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Harrington makes it 2 majors in a row

Padraig Harrington celebrates with a fist pump after making par on 18 to secure the two-shot win.

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Padraig Harrington celebrates with a fist pump after making par on 18 to secure the two-shot win.

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Padraig Harrington isn't interested in sentimental story lines that keep popping up at the majors. He's too busy winning them and writing his name into the history books.

First came the British Open, where he ended a fairy tale for Greg Norman with 32 on the back nine of Royal Birkdale. Then came the PGA Championship, where even Harrington could sense destiny on the side of Sergio Garcia.

It turned out to be a familiar story Sunday — and for Garcia, a familiar finish.

Three shots behind at the turn, Harrington again shot 32 on the back nine thanks to three putts that major champions make — a 12-footer for par on 16 to tie, a 10-footer at 17 to take the lead and a 15-foot par putt at the end that set off another celebration.

Harrington shot 4-under 66 at Oakland Hills for a two-stroke victory at 3-under 277 over Garcia and Ben Curtis to become only the fourth player to win the British Open and the PGA Championship in the same year.

He became the first European in the modern era to win the British Open and PGA Championship in succession and the first to win the PGA since Tommy Armour in 1930.

"I obviously hold a lot of European players who I grew up watching in high esteem," said Harrington, 36. "To believe that I achieved something they hadn't is very special."

Meanwhile, Garcia ran his record to 0-38 in majors, right when the Spaniard, 28, felt it was all coming together. He had a one-shot lead and was in the middle of the 16th fairway when he hit into the water and had to scramble for bogey. Then he missed a 4-foot birdie on the 17th to match Harrington. And he could only watch as Harrington knocked in a par on the last.

"That's the way it goes," said Garcia (68), bogeying two of the final three holes but putting on a brave face. "You know, the good thing about it is I feel good out there. I felt like I played good. I definitely feel like I played well enough to win. But unfortunately, it didn't happen. So that's pretty much all I can ask myself to do."

And the loss left Garcia in familiar territory: He finished second to Harrington in a playoff at last year's British Open.

Harrington talked about going to another level after winning the British Open, and he now has won three of the past six majors, accumulating them at a rate only Tiger Woods can appreciate during the past 25 years.

"That's Tiger-like, right there," Curtis said.

And Harrington often kept his cool, rarely showing emotion over key putts until the final one dropped.

Harrington pumped his fist twice, then a third time for effect.

Moments later, after Curtis failed to hole his shot from the fairway, Harrington was holding son Patrick by his heels in a family moment and hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy for another major victory.

Curtis bogeyed two of the final four holes for 71 but came away with a big consolation. His tie for second was enough to move him up to No. 7 in the U.S. standings and qualify for the Ryder Cup.

"It's almost a victory in itself," Curtis said.

Garcia moved to No. 3 in the European standings and sewed up a spot on his fifth straight team.

Harrington wasn't even in the picture Sunday morning when players returned to resume the weather-delayed third round, some of them playing 36 holes. He was 4 over after nine holes, then ran off four straight birdies on the back nine for 66 to get into contention going into the final 18.

With another major at stake under gloomy skies, Harrington simply shined.

After a slow start to the tournament, Harrington said Friday that he had lost focus and was suffering from what he described as a lingering emotional "hangover" from his British Open triumph.

"This was a different win than Birkdale," Harrington said Sunday. "I was very comfortable with my game there. Here that wasn't the case. I wasn't happy with the way I was swinging. Something had me a little off. Once I holed a few putts, it was a question of adrenaline keeping me focused, keeping me pushing ahead."

>>Fast facts

Ryder Cup

The 37th United States vs. Europe matches are scheduled for Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. U.S. captain Paul Azinger will complete his 12-member team with four picks Sept. 2. Eight automatic berths were secured Sunday:

1. Phil Mickelson

2. Stewart Cink

3. Kenny Perry

4. Jim Furyk

5 Anthony Kim

6. Justin Leonard

7. Ben Curtis

8. Boo Weekley

Doubling up

Padraig Harrington joined an elite group of players who have won the British Open and PGA Championship in the same year:

Tiger Woods — 2000, 2006

Nick Price — 1994

Walter Hagen — 1924

European majors

Golf's four majors and the last European to win:

Masters: Jose M. Olazabal (Spain), 1999

U.S. Open: Tony Jacklin (England), 1970

British: Harrington (Ireland), 2008

PGA: Harrington (Ireland), 2008

Winner-winner

Consecutive major winners in the past 25 years:

2008: Harrington (British Open, PGA Championship)

2006: Woods (British, PGA)

2005-06: Mickelson

(PGA, Masters)

2002: Woods

(Masters, U.S. Open)

2000-01: Woods (U.S.,

British, PGA, Masters)

1994: Nick Price (British, PGA)

Harrington makes it 2 majors in a row 08/11/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 11:10am]

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