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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2008 > PGA Tour > PGA Championship > Round 4
 

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP RELATED STORIES







Padraig Harrington lifts his third major title

Padraig Harrington won his third major in a little over a year on Sunday and there is nothing the Irishman relishes more than the pressure of a back-nine battle on the final day of golf's biggest events.

"I know I love the idea of the back nine of a major on a Sunday," double British Open champion Harrington said after overtaking Spaniard Sergio Garcia and American Ben Curtis to win the PGA Championship for his second successive major triumph.

"I love it so much that I'm actually disappointed I'm seven months away from the next major and I don't know what I'm going to do."

Harrington has the Ryder Cup to keep him occupied next month when he and his European team mates set out to defend the trophy against the U.S. in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 36-year-old Irishman could also contemplate his lengthening list of achievements.

Victory at the gruelling Oakland Hills course that Ben Hogan dubbed "The Monster" after his 1951 U.S. Open win, made Harrington the first European winner of the event since Scottish-born Tommy Armour in 1930.

It also made the Dubliner the fourth player after Walter Hagen (1924), Nick Price (1994) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2006) to win the British Open and PGA Championship back-to-back, becoming the only European ever to win successive majors.

"He's won three of the last six majors that we played," said the 2003 British Open winner Curtis, who finished joint runner-up with Garcia.

"That's Tiger-like right there," he said, comparing Harrington's spectacular run to the injured world number one.

"He's playing pretty impressive golf."

Harrington, a bulldog competitor who seems to will putts home under pressure, said he embraced the big moment.

"You get chances in a major tournament on the back nine, you've got to take them," he said. "You've got to realise that, and I was in a situation that I got to take my chances."

Harrington was referring to the 12th hole, when trailing Garcia by two shots, he found himself with a tree in his way after hitting a poor tee shot.

"The tree was actually blocking where I was aiming, so I literally had to hit like I was hitting through the tree for my second shot," he said. A birdie there cut Garcia's lead in half.

"I knew I was playing catch-up somewhat, and those are the moments that change tournaments, when you take shots on like that and they come off.

"I'm a great believer in making it your own responsibility whether you win or you don't win."

Harrington said he never gave up hope, even though he did not feel he was playing at his best before the last day.

"I just kept in there and said, look, if I hang around, I will get an opportunity. And obviously that opportunity came."

The world number three said Garcia opened the door when he fired at the pin with his second shot at the 16th.

Garcia's ball trickled back into the pond guarding the green and he made bogey to slip back into a tie with Harrington and Curtis.

Harrington cashed in on his chance with a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-three 17th and a 15-foot par-saving put at 18 that clinched it.

"I felt an edge in terms of my experience. I felt an edge in terms of my ability to take an opportunity when it comes around," Harrington said.

"Some days, it won't go for you and you have to be prepared to handle that. But you got to be also prepared to take those shots on and take that responsibility and the consequences that go with it, whether you take it or not.

"But you've got to know, you've got to take them on the back nine. You're not going to win any other way."

August 11, 2008




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