Ruthless Padraig Harrington decked late-fading Sergio Garcia again, winning the PGA Championship for his second straight major

Garcia was still clinging to his one-stroke lead when his approach at the 15th appeared to hit the cup on the fly, only to skitter 15 feet away. From his look of disbelief Garcia seemed convinced the golf gods were conspiring against him again. He put an ugly stroke on the birdie attempt, and on the par-4 16th he fired at a sucker pin cut hard against a pond, pushing his approach into the water. It was a shocking mistake and, according to a ruthless Harrington, "the opportunity I was looking for." Garcia made bogey, and Harrington willed into the hole a curling 20-footer for par. Tie game.

At the brutal par-3 17th Harrington hit a superb shot to 10 feet, but Garcia's response was even better, leaving him a 4 1/2-footer. Said Harrington, "I knew if I holed this, I probably would win the PGA. If I missed, Sergio would probably win the PGA. So it was down to that. And I hit a lovely putt."

Garcia's answer wasn't an awful stroke, but the ball grazed off the cup on the high side. Harrington had his first outright lead. On the 491-yard par-4 18th he drove into a bunker, fatted a shot into the rough, then played a clutch seven-iron to 15 feet. The decisive par putt was never anything but good.

In the locker room Paul Azinger was among a handful of players gathered in front of a TV watching the drama unfold. Next month he will captain the underdog U.S. Ryder Cup team against a European squad for which Harrington will be the leader and Garcia the leading irritant.

"How about those putts Padraig made?" Azinger said. "Man, he's a tough son-of-a-gun."

How about that putt Garcia missed at 17? "Same old, same old," said Zinger.

While Garcia's tortured quest to win his first major continues, Harrington has now snagged three in the last 13 months. He has no weaknesses in his game or his psyche, and there is no reason to think he won't someday add a U.S. Open and a Masters to his resume. Of course first he gets to celebrate this historic win, as he became the first European to win the PGA since Tommy Armour in 1930.

On Sunday night the party had already begun back home. Behind the 18th green Harrington's caddie and brother-in-law, Ronan Flood, was working two cellphones. What was the word back in Ireland? "They're running out of whiskey!" said Flood.

Harrington is a self-described teetotaler; his only addiction is working on his game. He and his wife, Caroline, have two boys: Ciaran, not yet a year old, and Patrick, 5, named for Padraig's late father, who along with nine other strong-backed cops built with shovels the Stackston Golf Course in Dublin, a short, tight track where Padraig honed his game. Last summer the Harringtons took a family trip to Disneyland. "It was the first time in me life I went a week without touching a golf club," says Padraig.

His fastidiousness extends beyond the golf course. On Sunday evening, while a gent in white gloves positioned the Wannamaker Trophy on the 18th green, Harrington was hunched over outside the scorer's hut. In his hand was a crumpled piece of paper on which he was making notes for his victory speech. Even after so much success, this would-be accountant leaves nothing to chance.

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