Did Stopwatch Cost Paddy A World Golf Event Title?

I don’t think it exactly lost the tournament for him, but it certainly didn’t help:

http://msn.foxsports.com/golf/story/9914722/Tiger-angry-over-final-pairing-being-timed

I can’t exactly agree with Tiger here, though.  It is the rule, and they were lagging behind the other groups despite no one having any exceptionally bad holes or needing any rulings until Harrington on 16.  Then again, I hate that rule, or at least a rule enforced that closely.  These guys are playing for an awful lot of money and they should be allowed some leeway to carefully ponder their shots.  If they want the event to be over by 6pm for the convenience of CBS maybe the final pairing should tee off at 1:45 and not 2pm.

As for the tournament itself, the story was the weekend play of Tiger Woods.  After Friday he was a bit back in the pack, but going 65-65 over the weekend is an excellent way to climb the leaderboard, especially on a course as demanding as the South course at Firestone in Akron.  He surged going -4 in his first 5 holes today while Harrington hung in there by posting all pars save a birdie on #11 while Tiger struggled a bit early in the back 9.  Obviously the pivotal hole was the par 5 16th which Tiger birdied and Harrington triple-bogeyed.  Its hard to build a snowman in 90 degree heat but the Irishman managed the feat with the assistance of the pond in front of the green.  From there it was a victory lap for Tiger.  We’ll see if Tiger’s win and Paddy’s first Top 10 finish on the PGA Tour in 2009 give either of them momentum heading to Hazeltine and the PGA next weekend.

A random thought I had is that if Tiger could win 4 of the 5 majors through next year’s PGA he would tie Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles with his first chance to break the mark being the 2011 Masters on the 25th anniversary of Nicklaus’ stunning victory at Augusta in 1986.  For what that is worth.

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