Winning last year's British Open has done little to diminish Padraig Harrington's competitive drive.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. In California to play this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Harrington told reporters Tuesday that despite playing just two tournaments in the past 10 weeks, he hasn't let up since winning at Carnoustie Golf Club.
"I've been practicing, practicing pretty hard, and then in the gym getting ready," Harrington said. "I had a couple of illnesses that sort of stopped me in my tracks, but certainly the month of January I feel I've gotten some good work done.
"I'm not 100 percent competitive, but I'm 100 percent ready to go."
Even during the off-season, Harrington said it's not in his nature to simply relax.
"I'm not one of those players," Harrington said. "If I have a week off, I do more practice. Every week I take off, I see as an opportunity to get some work done and some gym work done.
"The nine weeks I take during the winter is a big block of that. I probably try and get more gym-work focused, try and get some of the heavier stuff done, try and make some gains and hopefully maintain that through the season."
Harrington, who guessed he's played in about 20 events since winning the open, said it's definitely a nice feather to have in his cap. Nearly seven months later, Harrington said he's still receiving congratulations for earning his first major title.
"Any time anybody reminds me, I'm happy about that," Harrington said. "I'll take that pat on the back every day and go with it.
"It is nice being announced as the open champion, there's no question about that. I've dreamed of winning all my life and I'm going to enjoy it when it's there."
As if it wasn't discouraging enough for the rest of the professional golfing world that Tiger Woods rallied from four strokes back to make it two-for-two this year with a win at the Dubai Desert Classic, then came the revelation that the world No. 1-ranked player won the event while struggling with his backup driver.
"I didn't tell you guys this, but I broke my driver on Wednesday and had to use my backup, which I didn't like very much," Woods told reporters after his second win in three years at Dubai Sunday. "I spun it too much. It was fine on Thursday because the wind didn't blow, but as soon as the wind started blowing, I had a hard time controlling the driver because it kept spinning too much."
Woods said he cracked the face of his original driver on the first tee of last Wednesday's practice round at Emirates Golf Club.
"That driver that broke, I used it for the last year and I had some pretty good success with it," said Woods, who has won six of his last seven official events.
J.B. Holmes hopes that rallying from behind to win last Sunday's FBR Open at TPC Scottsdale will lead to even bigger things in the near future. Not only did Holmes describe the playoff victory over Phil Mickelson as a "big confidence-builder," but he's also hopeful it will get him started down a path that will lead to a spot for the U.S. squad in the Ryder Cup Matches at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
"That's what I want to do — I want to play in my home state for my country," Holmes, a Kentucky native, told reporters Sunday. "I got to play in college on the Walker Cup team and some U.S.-Japan teams and that's always been the best experience for me in golf. I love the international competition. My main goal this year is to make the Ryder Cup team."
Holmes said he knows Valhalla well, playing the course several times in college.
"It's probably one of my favorite golf courses," Holmes said. "I've played it quite a bit. I've played it once or twice since they've redone it, but I've been around it several times."
• Greg Norman is scheduled to make his first start on the PGA Tour since 2006 when he tees it up in this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Norman last played in the event in 1992.
• Woods, who won the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links, won't play in the event for a sixth consecutive year. He's next expected to play in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Feb. 18-24 at Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.
• Davis Love III is scheduled to return to action this week at Pebble Beach. He is attempting to come back from an injury to his left ankle that required surgery to repair tendons. Love III won the National Pro-Am in both 2001 and 2003.
• AT&T Inc., the PGA Tour and Monterey Peninsula Foundation Inc. announced that AT&T has extended the title sponsorship of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am through 2014. AT&T has been the tournament's title sponsor since 1986.
February 7, 2008
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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