The Irish Sun 2008

Harrington braced for Tiger backlash

Padraig Harrington knows he'll be on Tiger Woods' hit list next season after stealing the American's PGA Tour crown.

But the reigning Open and US PGA champion is still looking forward to the challenge as he bids to move up to the next level in the game.

After taking over from Woods as PGA Tour Player of the Year, Harrington said: “The Player of the Year Award is very close to Tiger's heart. But when somebody pips Tiger for something, he pats them on the back, says well done and I’m coming to get you next time.

 

American Idol - Harrington beats Tiger to PGA Tour gong

Padraig Harrington racked up another victory over Tiger Woods to become the first European winner of the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award,

And the Dubliner, 37, confessed that it felt as good as winning a Major to come out on top in a vote by the US tour players and deny the injured Woods his tenth Jack Nicklaus Trophy win in the last 12 seasons.

 

Harrington fancies his chances at Bethpage

Padraig Harrington had a hot tip for his fans after landing two more end-of-season awards - “Get your money on me for the US Open.”

Ireland’s triple Major champion, 37, saw off Tiger Woods by 184 votes to 58 to win the Golf Writers Association of America ‘Player of Year’ gong. He then took 90 percent of the vote as he beat Swede Robert Karlsson to become only the third player to win the European-based Golf Writers’ Trophy two years running.

He’s the hot favourite to grab his EIGHTH award of the year and see off Woods again by becoming the first European to be named PGA Tour Player of the Year today (Tues).

 

McGinley too young to captain Europe - Harrington

Padraig Harrington reckons Paul McGinley is too young to captain Europe's Ryder Cup side at Celtic Manor in 2010.

The US squad will be skippered by pint-sized Corey Pavin but Harrington believes that pocket battleship McGinley, who turns 42 today, will be fighting to claim his fourth Ryder Cup win from four appearances when the matches are played in Wales.

While he tipped McGinley as a future European captain, Harrington said: "As a player he is too young and he should be concentrating on making the team. Paul has had a very successful year that has been overshadowed by a really tremendous year for Irish golf and he will continue to build on that.

Clarke backs John Daly for Irish Open invite

“Wild Thing” John Daly smashed a spectator's camera into a tree as he crashed to an opening 78 in the Australian Open.

But playing partner Darren Clarke believes that that controversial American would be a huge draw if he lands an invite for next year’s new-look Irish Open at Mount Juliet.

Six years after leaving Australia in disgrace after dumping his putter in a lake, Daly saw red when a golf fan tried to take his picture from close range.

 

Harrington and Garcia bury the hatchet

Sergio Garcia has confessed that he wanted to smash Padraig Harrington over the head with his putter after his US PGA loss at Oakland Hills.

But according to Harrington, Europe’s big two have finally managed to bury the hatchet after years of tension.

The Dubliner denied Garcia the 2007 Open at Carnoustie when he triumphed in sudden-death and then snatched the US PGA from under the Spaniard’s nose this summer in another tense finish.

Relations between the two had already been frosty after a series of incidents, but Harrington has revealed that the pair managed to break the ice during September’s Ryder Cup clash at Valhalla.

Tiger for Irish PGA? It's not impossible

Padraig Harrington could face some world class rivals in next year’s cash-strapped Irish PGA Championship.

The event is currently limited to Irish-born tour players and members of the Irish Region of the PGA.

But Irish PGA administrator Michael McCumiskey does not rule out a move to allow tour stars like Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson or even Tiger Woods to get some vital links practice the week before next year’s Open at Turnberry.

Already searching for a sponsor, McCumiskey said: “The championship has been around since 1907 and it is not in my remit to change the format of it. But I would never say never.

 

Michelle Wie a target for AIB Ladies Irish Open

Teenage superstar Michelle Wie is the number one target for next year’s AIB Ladies Irish Open.

But the presence of the 19-year-old Hawaiin prodigy at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links from June 26-28 will depend on whether or not she wins back her card at this week’s LPGA Qualifying School.

Tournament organiser Roddy Carr is keen to attract big names like Wie, world No 1 Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer or Natalie Gulbis to play the Ladies Irish Open before Ireland stages the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Co Meath.

 

Team Harrington prepares Major strategy for 2009

Padraig Harrington will be under doctors’ orders this week as he prepares his Major Championship masterplan for 2009.

The Dubliner, 37, will sit down with his team of medical and technical gurus in Los Angeles for a brainstorming session that he hopes will give him an edge over rivals like Tiger Woods in his bid to complete the so-called "Paddy Slam".

And Dr Liam Hennessy, the expert in sports physiology who oversees Harrington’s physical preparation, is hoping that they can come up with some new ideas that will give Ireland’s triple Major winner an advantage over the competition when he cranks up the machine in the New Year.

McGinley and McDowell target World Cup finale

Paul McGinley and Graeme McDowell believe they have the chemistry to round off Ireland’s amazing 2008 season with victory in the $5m (€3.9m) Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

The Irish aces had a 100 percent record when they teamed up under Seve Ballesteros in the 2006 Royal Trophy in Thailand. And they will be hoping they can repeat of that kind of form and end Ireland’s record breaking golfing year by pocketing the $1.7m (€1.32 m) team prize on the Olazabal Course at Shenzen in China.

McIlroy challenging in Hong Kong

Red-hot Rory McIlroy is gunning for his maiden European Tour win after scorching into contention with a six-under par 64 in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

Victory would catapult McIlroy, 19, into the world’s top 50 and next year’s Masters at Augusta. And he feel ready to finish the job after notching up a confidence-boosting five top-10s from his last seven starts.

Tiger set for 2010 JP McManus Invitational

Tiger Woods will be back in Limerick in 2010 to battle Padraig Harrington for the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am and raise millions for charity.

While he can command up to $3m in appearance fees, the world No 1 has answered the call by his Limerick pal to tee it up for free at stunning Adare Manor & Golf Resort from 5-6 July 2010.

Faldo wants some Rory glory

Nick Faldo would love a second bite of the cherry as Ryder Cup captain and the chance to lead out star pupils like Rory McIlroy.

Europe’s defeated Ryder Cup skipper will play for the first time in 12 months when he tees it up alongside former Faldo Series graduate McIlroy and Irish World Cup pair Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley in this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open.

Harrington inspired by Munster rugby

Padraig Harrington confessed that he was “inspired” and “fascinated” by Munster’s epic clash with New Zealand at Thomond Park.

And while Ireland’s triple Major winner never got the chance to shine at rugby, he can identify with the pressures faced by goal kickers and the never-say-die spirit of Munster rugby.

Langer tips Harrington for Masters glory

Double Masters champion Bernhard Langer believes Padraig Harrington has the guts and the game to triumph at Augusta.

The German legend, 51, tees it up in the 50th edition of the Hong Kong Open alongside Irish aces Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley at Fanling tomorrow.

McIlroy continues rankings rise

Rory McIlroy can overtake Darren Clarke in the world rankings and take another step towards his US Masters dream in this week’s $2.5 million UBS Hong Kong Open.

The Holywood teenager, 19, jumped 17 places 63rd in the world thanks to his fourth place finish in the Barclays Singapore Open and is now just two places behind his mentor.

Irish trio face final Q-School hurdle

Jonny Caldwell is ready to battle through the mental pain barrier to secure his European Tour card in Spain. Live scoring

But like Michael Hoey and Mick McGeady, he knows he will have to dig deep to finish in the magical top 30 and ties after the final round of the European Tour Qualifying School.

Q-School: Hoey happy with stress-free start

Michael Hoey is relishing his stress-free start to the European Tour Qualifying School Finals in Spain. Live scoring

The six-round battle to finish in the top-30 and ties is widely regarded as one of the toughest weeks in golf.

But after adding a three-under 69 to his opening 68, Hoey is delighted to be tied for sixth place with compatriot Jonny Caldwell on six-under par.

Cracking start for Caldwell at Q School

Super cool Jonny Caldwell led the way as Ireland’s poker of aces made a scorching start in the European Tour Qualifying School Finals in Spain. Live scoring

Walker Cup ace Caldwell only joined the paid ranks when he guaranteed himself Challenge Tour status by coming through Stage Two of the Q-School last Saturday.