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Live notes: Final round
Want to know what's going on at Oakland Hills? Our crew at the PGA Championship will keep you updated with all the happenings during Sunday's action. Check back often for our continuous coverage.
THE SHAKY-HEALTH FACTOR: At the U.S. Open, it was Tiger Woods' left knee. Then it was Padraig Harrington's right wrist that threatened to keep him out of the Open Championship. Neither injury stopped the two from winning.
So what would be the health issue that this week's major winner would have to overcome? As it turned out, it was ... dehydration.
Harrington, who outdueled Sergio Garcia and Ben Curtis to win Sunday's PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, said he was struggling from dehydration on Friday after he shot a 4-over 74 that left him six shots off the pace at the midway point.
At that time, Harrington basically sounded like his chances of winning had evaporated. On Sunday, Harrington even recalled that he "couldn't get to the clubhouse quick enough" during his seocnd round. "My game was going downhill very quickly," he added.
But in retrospect, the dehydration gave him a focus point to regroup and get his game back in gear.
"At least I had something tangible that I could actually pin it on and try and put some effort into it," Harrington said. "Give me the belief that if I can get my hydration right, basically my coordination would come back.
"And whether it was the answer or not, it certainly helped me focus on something -- and that was the important part of it." -- Mike McAllister (10:30 p.m. ET)
CHAMP'S COLORS: Padraig Harrington is Irish, but evidently he doesn't really believe in lucky charms.
Even thought he wore a similar looking color of shirt (primarily white) in winning the Open Championship as he did in winning Sunday's PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, Harrington said, no, that's not his lucky shirt. He pointed out that he won the 2007 Open Championship while wearing a blue sweater over a red shirt.
He went on to add that he's won tournament in all various colors. In other words, he doesn't win every tournament while wearing a red shirt in the final round, as a certain top player in the world has made a habit of doing 65 times in his PGA TOUR career.
"The color of your shirt doesn't make you play good golf," Harrington said as a smile crossed his face. "Let's don't worry about those superstitions." -- Mike McAllister (9:47 p.m. ET)
A FEW HARRINGTON NOTES: With Sunday's win at the PGA Championship, Padraig Harrington ...
* Becomes the fourth player to win the British Open and PGA Championship in the same year, joining Walter Hagen (in 1924), Nick Price (1994) and Tiger Woods (2000 and 2006)
* Becomes the first European to win the British Open and PGA Championship in the same year and the first European to win consecutive major golf championships
* Becomes the 45th different player to win two or more different majors
* The first Irish player to win the PGA Championship and just the fourth European -- and first since 1930
* Wins his third major in his last six major starts after going winless in his first 36 majors
* Wins his fifth PGA TOUR event and his 14th on the European Tour. -- (9:40 p.m. ET)
CURTIS, WEEKLEY MAKE RYDER CUP: Even though he came up just short at the PGA Championship, Ben Curtis sealed his spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, along with Boo Weekley that will compete against Padraig Harrington and the European team at next month's event in Louisville, Ky.
Curtis, who held the lead going into Sunday's final round before finishing T2 behind Harrington at Oakland Hills, will make his Ryder Cup debut at Valhalla. So will Weekley, who tied for 20th this week after his final-round 66 that matched Harrington's for lowest score in the final round.
The eight automatic qualifiers are now set for U.S. Captain Paul Azinge (in order of points earned): 1. Phil Mickelson; 2. Stewart Cink; 3. Kenny Perry; 4. Jim Furyk; 5. Anthony Kim; 6. Justin Leonard; 7. Ben Curtis; 8. Boo Weekley.
Azinger will complete his 12-member roster with four Captain's selections that he will announce Tuesday, Sept. 2. -- Mike McAllister (9:15 p.m. ET)
ELIAS NOTES: Hot off the presses at Elias Sports Bureau ...
* Padraig Harrington's win can be greatly attributed to his play on the par-3 holes. On the back nine during today's final round, Harrington birdied both of the par 3s, including a spectacular birdie on the 17th hole to pull into the lead for good. Harrington is the third major champion since 1995 to play the par-3 holes on the back nine in the final round of a major 2-under par. Harrington joins Phil Mickelson at the 2004 Masters and Mark O'Meara at the 1998 British Open.
* Harrington had a streak of four straight birdies in the third round today. This ties the longest birdie streak of Harrington's major championship career. In both the 2000 and 2003 British Opens, Harrington was able to put together streaks of this length.
* Sergio Garcia began the final round with a birdie on his first hole followed by an eagle on his second. Since 1991, no player has begun a final round at the PGA Championship in such fashion. The last player to begin a major like this and stand as high, or higher, on the leaderboard heading into the round as Garcia today was Seve Ballesteros at the 1983 Masters, an event Seve went on to win.
* J.B. Holmes began the final in a tie for second place. Unfortunately, Holmes carded a 3-over seven on his first hole of the round. The triple bogey by Holmes on his first hole of play ties him for the second-worst start on the PGA TOUR over the past 25 years by a player entering the final round this high on the leaderboard. The worst on TOUR actually came earlier this season at the Stanford St. Jude Classic, when Marc Turnesa entered the final round in second place and began his round with a 4-over eight on his first hole.
* During the final round, the par-4, 498-yard 18th hole at Oakland Hills played to a 4.661 average. Since 1995, no closing hole at a major has played harder in the final round. The 0.661 above par easily bests the previous hardest over this span of 4.603 at Oakmont during the 2007 U.S. Open.
* Ironically, the 18th today is not the hardest closing hole during a final round on the PGA TOUR this year. That honor goes to the 18th at TPC Sawgrass, which took no prisoners back in May at THE PLAYERS Championship, scoring to a 4.838 average. -- (8:45 p.m. ET)
ROUTE 66: Padraig Harrington's 4-under 66 on Sunday afternoon ties as one of the lowest final rounds in PGA Championship history since the tournament went to stroke play in 1958. And his third-round 66 on Sunday morning also goes down as one of the best third rounds by the winner. -- Mike McAllister (8 p.m. ET)
|Lowest final rounds by PGA Championship winners|
|64 (7 under)||Steve Elkington||1995||Riviera|
|65 (5 under)||David Graham||1979||Oakland Hills|
|65 (6 under)||Jeff Sluman||1988||Oak Tree|
|66 (4 under)||Bob Rosburg||1959||Minneapolis|
|66 (5 under)||John Mahaffey||1978||Oakmont|
|66 (4 under)||Davis Love III||1997||Winged Foot|
|66 (5 under)||Padraig Harrington||2008||Oakland Hills|
|Lowest third rounds by PGA Championship winner|
|64 (7 under)||Bob Tway||1986||Inverness|
|65 (5 under)||David Toms||2001||Atlanta Athl. Club|
|65 (7 under)||Tiger Woods||2006||Medinah|
|66 (4 under)||Dave Stockton||1970||Southern Hills|
|66 (4 under)||Jack Nicklaus||1980||Oak Hill|
|66 (4 under)||Larry Nelson||1981||Atlanta Athl. Club|
|66 (4 under)||Davis Love III||1997||Winged Foot|
|66 (5 under)||Padraig Harrington||2008||Oakland Hills|
HARRINGTON WINS: It's official -- Padraig Harrington will raise the Wanamaker Trophy as the PGA Championship winner, thanks to a pair of 66s today. The Irishman has now won the last two majors, and three of the last six. In addition, he should be in the driver's seat for Player of the Year honors.
Other notes: This is the first time a European player has won the PGA Championship since the tournament began using stroke play in 1958, and the first win overall by a European since the Silver Scot, Tommy Armour, won in 1930 by beating Gene Sarazen 1-up. It's also the first time since 1995 that the PGA winner has not played in the final group. -- Mike McAllister (7:33 p.m. ET)
BARRING A MIRACLE: Padraig Harrington will win his second consecutive major. His 15-foot putt to save par was pure guts. Sergio Garcia will fall short again. His bogey on the last hole puts him two shots back.
Ben Curtis does have the 18th hole to play, but he'll have to hole out on the par-4 18th for eagle to force a tie. -- Mike McAllister (7:21 p.m. ET)
AND NOW IT'S PADDY: Great tee shots by Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia on the par-3 17th, but after Harrington nailed his birdie putt, Garcia flinched. Harrington now leads by one going into their 72nd hole, the most difficult on the course. Ben Curtis is in trouble at the 16th.-- Mike McAllister (7:01 p.m. ET)
THREE-WAY TIE: With Sergio Garcia bogeying after finding the water at the par-3 16th, Padraig Harrington nailing a long, clutch par putt after hitting out of the sand at the same hole, and Ben Curtis with a bogey at 15, we've got a three-way tie for the lead at 2-under.
By the way, there have been 11 playoffs in PGA Championship history since it went to stroke play in 1958. The two this decade? In 2000 when Tiger Woods beat Bob May, and in 2004, when Vijay Singh beat Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco. -- Mike McAllister (6:50 p.m. ET)
FINISHING HOLES: Here's how Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington and Ben Curtis have played the finishing holes at Oakland Hills in the first three rounds. The 18th has been the most difficult hole all week, and the 16th and 17th are ranked in the top six. -- Mike McAllister (6:20 p.m. ET)
|Player||16th hole||17th hole||18th hole|
|Sergio Garcia||par, par, par||par, dbl.bogey, birdie||bogey, par, bogey|
|Padraig Harrington||par, par, birdie||bogey, bogey, par||par, par, bogey|
|Ben Curtis||par, par, par||par, par, par||par, par, bogey|
PLAYOFF INFO: In case of a tie, a three-hole aggregate playoff would begin on the par-4, 406-yard 16th, then go to the par-3, 238-yard 17th, then finish at the par-4, 498-yard 18th. If a tie still remains, then it goes to sudden death starting at the 18th and alternating with the par-4, 462 10th if necessary. -- Mike McAllister (6 p.m. ET)
SLAM TALK: Mark it down -- at 5:54 p.m. ET, CBS' David Feherty just referenced the Grand Slam in case Padraig Harrington wins his second consecutive major.
Of course, it wouldn't be in the same calendar year, so we'd have to come up with a fancy alternative like the Tiger Slam. The Paddy Slam seems fairly obvious, doesn't it? -- Mike McAllister (5:55 p.m. ET)
BUNCHING UP: Padraig Harrington's birdie on the 13th has him tied with Sergio Garcia for the lead. And with Ben Curtis managing birdie on the par-5 12th, he's now within one again.
Harrington, you may recall, went on a four-birdie binge starting on the 13th earlier today in the third round. Another run like that might just result in the Wanamaker Trophy. -- Mike McAllister (5:53 p.m. ET)
CURTIS FALLING BACK: Is the 36-hole day finally catching up to Ben Curtis? He has bogeyed three of the past four holes and is now two shots back of tournament leader Sergio Garcia, who's at 3-under. Curtis, though, still has the par-5 12th to play; Garcia had to settle for par there.
Meanwhile, Padraig Harrington has moved to within a stroke of Garcia. That means you'll be hearing a lot of Carnoustie references in the next couple of hours. -- Mike McAllister (5:45 p.m. ET)
BACK NINE: Here's how the four players at the top of the leaderboard have played the back nine this week. -- Mike McAllister (5:34 p.m. ET)
|Player||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Rd. 3||Total|
|Sergio Garcia||Even||3 over||1 over||4 over|
|Ben Curtis||2 under||2 under||Even||4 under|
|Padraig Harrington||2 over||1 over||3 under||Even|
|Henrik Stenson||2 under||2 over||Even||Even|
JACOBSON ACES 13TH: Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson isn't in the hunt, but he did just ace the 193-yard 13th with a 4-iron. It's the first ace this week and the 37th at the PGA Championship since 1970 when that information became available (chart below). It's also the 20th ace on the PGA TOUR this year. -- Mike McAllister (4:50 p.m. ET)
|Holes-in-one at PGA Championship since 1970|
|1977||Tom Nieporte, Bob Zender||Pebble Beach|
|1979||Frank Connor, Ron Streck||Oakland Hills|
|1981||Bob Eastwood||Atlanta Athl. Club|
|1982||Woody Blackburn, Peter Oosterhuis||Southern Hills|
|1985||Donnie Hammond||Cherry Hills|
|1987||Bob Lohr||PGA National|
|1988||Paul Azinger, David Edwards, Raymond Floyd, Gene Sauers||Oak Tree|
|1989||Davis Love III, Scott Hoch, Mark O'Meara, Lanny Wadkins||Kemper Lakes|
|1995||Lee Janzen, Fuzzy Zoeller||Riviera|
|1996||George Bowman, Steve Lowery, Vijay Singh||Valhalla|
|1997||Ernie Els||Winged Foot|
|2001||Nick Faldo, Scott Hoch, David Toms||Atlanta Athl. Club|
|2003||Robert Allenby||Oak Hill|
|2004||Hale Irwin, Robert Gamez||Whistling Straits|
|2005||Charles Howell III||Baltusrol|
|2008||Fredrik Jacobson||Oakland Hills|
FOUR-MAN RACE?: It's looking more and more that the PGA Championship will come down to one of four players -- Ben Curtis (currently 4 under), Sergio Garcia (3 under), Henrik Stenson (2 under) and Padraig Harrington (even par). All four players should be used to handling the breezy and wet conditions that have the PGA Championship into the British Open Lite.
Harrington has won the last two Open Championships; Curtis won in 2003, Garcia has six top-10 finishes at that event; and Stenson finished T3 at Royal Birkdale last month. -- Mike McAllister (4:25 p.m.)
HOLMES UPDATE: J.B. Holmes was just one stroke off the lead when he started the final round, but his chance of winning has evaporated. After starting with triple-bogey 7 on the opening hole, he then bogeyed three of the next four holes before claiming a stroke back. He currently stands at 4 over, eight shots behind leader Ben Curtis, who just birdied the short par-4 sixth hole to move to 4 under.
Holmes needs to pull it back together if he wants a shot at the Ryder Cup. He entered the PGA Championship 16h in Ryder Cup points and may hope to depend on one of U.S. Captain Paul Azinger's four captain's picks. -- Mike McAllister (4:15 p.m. ET)
GARCIA TIES FOR LEAD: Thanks to a birdie at the short par-4 sixth, Sergio Garcia has finally caught Ben Curtis for a share of the lead at 3 under. Henrik Stenson is the only other player under par at 1 under.
Garcia, at 4 under for his round, leads the list of 17 players (out of the 73 who made the cut) currently under par for the final rounds.
Stiff winds and rainy conditions are whipping through Oakland Hills, but so far the lightning and harsh conditions have stayed away. -- Mike McAllister (3:55 p.m. ET)
7-8-9: As the leaders come to the final three holes on the front side, they will try to do something nobody else before them has done in the final round -- record a birdie.
After a quick check of the course stats, here are how the first few groups to go through there have done (note that since groups went off on both the first and 10th tees in the final round, those players on the second-half of the leaderboard have yet to play the holes). -- Mike McAllister (3:45 p.m.)
MICKELSON UPDATE: Thanks to his fine start when he reeled off three consecutive birdies through hole Nos. 2-4, Phil Mickelson appears headed for another top-10 finish at the PGA Championship. Currently at 1 over, Mickelson has just five players ahead of him on the leaderboard.
Here are the number of top-10 finishes in majors during Mickelson's career. -- T.J. Auclair (3:25 p.m. ET)
|Mickelson's top 10s in majors|
|Major||No. of top 10s||Year of wins|
SEALING THE DEAL: Will 54-hole leader Ben Curtis be able to hang on to win the second major of his career? Since the PGA Championship went to stroke play in 1958, more than half of the third-round leaders (29, to be exact) went on to win the Wanamaker Trophy. Here's the list. -- Stewart Moore (3 p.m. ET)
|54-Hole Leaders to win the PGA Championship (since 1958)|
|Year||Player||54-hole standing||Winning margin|
|2007||Tiger Woods||3 over Ames||Won by 2 over Austin|
|2006||Tiger Woods||Tied w/ Donald||Won by 5 over Micheel|
|2005||Phil Mickelson||Tied w/ Love III||Won by 1 over Elkington, Bjorn|
|2004||Vijay Singh||1 over Leonard||Won in playoff over Leonard, DiMarco|
|2003||Shaun Micheel||Tied w/ Campbell||Won by 2 over Campbell|
|2001||David Toms||2 over Mickelson||Won by 1 over Mickelson|
|2000||Tiger Woods||1 over Dunlap, May||Won in playoff over May|
|1999||Tiger Woods||Tied w/ Weir||Won by 1 over Garcia|
|1998||Vijay Singh||Tied w/ Stricker||Won by 2 over Stricker|
|1997||Davis Love III||Tied w/ Leonard||Won by 5 over Leonard|
|1994||Nick Price||3 over Haas||Won by 6 over Pavin|
|1991||John Daly||3 over Knox, Stadler||Won by 3 over Lietzke|
|1990||Wayne Grady||2 over Couples, Stewart||Won by 3 over Couples|
|1985||Hubert Green||3 over Trevino||Won by 2 over Trevino|
|1984||Lee Trevino||1 over Wadkins||Won by 4 over Player, Wadkins|
|1983||Hal Sutton||2 over Crenshaw||Won by 1 over Nicklaus|
|1982||Raymond Floyd||5 over Haas, Norman||Won by 3 over Wadkins|
|1981||Larry Nelson||4 over Zoeller||Won by 4 over Zoeller|
|1980||Jack Nicklaus||3 over Hinkle||Won by 7 over Bean|
|1975||Jack Nicklaus||4 over Crampton||Won by 2 over Crampton|
|1974||Lee Trevino||1 over Nicklaus, Cole||Won by 1 over Nicklaus|
|1973||Jack Nicklaus||1 over Rudolph, Iverson||Won by 4 over Crampton|
|1972||Gary Player||1 over Casper||Won by 2 over Aaron, Jamieson|
|1970||Dave Stockton||3 over Floyd||Won by 2 over Murphy, Palmer|
|1969||Raymond Floyd||5 over Player, Greene, Henry||Won by 1 over Player|
|1966||Al Geiberger||4 over Wysong||Won by 4 over Wysong|
|1965||Dave Marr||Tied w/ Aaron||Won by 2 over Casper, Nicklaus|
|1964||Bobby Nichols||1 over Palmer||Won by 3 over Nicklaus, Palmer|
|1962||Gary Player||2 over Bayer, McCallister||Won by 1 over Goalby|
LIONS' DEN: The final round has just gotten underway, but the line of the day already has been uttered.
Just as Ben Curtis struck his approach shot to the first green Sunday, screams and shouts from the gallery of "Go Lions," filled the air.
Curtis, because of his sponsorship deal with NFL Properties, has been wearing apparel with the Detroit Lions logo and colors.
Observed one member of the gallery dryly: "This might be the closest anyone wearing a Lions logo has gotten to a championship in decades."
The man who said it was Bob Curtis, Ben's father, who drove up this morning from suburban Columbus, Ohio, to see if his son, the 54-hole leader, can close out his second major victory. -- Dave Shedloski (2:45 p.m. ET)
HOW QUICKLY IT CHANGES: One hole in, and Ben Curtis now has a three-shot lead, thanks to his birdie on No. 1 and stumbles by both of his playing partners. Henrik Stenson and J.B. Holmes, as noted earlier, both hit wide left off the tee. Holmes was stuck under a maple tree, hit a branch when he tried to pitch out, then took a drop, punched out and eventually finished with a triple bogey. Stenson had to settle for a bogey.
And watch out for Phil Mickelson, who has birdies at Nos. 2 and 3 is now at 2 over, five strokes off the lead. Oh, and Sergio Garcia has a short eagle putt on No. 2. -- Mike McAllister (2:35 p.m. ET)
LEADERS ARE OFF: The final group just teed off on No. 1. Ben Curtis found the fairway; Henrik Stenson and J.B. Holmes hit it left into the rough. Meanwhile, in the group ahead, Sergio Garcia just nailed a short birdie putt on the first hole to move to even par.
It will be key for players to strike on the front nine, which played to more than a stroke lower (35.932) than the back nine (36.986) in the third round.
And for the weather? The clouds look ominous, and there's a 40 percent chance of precipitation. -- Mike McAllister (2:15 p.m.)
WILL PADDY BE NO. 11?: British Open champion Padraig Harrington carded a third-round 66 and vaulted from T26 to T4. The round of 66 is Harrington's career low in the PGA Championship -- a tournament where he has never finished in the top 10 in nine previous starts. Harrington has himself in position to become the 11th player since 1934 to win back-to-back major championships. -- Stewart Moore (2 p.m. ET)
|Consecutive major championship wins since 1934|
|Player||Year(s)||Consecutive major wins||Next major|
|Phil Mickelson||2005-06||PGA, Masters||2006 U.S. Open|
|Tiger Woods||2002||Masters, U.S. Open||2002 British|
|Tiger Woods||2000-01||U.S. Open, British, PGA, Masters||2001 Masters|
|Nick Price||1994||British, PGA||1995 Masters|
|Tom Watson||1982||U.S. Open, British||1982 PGA Champ.|
|Jack Nicklaus||1972||Masters, U.S. Open||1972 British|
|Lee Trevino||1971||U.S. Open, British||1972 Masters|
|Arnold Palmer||1960||Masters, U.S. Open||1960 British|
|Ben Hogan||1953||Masters, U.S. Open, British||1954 Masters|
(lost in playoff)
|Ben Hogan||1951||Masters, U.S. Open||1952 Masters|
|Sam Snead||1949||Masters, PGA||1949 U.S. Open|
FROM THE TOUR STAFF: There were 13 rounds carded in the 60s on Thursday and Friday combined. In the third round alone, played over Saturday and Sunday, there were 10. ...
In 22 career major-championship starts, Ben Curtis has made just 10 of 22 cuts. Three of Curtis' 10 career top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR have come in major championships: British Open -- 2008 (T7), 2007 (T8) and 2003 (1st) ...
Henrik Stenson (solo 3rd) has only one top-10 in 14 prior starts at major championships, a T3 at this year?s British Open. In three prior starts at the PGA Championship, his best finish is a T14 in 2006 ...
The winner of the PGA Championship has come out of the last pairing in the final round each of the last 12 years. Steve Elkington (1995) was the last PGA Championship winner not to play in the final group on Sunday, as he was T5 entering the final round. In 2008, all three major championship winners have played in the final pairing. -- Stewart Moore (1:45 p.m. ET)
CASEY'S RYDER QUEST: Paul Casey is a realist. At 8 over after finishing off a round of 72 on Sunday morning, he knew he was "too far back now" to win the PGA Championship.
There are still Ryder Cup points to be collected, though, and that's foremost on Casey's mind right now. He figured he needs a final-round 65, like the one Andres Romero shot Saturday, to potentially finish in the top 10.
"And that is what I need," Casey said. "Give me a few more points and stick my nose in there -- show the boss I am playing well."
Casey plans to play in the Wyndham Championship next week. The Englishman will then
remain on this side of the pond for the FedExCup playoffs, as well.
Casey currently stands 103rd in the FedExCup standings with more points on the horizon this week and next. So he's a lock for the first two Playoff events, at the very least -- and the second, the Deutsche Bank Championship, is opposite the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, which is the final qualifying event for the European Ryder Cup team.
"I know it is a lovely spot," Casey said. "I have won there twice. But I am going to have to play great golf over here and see what I can do." -- Helen Ross (1:40 p.m. ET)
PREDICTIONS: So how will the final round at Oakland Hills play out? Here's who PGATOUR.COM's writers think will be hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy later today (weather permitting, of course!).
* Helen Ross' pick to win: Padraig Harrington. "He said he's gearing his year toward the majors now, and I think the Dubliner's third-round 66 was an attention-getter -- as much for Harrington, as anyone else. The Champion Golfer of the last two years could make a major statement if he ends the 78-year European drought."
* Dave Shedloski's pick to win: Ben Curtis. "He proved with his British Open win that he can handle elements and pressure. He also might be the best of the three in the final group at making adjustments on the course. One other thing: The winner has come from the final group in the PGA Championship every year since 1996."
* T.J. Auclair's pick to win: Ben Curtis. "Curtis is a fine player and it could be argued that he's one of the most overlooked major champions in recent years. He won the 2003 Open Championship in his first crack at a major. Some might have thought it was a fluke, but there?s nothing fluky about winning a major. He followed it up with two more wins on TOUR."
* Melanie Hauser's pick to win: Padraig Harrington. "He's going to have to beat Ben Curtis to do it, but he shot 4-under this morning and there's something to be said for momentum. Plus, he's been-there, done-that, wants to snap that European streak and wants to be the second player to follow back-to-back Open Championships with a PGA. That first person was, um, Tiger (2005-2006)."
* Mike McAllister's pick to win: Sergio Garcia. "Yes, it's hard to ignore Paddy's 66. But Garcia has two 69s this week and has needed just three more putts than Harrington in the first three rounds -- and that includes Sergio's unfortunate four-putt on the 17th green on Friday. If Garcia can avoid a similar kind of disaster ... Of course, that might be asking too much." -- (12:45 p.m. ET)
FITNESS MATTERS: If this long Sunday boils down to a survival of the fittest, you might not do much better than Sergio Garcia, who will play 35 holes when it's all said and done today.
Not only does he spend four days a week at the gym, usually taking two hours to some cardio and lift weights, but on Saturday when his third round was rained out after just one hole, Garcia headed straight to the fitness trailer. Unfortunately, "it was closed," he said.
Still ... "I like to stay fit, but not only working out, also playing other sports," he said. "That always helps, too."
And as for playing nearly two full rounds today? No problem, Garcia said.
"When I was little, I used to just go," he recalled. "I remember playing 54 holes one day when I was like probably, 10 or 12.
"Obviously, it's a little bit more pressure and that's what can tire you a bit more than anything else. I've just go to stay strong mentally and I'll be fine." -- Mike McAllister (12:40 p.m. ET)
PLAYERS AND MAJORS: If Sergio Garcia wins the 90th PGA Championship, he'll be just the fourth player to win THE PLAYERS Championship and a major in the same year. The others are Jack Nicklaus (1978, won Open Championship), Hal Sutton (1983, won PGA Championship) and Tiger Woods (2001, won Masters). -- Helen Ross (12:39 p.m. ET)
CARNOUSTIE PART II?: Don't look now, but the three primary players at the 2006 Open Championship at Carnoustie are all right there going into the final 18 at Oakland Hills -- Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Andres Romero.
Harrington and Garcia -- the playoff pairing from Carnoustie -- will be paired with Charlie Wi, while Romero will be in the group just ahead of them. Had Wi had not parred the 54th hole, then Romero would have been paired with Harrington and Garcia.
At Carnoustie, Harrington beat Garcia in the playoff and Romero, who had 10 birdies, 2 bogeys and 2 doubles in the final round, finished third. -- Melanie Hauser (12:25 p.m. ET)
UPDATED TEE TIMES: The leaders will go off the first tee at 2:10 p.m. ET. Since final-round pairings will be composed of threesomes going off both tees, that means Ben Curtis, Henrik Stenson and J.B. Holmes will be in the final group off No. 1. The final round will officially begin at 12:20 p.m. ET. -- Mike McAllister (12:12 p.m. ET)
CURTIS WITH THE LEAD: This will be the fourth time in Ben Curtis' PGA TOUR career that he has held the lead after 54 holes. He has won two of the previous three times he held the lead. Note that he didn't hold the third-round lead when he won the 2003 Open Championship. -- Mike McAllister (11:51 a.m. ET)
|Ben Curtis with the 54-hole lead|
|2006||84 Lumber Classic||70||Won|
|2006||Booz Allen Classic||70||Won|
THIRD ROUND COMPLETED ... FINALLY: And Ben Curtis has the lead by himself at 2 under. With a bogey on the 18th hole, J.B. Holmes dropped into a tie for second at 1 under after shooting even-par 70 this morning. Henrik Stenson, who shot 2-under 68, is also at 1 under. Those are the only three players under par. But watch out for the group at 1 over -- it includes Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Charlie Wi. -- Mike McAllister (11:45 a.m. ET)
CURTIS DONE: Ben Curtis just finished his round of 2-under 68 with a bogey at the par-4 18th. That drops him to 2 under for the tournament and into a tie with J. B. Holmes, who is playing the last hole. Curtis is assured of playing in the final group of the final round and will tee off at 2:20 p.m. ET. -- Mike McAllister (11:33 a.m. ET)
PLAYING 36: With current tournament leader Ben Curtis, second-round leader J.B. Holmes and four other players about to finish their first 18 holes Sunday, the task would seem difficult to go back out for another 18 holes this afternoon -- with less than an hour's rest in between -- and try to win a major championship.
But Paul Casey thinks the second-round leaders, who never played a single shot on Saturday due to the thunderstorms that halted play at 2:16 p.m., might have caught a break. Currently, Curtis leads the tournament at 3 under as he plays his final round, while Holmes is 2 under with two holes left. Henrik Stenson just finished as the clubhouse leader at 1-under thanks to his 2-under 68.
"I think the leaders, although they had a day sitting around, the course is in wonderful shape now," said Casey, who is at 8 over going into the final round. "Well-struck iron shots hold the green and you were struggling to do that yesterday. There's no reason why the guys out in front now can't shoot some decent numbers." -- Mike McAllister (11:25 a.m. ET)
68, THEN SLEEP: Graeme McDowell had finished off his round of 68 -- his first sub-par score since he won the Barclays Scottish Open -- by 8 a.m. Sunday. He hit seven shots, made bogey on the 17th and par on No. 18 ... and then the Northern Irishman planned to do the only sane thing he could think of on this grueling championship Sunday.
Go back to bed.
"Get up, change clothes and warm up as if it is a new day," said McDowell, who is 4 over for the tournament. "The leaders will have a tough day today with 36 holes in tough conditions and the wind it up again. The course is going to be playing substantially longer.
"It is a mental marathon for them today, and I am happy that I will have a chance to rest up. I know I will need something low now ? maybe a 65. The greens were cut and rolled again, and the course is in unbelievable condition." -- Helen Ross (11 a.m. ET)
PADDY MOVES UP: Thanks to his third-round 4-under 66 that he finished on Sunday morning, Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington will be in prime position to make a run at his second straight major. He'll start the final round at 1-over for the tournament and should be among one of the last groups to go out.
"I'm four behind at the moment and I would take that, as long as there are not 20 guys between me and 3 under," Harrington said. "You don't know what is going to happen in the afternoon. I caught six up in the Open in 2007 and as long as there are not too many bodies ahead of you, you can make up quite a big amount in the last round of a major."
Despite shooting the second-lowest round of the tournament next to Andres Romero' 65 on Saturday, Harrington's round ended on a disappointing note when he bogeyed his final hole after a poor bunker shot.
Still, four consecutive birdies from holes 13-16 left him with some confidence, especially on the green.
"I holed some putts in that run, which was nice to see happening and get some feeling on the greens," he said.
And as far as the conditions at Oakland Hills?
"They are a lot easier, the greens are soft," Harrington said. 'Even though the ball is not traveling as it is cold, when you are in position you can fire at all the pins. They were reasonably easy and with soft greens, they are accessible." -- Mike McAllister (10:45 a.m. ET)
WEATHER OUTLOOK: Are you ready for some more rain? The latest weather forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of precipitation this afternoon, thanks to an upper-level low northeast of Bloomfield Township.
Here's the outlook for the afternoon:
2 p.m. ET -- Partly cloudy with scattered rain showers and possibly an isolated thunderstorm. Winds from the northwest at 12-18 mph, gusting to 20-25 mph. Chance of precipitation: 40 percent.
6 p.m. ET -- Partly cloudy with scattered rain showers and possibly an isolated thunderstorm. Winds from the northwest at 12-18 mph, gusting to 20-25 mph. Chance of precipitation: 40 percent.
And if the tournament has to extend into Monday? It'll be partly to mostly sunny. -- Mike McAllister (10:30 a.m. ET)