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Pádraig Harrington shows that practice rounds don’t always make perfect

Séamus Power still working on fitness ahead of PGA Tour return; Adam Long drives for show with perfect return

No standing still for Pádraig Harrington, even if the days of yore when he spent hours upon hours playing practice rounds and even more on the range have been replaced these days by a more leisurely and measured approach to tournaments.

Harrington this week heads into the defence of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship – the season-ending tournament on the Champions Tour, limited to just 36 players. He does so on the back of a dominant win in the TimberTech Championship and although he is unable to catch Steve Stricker in the order of merit he will look to take the momentum with him in his quest for a third win of the season.

Of his more relaxed preparation these days, Harrington – speaking to the Palm Beach Post newspaper – remarked: “When I was a kid, I would have come out and played 54 holes of practice and hit every putt, every chip. This is the Champions Tour. I can’t keep up that pace. You can’t do the work you do as a kid. I can’t go out there and roll putts on every green and do all that. My brain would be fried by the end of the week.”

As he showed in Boca Raton, where he closed with a 64 and had seven strokes to spare over Charlie Wi and Bernhard Langer, Harrington’s competitiveness – sharpened by playing on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour for much of the summer in preference to the seniors circuit – remains as hungry as ever and he still has a chance to catch Langer for number two behind Stricker on the Champions Tour order of merit at the season-ending event in Phoenix, Arizona.


Darren Clarke, who is 21st on the standings, has also made it to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Power still recharging from hip injury

Unfortunately, Séamus Power is not in the field to defend his title at this week’s Bermuda Championship on the PGA Tour as the Waterford player – out of action since August with a hip injury – continues to fight his way back to fitness.

Power secured his second career PGA Tour win with victory in Bermuda a year ago and reached a career best 28th in the official world rankings by year’s end.

However, The K Club attached touring professional was forced to withdraw from the Genesis Scottish Open due to the hip injury in July, subsequently missed the cut at the Open in Hoylake and only played twice thereafter, in the St Jude Classic and the BMW Championship in the FedEx Cup playoffs, before taking time away to deal with the injury.

Power’s lack of any playing schedule in recent months has seen him drop to 69th in the latest world rankings.

On the LPGA Tour, both Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow are in the field for this week’s The Annika championship, the penultimate event on the schedule ahead of next week’s CME Tour Championship. Meadow is currently 69th on the CME Group season’s standings and needs to break into the top-60 if she is to make it to the limited field finale next week.

By the Numbers: 56/56

Adam Long hit 56 of 56 fairways at the World Wide Technology Championship, the first player to record a 100 per cent driving accuracy at a PGA Tour event since Brian Claar at the 1992 Memorial tournament. As if to underline that old adage of driving for show and putting for dough, Long’s impressive accuracy wasn’t matched elsewhere as he finished tied-23rd, 10 shots behind the winner Erik van Rooyen.

Word of Mouth

“I don’t feel [any] big difference between Japan LPGA victory and [a] USA victory” – Mone Inami following her win in the Toto Japan Classic in Taihelyo, a win which gave her the option to take up full membership on the LPGA Tour which she declined to do.

On this day: November 7th, 1993

Betsy King’s win in the Toray Japan Queens Cup at Lions Country Club – where she finished a shot clear of Jane Geddes – was notable on a number of fronts. Her success (the 29th of her career on the LPGA Tour) earned her a pay-day of $97,000 that brought her season’s winnings to $595,992, the first player to break through the half-million mark in earnings in a single season.

Rounds of 68-70-67 for a total of 11-under-par 205 in Hyogo gave King victory in the LPGA Tour’s season-ending tournament, which confirmed her status as number one on the order of merit, brought her player of the year honours and also secured her the Vare Trophy for stroke average through the season.

Within days, King’s life found a different perspective. After flying back home to Arizona, literally to repack, King and a number of fellow LPGA Tour players travelled with a charity called Alternative Ministries to Romania to work with an orphan-relief group in Bucharest where they spent a week in the Romanian capital.

X-Twitter Twaddle

South Africa bound for the @AfricasMajor. Long trip upcoming but excited to play some #golf outside of the US and experience some new things. I know they’ve got lots of lions over there. Here’s hoping they haven’t scared away the birdies – Max Homa, who is playing in the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City on the DP World Tour this week. Tom McKibbin is the lone Irish golfer in the field.

My Q school journey in Spain didn’t unfold as I had envisioned. I just didn’t play well enough lately. It’s a hard one to swallow, but it’s on me. A battle was lost but certainly not the war. #golf #tourlife #onwardandupward #mywayback – Joel Stalter on the anguish of missing out on advancing from stage two to the European Tour Qualifying School Final.

For my best friend, Jon – Erik van Rooyen dedicating his World Wide Technology Championship win to his friend and former college team-mate, Jon Trasamar, who had texted him before the tournament telling him he had about six weeks to live due to stage four melanoma.

In the Bag: Erik van Rooyen (World Wide Technology Championship)

Driver: Callaway Paradym (9 degrees)

Hybrid: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (18 degrees), Callaway Apex (4), Callaway Apex MB (5-PW)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (50, 54 and 58 degrees)

Putter: Toulon Design San Diego

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

Know the Rules

Q: After hitting his tee shot into the rough and close to a bush, Player A discovers that his ball is located near to a nest of bees which are uncomfortably close and he is fearful of being stung should he take a stance to play his ball. Is he entitled to free relief?

A: In this situation, the player is entitled to relief under Rule 16.2b dealing with a “dangerous animal condition” which specifically mentions “venomous snakes, stinging bees, alligators, fire ants or bears” near a ball. A player may take relief under rule from interference by a dangerous animal condition no matter where their ball is on the course.