The U.S. golf publications posted the best of their Open coverage much faster than usual.
John Hawkins, with this fun anecdote in his Golf World game story:
"When we first started working together, he said, 'Everything has always come hard for me,' " said sports psychologist Bob Rotella, whom Harrington has been seeing for five years. "Then on the putting green [between the end of regulation and the playoff], he reminded me. He said, 'See? I told you. Nothing comes easy for me.' "
Brett Avery's stat package (PDF file) is now posted and though I prefer to savor this in print, I snuck a peak at his "Cool Stat" and "Fast Facts" and thought this probably explained why the bookies had Padraig at a surprisingly high 24-to-1:
Padraig Harrington had missed the cut in seven of his last 11 starts in major championships.
There is also an interesting chart of recent World Ranking positions of major winners. Though Avery didn't include an average for each major and I think I know why: Ben Curtis's win from the 396th spot severely skews the numbers.
Jaime Diaz not surprisingly refuses to do a standard goodbye to Seve piece, and instead juxtaposes the young Seve with the young Sergio.
Ballesteros -- sometimes petty in his battles with the PGA and European tours, often arrogant in his bearing -- has somehow always possessed dignity, all the more because he has suffered. It was the enduring image of his farewell British Open performance last year at Hoylake. Battling his way to scores of 74-77, Ballesteros' uncomplaining intensity in the face of overwhelming obstacles, as his 16-year-old son, Baldomero, carried his bag, was a father's stoic lesson in character.
Garcia, 27, who is winless on any tour since 2005, is now learning in earnest all about the suffering the game can impose, and his dignity is in development. The two men certainly possess some things in common. Both were prodigies. Both have wonderful artistry and flair.
Tim Rosaforte takes time away from this television work to pen a nice summary of No. 18's various antics.
Bill Fields pens another of his enjoyable essays, though I stopped reading after page one because as with the stat foldout, I prefer to read this in print. Still, this note about Ernie Els's wife Liezl caught my eye.
He drove poorly at the second but recovered to save par. Routine pars at Nos. 4 and 5 were followed by a birdie at the par-5 sixth. Recording every shot was Els' wife, Liezl, who I first noticed by the fourth green. Most partners are constant presences watching their men play golf, but Liezl does more than watch. A tall, sandy-haired woman who married Ernie in 1998, she has been plotting the details of Ernie's major-championship rounds since the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla CC in Louisville.
Using a mechanical pencil on a 5-by-8-inch notebook, she records every shot played by her husband and his fellow competitors on diagrams of the holes that she has sketched earlier.
Liezl got the idea from the British artist Harold Riley when Els and Nick Faldo were playing a match at Leopard Creek in South Africa in the mid-1990s. "He told us -- it was Brenna [Cepelak] and me -- that it would be a fun job for us to record every round they played," Liezl explained.
Did Harold also suggest that Brenna try taking a 9-iron to Nick's Porsche? Pathetic, I know, but it was just there...
"I knew I couldn't do it every tournament, so I decided to do it at the majors. It's still quite a stack, spread over three houses. I'm trying to get them all in one place."
She downplayed her efforts -- "Harold's work is beautiful; mine is just a record," she said -- and volunteered that Ernie never looks at the notebooks. When I suggested they might fetch a nice sum for a favorite charity some day, she said she would keep the archive in the family. "It's a keepsake, something I'll pass on to my children [Samantha, 8, and Ben, 4]. I'm a little worried about them fading away, since they're in pencil, but somebody told me there is something I can spray on them to preserve them."
King of the obvious, master of the cliche, spinner of swing jargon — Jed Clampett would be better.