I picked up my Sunday Post-Dispatch, and as I perused the sports page, noticed that Padraig Harrington, the winner of last year’s final two majors in the wake of Tiger Woods’ injury, was in the lead. Then as I got into the second paragraph, I realized that Harrington had NO chance to win the WGC Bridgestone Classic.
It was because of what Harrington said. He was a beaten man as he finished the third round. He hadn’t looked at the leader board all day, but when he did, he noticed that Tiger was in second, just three shots back. Then, in his post round press conference, he admitted what went through his mind. “ ‘O.K., he’s in second place, there he is, seven under par, there you go, three-shot lead, is that enough? Probably not. But now I really wish that putt went in on 18.’ ”
This is a guy that actually had BEATEN Tiger on Sunday a couple of times, and he was unraveling before the media on Saturday night. “You just don’t know what’s going to unfold tomorrow,” Harrington said in his press conference. “But obviously, at this stage, I know it’s going to be a difficult day.”
He added: “I do expect to have a tough day. Really, from the word go, it’s going to be a real tough day. Just the hype of it all, everything about it, it’s just going to be a lot of work tomorrow. At the end of the day, there is an intimidation factor there.”
Well, yeah. When you admit that you’re intimidated, it gets intimidating. And from reading Harrington’s quotes, it sounds to me like he had no chance of beating Woods. After his four stroke victory…a seven stroke advantage for the day…Tiger blamed Harrington’s collapse on a rules official telling him to speed up on the 16th.
That’s nice of Woods, but it’s not accurate at all. The official may have put the last straw on the camel’s back, but Harrington was cooked on Saturday.