Final-round news and notes from Clive Agran, arguably the most gifted golf writer either side of the Urals, filing from the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in Virginia Water, England.
• At a press conference to announce his two Ryder Cup vice captains, Nick Faldo expressed concern that Tiger Woods would be a huge threat to Europe if he ever became single-minded about the Ryder Cup. "That's my only bug. The big worry. If one day Tiger gets the bit between his teeth. Maybe he does set the tone. So if he does come out and really gets into it, will that inspire their team?"
• The PGA Championship in 1978 was the first 72-hole tournament won by a man called Faldo.
• Today's BMW PGA Championship win lifts Anders Hansen up from 262nd into the top 10 on the European Tour Order of Merit. It also takes him into the top 50 of the World Rankings from 151st.
• Colin Montgomerie is the only man to have won three European PGA Championships in a row - 1998, 1999 and 2000.
• Quite a few of the players - including Rose, Fisher and Harrington - wore yellow ribbons in their hats. They did so in support of four-year-old Madeleine McCann, an English girl abducted while on holiday in Portugal three weeks ago who hasn't been heard of since.
• This was the ninth play-off in the history of the Championship.
• Jose Maria Olazabal holds the record for the most consecutive cuts made in this Championship - 19.
• Vijay Singh, who practises harder than most, said: "I was on the range Saturday and it was absolutely packed. It's good to see the young kids are practising as much as they are. I think they practise more over here (in Europe) than they do in the States."
• Chief Executive George O'Grady hinted that the European Tour might join forces with other tours in a concerted bid to mount a serious challenge to the U.S. PGA Tour's apparent supremacy. Speaking at a press conference at Wentworth on Sunday morning, he even intimated that it might involve a name change, but wouldn't say when this might happen. "When I'm ready, we'll announce it," he declared.
• Nick Dougherty, Ross Fisher and Marcus Fraser were the only players going into the final day with three sub-par rounds. None of them managed a fourth.
• Anders Hansen had only ever been involved in one play-off on the European Tour and lost it. Compared with Justin Rose, however, he had plenty of experience as this was the Englishman's first.
• This was Hansen's 15th win on the European Tour.
May 27, 2007
Although in his 60s, with a handicap of 15 and lifetime earnings comfortably below $100, Clive Agran nevertheless still believes he can win a major. Arguably England's most gifted golf writer, when not dreaming of glory he's scouring the globe simultaneously searching for lost balls and great golf courses. Follow Clive on Twitter at @cliveagran.
With stellar play on the back nine at Royal Birkdale, Padraig Harrington shot a 69 in the final round to earn a four-shot victory and become Europe's first back-to-back British Open champion in more than a century. He earned nearly $1.5 million and climbed to No. 3 in the world rankings. "I'm really thrilled with the way I felt today on the golf course," Harrington said. "I hit the ball as pure as I could and just felt really good."
... full article »