Originally created 03/16/05

Golf: Harrington happy with victory



Padraig Harrington didn't mind admitting that he had some help from Vijay Singh in winning The Honda Classic last week.

Singh, the No. 2-ranked player in the world and winner of 25 PGA Tour events, missed a 3-foot putt for par on the second playoff hole at the Mirasol Club Sunrise Course, after Harrington made a 6-footer for par.

It gave Harrington his first Tour victory after three second-place finishes (two in The Players Championship) and, more importantly, didn't add to his record of 26 No. 2s worldwide.

"I was shocked," he said of Singh missing the putt. "But you take it where you can get it."

The victory also makes Harrington the first player from the Republic of Ireland to win on the PGA Tour. Before anyone says "Darren Clarke," remember that Clarke is a native of Northern Ireland. European players say there is an important distinction between the two, although Harrington and Clarke are good friends.

Harrington had big plans for this week. He flew back to Ireland just in time for St. Patrick's Day and will catch a big rugby match in Wales.

It's then on to The Players Championship to try to end that streak of bridesmaid finishes.

"I've got confidence from having finished second there twice," he said.

GEOMETRY LESSON: When a Tour player mentions he had a lot of geometry on his card, it means an up-and-down round with birdies and bogeys. The symbolism is in the circle around a birdie and a square around a bogey.

Joe Durant's past two rounds at The Honda Classic were classic examples.

Durant played well early in the third round, and got on the first page of the leaderboard at 8-under-par. He then bogeyed his last five holes to drop to 3-under.

The two-time Tour winner from Pensacola, Fla., then embarked on the best birdie streak of the season, with seven in a row to start out his round. The Tour record is eight in a row, shared by six players.

Durant missed a 22-foot birdie putt attempt on the par-3 eighth hole, then went the other way in a hurry.

He bogeyed five of his next eight holes and shot 30-40-70.

"I don't know what to say, really," Durant said after his final round.

He tied for 34th place, nine shots off the lead.

QUOTES: "The ranking is going to take care of itself. It's going to go up and down each week. I'm really not worried about the ranking right now." - Singh, ranked second in the world behind Tiger Woods after nearly six months as No. 1.

- "That's called attacking the course." - Harrington, on making 10 birdies among his first 13 holes in the final round of the Honda Classic.

- "We know the image of a PGA Tour wife - we do nothing but shop and go to the spa. But things people say don't bother us, because we know the truth ... that this is a giving, caring group of women." - Dory Faxon, the president of the PGA Tour Wives Association.