SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — Padraig Harrington spent two days fighting to get back to even par at the PGA Championship, hopeful of having the weekend to state his case for making the Ryder Cup team.
It all fell apart in one hole at the end.
From the middle of the 18th fairway, Harrington chunked a hybrid 4-iron into a water hazard that shouldn’t even come into play, making a double bogey to miss the cut at Whistling Straits.
Harrington, who only two years ago became the first European with successive majors in the same season, headed home after missing the cut in a major for the third time this year.
The Irishman has no tournaments left to earn points toward making the Ryder Cup team, and must rely on Colin Montgomerie taking him as a captain’s pick in a year in which Europe has no shortage of candidates.
“There are Ryder Cup implications,” Harrington said. “I hope Monty is a guy who looks through things and sees stats – 16 top 10s in the last year is going to be a lot of comfort. I’m sure he needs some experience in that team and some older guys. I have done everything I can now, and there is nothing more I can do.
“My majors have been poor this year, but everything else has been good.”
Harrington has emerged as the most accomplished European of his generation, winning an Order of Merit and three majors. But his last victory on a sanctioned tour was the PGA Championship two years ago.
Winning has been replaced by consistency.
But there was nothing consistent about the way Harrington played the opening two rounds of the final major.
He shot 75 the first day and was in immediate danger of missing the cut, only to battle back Friday evening in the fog-delayed tournament with four birdies in a five-hole stretch getting back to even par when it was too dark to continue.
“When I got it back to level par, I was thinking about winning the tournament,” he said. “Today I came out a little tentative, like on Thursday. All of a sudden, I dropped a shot and then I am hanging in there.”
He was still in good shape after a birdie on the par-5 16th to get back to even par. And he successfully navigated the punishing 17th hole along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, then the tee shot on the 18th.
With the wind in his face for the first all week on the closing hole, Harrington wasn’t sure where to go.
“It is a strange one,” he said. “I couldn’t go for the flag and was going for the middle of the green, and just got distracted over it and hit it fat. Didn’t even cross my mind, the water short. Anywhere else would have been safe.”
He took his drop in the rough, chopped onto the green and missed a 10-foot putt for an early end to his championship.
“The real issue for me is that I should have been 4 or 5 under coming down the last,” he said. “I left shots out there the first day, and certainly left a lot out there today. As much as it is very disappointing to double the last, I have hit the ball well enough to be in contention here. It is just one of those things.”
It’s actually three of those things.
He missed the cut at the Masters. He missed the cut at the British Open. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship. And when he did make it to weekend at the U.S. Open, he never broke par and tied for 22nd.
Harrington next plays at The Barclays in two weeks to start the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour. Because it ends later than the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on the European Tour, it will not count toward the Ryder Cup standings.
He would have needed at least seventh place to have any chance of making the team on his own through the world points. Harrington said he had no plans to alter his schedule to add one more tournament to try to earn a spot.
“At the end of the day, I have to be competitive and stick to my schedule,” Harrington said. “The Ryder Cup does come first and I want to play well in The Ryder Cup. And that means if I get picked, I will be ready to play. That would be my attitude. There is no point playing the next two weeks and burning myself out.”