don Fox one, perhaps) could have permitted Harrington junior to ask his father in a few years time, "Daddy, remember that time I ran onto the green to meet you at the Open? Was that the one you threw away with a six at the last, spurning your best opportunity to win a major and forever lumbering me with the schoolyard taunt of being the son of a choker?"

No, Paddy Harrington will now be known as the son of a hero, a man whose sustained excellence at this most challenging of sports at last has the timeless imprimatur that only a major can provide; who will now enter the pantheon of individuals alongside Delaney, Roche, O'Sullivan, Doherty and a very few others who left this isle and conquered the world.

If the gods weren't appeased by the sight of the profligate Irishman's youngster bounding onto the 18th green at Carnoustie, they must have decided to give Harrington a second chance based on reconsideration of that traumatic six on the final hole. While the four shots that preceded them felt like daggers into the heart, the fifth and sixth shots were a miraculous kiss of life for Harrington's hopes. The fortitude he mustered to retrieve that six, and at least ask Garcia the toughest of golfing questions, was truly of champion quality.

Champion is a proper description of Harrington's golf yesterday as a whole. Like he has done in several recent majors, the Dubliner got himself into contention on that last day through three battling, consistent rounds, with only the tricky conditions of Friday dragging him over par. This time, unlike at the US Open last year, or in Augusta this year, he produced a final round which was almost martial in its momentum, and had he managed to negotiate the last uneventfully, would surely be regarded as one of the finest major-winning final 18s ever.

The scoreboard tells of a staccato rhythm of birdies - 3, 6, 9, 11, and 14 (an eagle) - but fails to mention the two lipped putts on 12 and 13 which would have been just reward for the sort of magnificient approach shots he was serving up yesterday with the frequency of a casino dealer dealing blackjack hands.

It was another one of them on the first play-off hole that took him to twelve feet from the cup. Then came the birdie that gave him the lead that he held onto as tightly as he would later hold the famous claret jug when it was all over.

Well done, Padraig.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes me feel better as an Irishman that one of us has one the Open. Padraig is the Best, We are the best, sort of thing.

9:28 a.m.  
Anonymous Paddy C said...

Now that he's a major winner, will commentators finally learn how to pronounce his christian name!? It's not 'pod-rig', it's bleedin paw-rick!!!

So does TSA predict Harrington to kick on from this, or will he possibly rest on his laurels (and millions)?

11:56 a.m.  
Blogger Tommy77 said...

well, rather than providing my views on that, read my next post for an ultimately pointless analysis of age profiles of modern multiple major winners

5:23 p.m.  
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