How we won the Open - Flood

By Brian Keogh

Caddie Ronan Flood never had any doubts that Padraig Harrington would win a major.

But the Dubliner, who gave up his day job in AIB to caddie for his best pal, has revealed that he has never seen his boss play as well as he did at Carnoustie on Sunday.

Roared on by 33,000 fans, Harrington pocketed €1.11 million for his 19th career victory.

And while Flood will be entitled to the caddie’s usual 10 percent cut - a cool €111,081 - he will settle for the treasure of great memories he will take with him to his grave.

Recalling how it all began on Sunday, he said: “It was horrendous in the morning. The rain was hammering down when I walked the course this morning and it was horrendous,

“But Padraig just went out to play his own game, do his own thing, which he did, and I’ve never seen him play so well.

“If he pars 18 it’s probably one of the best rounds of golf ever played. He needed a par at the last for 65 having missed a short one for birdie on 16.

“He just played great all day. Okay, he hit a couple of bad shots on 18 but he hit a phenomenal up and down at the end.”

Harrington paid tribute to his caddie in his victory speech as Champion Golfer for 2007.

He said: "I'd like to thank my caddie Ronan. No-one is more committed or dogged in his approach to keeping me going on the golf course. He never, ever lets up. His commitment and encouragement out there is second to none. Thanks Ronan."

Flood laughs at being dubbed dogged, adding “That would be a fair word for it alright. I can’t argue with that.”

He is also resilient. Eyebrows were raised when he took over the duties from Dave McNeilly in May 2004.

But he proved them all wrong on Sunday when he helped his boss to his ninth tournament victory in the biggest championship of them all.

Recalling the events of the day, he said: “It was horrendous but by the time we went out it was perfect.

“Was there a game plan made? No. It was just how we played the course all week. He decided just to do what he did all week.

“He hit the same club at the first, five wood, just to lay up short of the trap. The same game plan. Hit it over the trap at the second and third and sixth, if he could, hit it over. If you can’t get over them, lay it up. Just stayed to the game plan in everything he did and played great

“Mentally, he was good all week. Not just on Sunday. It probably looked good because they showed much more of him on TV than on previous days. Today he just played great.

“I mean he could have shot 64 or 65 and if he’d parred the last it would have been one of the best rounds of golf ever played to win a Major.

“He can now believe … the hardest thing I think is convincing yourself that you don’t have to do something different to win.

“Okay today he turned up and played fantastic but it wasn’t anything he hadn’t done before or wasn’t capable of doing.

“He just stuck to his own game plan. The chip and putt for the six on 18 was the same as the chip and putt on 17 at Valderrama in the Volvo Masters last year.

“He hit it in the water at Valderrama and hit it in the water here twice but at that stage just knuckled down and got it up and down. He hit a lovely shot with the lobber and a nice putt afterwards.”

Keeping Harrington cool and calm is one of Flood’s tasks but he revealed that they didn’t find it difficult to concentrate on the job in hand.

Cinema was a topic of conversation at one stage, but he added: “We were mainly just keeping our mind on what was in hand and forget about everything else that’s going on around. It’s easy to get distracted out there.

“He doesn’t look at leaderboards at all. He can be looking at anyone else, seeing how they are going and listening to roars and things like that.”

Harrington later revealed that he had no idea that Andres Romero had taken a three shot lead at one stage.

But he did know what he had to do as he stood on the 72nd tee with a one stroke lead.
His decision to hit driver - with almost disastrous results - puzzled many.

But Flood explained: “We discussed whether to hit 3-wood or driver and the wind was off the right he was happiest with driver with the biggest carry. With three wood he’d have had to aim down the right and hit it towards the water, which he didn’t want to do.

“With driver he was able to stand up and aim it more down the middle. He hit a bad tee shot. Nothing you can say.

“He didn’t hit his third shot well but he played great in the playoff. Hit a seven iron to the first and made birdie and a hybrid again to the left of 16 and two-putted.

“After a 4-iron, 4-iron to 17, he thought he’d birdied it. But when we got to 18 the second time there was no thought of taking the driver or anything else.

“We knew off the tee he was saying we’d try and make four by laying it up but we shouldn’t make any more than five.

“He would be only hitting it like 200 yards from the fairway. If Sergio made three, Padraig felt he could make four and win it. And if Sergio made three and Padraig made five, then fair enough, but there was no point in standing up and hitting another tee shot in the water and making six, while he make four, which was what he did.”

For the record, this is what Harrington hit on every hole in the final round.

1st 406 yard Par 4
5-wood, 9-iron to 15 feet. Two putts. Par

2nd 463 yard Par 4
Driver, 6-iron. Par

3rd 358 yards Par 4
Three-wood, lob wedge. Birdie.

4th 412-yards Par 4
Driver, 9-iron. Par

5th 415 yards Par 4
4-iron to right rough, 6-iron up and made a great chip and putt over the bunker. Par

6th 578 yards Par 5
Driver over the trap and then 3-wood up short right, chip and putt. Birdie

7th 410 yards Par 4
5-wood and 7-iron. Chip and putt. Par

8th 183 yards Par 3
7-iron. Par

9th 478-yards Par 4
3-wood, 6-iron. Birdie

10th 466 yards Par 4
Hit driver and duffed his second shot, 7-iron, to the front of the green, two putts. Par

11th 383 yards Par 4
Driver. Lob wedge. Birdie.

12th 499 yards Par 4
3-wood, hybrid. Par

13th 176 yards Par 3
7-iron. Par

14th 514 yards Par 5
5-wood, 4-iron. Eagle

15th 472 yards Par 4
5-wood, 7-iron. Par

16th 248 yards Par 4
Hybrid. Par

17th 461 yards Par 4
4-iron, 5-iron. Par

18th 499 yards Par 4
Driver, 5-iron. Double bogey