(AP) — Kenny Egan, a light heavyweight boxer from Ireland who advanced to the medal round Tuesday at the Olympics, was trying to figure out how to peak for the biggest events. He went to the right guy for help.
Padraig Harrington has won only three times in the past 13 months, all of them major championships.
“He came to my house and basically was talking about how to peak, how to go to a big-time event and produce your best performance,” Harrington said Tuesday at The Barclays. “He was obviously a very talented competitor himself and knew what to do, but was feeling that he was slightly underachieving at the big events.”
Harrington said he mostly told Egan to concentrate on his own performance. He also gave him a few sports psychology books to read, similar to what he did when he was beginning his golf career.
“The only way to learn experience without actually going through it yourself is learn from somebody else,” Harrington said. “Kenny was not afraid to ask a couple of people to make the contact with me. And I love to talk, so I was more than obliging.”
Harrington, however, said he won’t take any credit for Egan no matter what happens in his next fight against Tony Jeffries of Britain, with the winner advancing to the gold medal round.
The three-time major champion said he also spoke to the Dublin soccer team a few years ago.
“The following day, they went out and lost to Carlow, which is one of the favorite teams losing to one of the lower-down teams, so it was a bit of an upset,” Harrington said. “I wouldn’t say I have a 100 percent record in these things. But it is great to see Kenny doing so well.”
RYDER CUP RACE: The race for the Ryder Cup team is complex in Europe, which has two weeks remaining for five players to earn a spot from the world points list, then five more from a money list.
Playing well should take care of everything, but there are a lot of moving parts.
Ian Poulter has elected to play in The Barclays on the PGA Tour, where he likely would need to finish third to move into the top five on the world points list. If he succeeds, that might knock Justin Rose down one spot to No. 4 on the money list, with four players in close range behind Rose.
Carl Pettersson, meanwhile, remains a long shot even after winning the Wyndham Championship.
He moved up to No. 13 on the world points list, but with only two weeks remaining, he would have to finish first and third at The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship to earn his way onto the team.
“Hopefully, I can make the team if I can play well here this week and next week,” Pettersson said. “I’d like to make the team outright. I still think I need to play well this week and next week to get a pick. I would like to qualify on my own terms.”
Paul Casey, meanwhile, earned a meager 1.47 points by tying for 26th at the Wyndham Championship. Casey is in 18th place and most likely would need to win and be runner-up in his next two starts.
MONEY TITLE: British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington would love to win the FedEx Cup, but perhaps a bigger goal might not be realized until the end of October.
Harrington has a chance to become the first player to win the money title on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Irishman is leading the Order of Merit on the European tour by about $750,000 over Lee Westwood, and Harrington trails Tiger Woods by just under $1.5 million on the PGA Tour money list. Woods is done for the rest of the season. Harrington, Phil Mickelson and Kenny Perry are within about $280,000 of each other with four $7 million events still to play.
“I’ve done it in Europe, and it would be very nice to do it in the States,” said Harrington, who won the Order of Merit in 2006.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULES: Ernie Els and Adam Scott have played only 12 times on the PGA Tour, meaning they will have to play in three playoff events to reach the minimum 15 starts and retain their membership.
It should be no problem because Scott is No. 24 and Els is No. 28 in the FedEx Cup standings, and all they have to do is make the cut at either The Barclays or the Deutsche Bank Championship. But if they miss the cut in both events, there’s a chance they’ll be eliminated before the BMW Championship in St. Louis.
The other top player with only 12 starts is Padraig Harrington, although he gets to count the Ryder Cup toward his 15.
Lee Westwood has played 10 times and did not enter The Barclays as the 50th seed. Westwood, however, played this year as a past PGA Tour champion with no intention of taking up membership. He has played only two regular tour events — Riviera and Bay Hill — with the rest coming from the four majors, three World Golf Championships and The Players Championship.
OLYMPIC TRIP: Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson and PGA Tour executive vice president Ty Votaw, who is heading up golf’s bid to be an Olympic sport, spent the weekend in Beijing meeting with IOC officials and trying to establish a presence. Also in Beijing was USGA executive David Fay, as a guest of NBC Sports.
There will be much lobbying over the next year before the IOC votes on the program for the 2016 games. And there continues to be discussion among the players, with a variety of opinions.
Davis Love III noted potential problems with a crammed summer schedule, floated the idea of amateurs competing in the Olympics then shot down the notion before it got airborne.
“Is that what the Olympics wants? No,” Love said last week. “They want Greg Normans and Fred Couples and Tiger Woods. They don’t want guys you’ve never heard of.”
Vijay Singh argued for golf in the Olympics by measuring it against another sport.
“They have horses in the Olympics,” he said. “It’s supposed to be a human sport, yet there’s equestrians going on there. I think golf would be a great thing for the Olympics.”
DIVOTS: Padraig Harrington had a 71.18 scoring average in the majors, the lowest by nearly a full stroke among the 11 who made the cut in all four. Robert Karlsson was second (72.06), followed by Phil Mickelson (72.13). … This is the first regular PGA Tour event in New Jersey since the 1970 Dow Open. … Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh are the only players to be among the top 10 at the start of the PGA Tour playoffs for two years in a row. … Paul Azinger finished ahead of Nick Faldo both times the PGA Championship was held at Valhalla.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Jerry Kelly was the only player to miss the cut in all four majors this year.
FINAL WORD: “When I do get focused, I do hole putts.” — Padraig Harrington.