Published August 10, 2012
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Padraig Harrington is resigned to missing his first Ryder Cup since 1997 until he follows the words of European captain Jose Maria Olazabal and does something extraordinary. That would mean winning, and he's running out of time.
Harrington had a 76 on Friday in the PGA Championship and was six shots out of the lead. His last chance would be The Barclays, the opening FedEx Cup playoff event in two weeks at Bethpage Black.
Olazabal's comments earlier in the week at least put Harrington at ease.
"He's obviously got players in mind from that," the Irishman said. "I can't do anything about it, honestly. I would love to have an exceptional week, but there you go. At least it's clearer in my mind now. Obviously, I have to do something very good here or next week."
Indications point to Olazabal using one of his captain's picks on Ian Poulter. Europe takes 10 players after the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, which ends the day after The Barclays.
"There certainly isn't very much room for a pick for me," Harrington said. "You're looking at obviously, Ian Poulter is going to get one. And there's one left. Obviously, I'm not in the reckoning as it stands. So I have to do something exceptional. At least it's clear."
Harrington was hurt by not being eligible for three World Golf Championships this year, or the Tour Championship last year, which offer easy ranking points. He believes he is playing well, and points to a for fourth in the U.S. Open two months ago.
What constitutes extraordinary? Next to a win, someone threw out the notion of a 59.
"Well, now you've put it in the wind," Harrington said with a laugh. "Look, hey, it's the way it is. I'm happy to be playing well."
WAITING GAME: Hunter Mahan, a two-time winner this year on the PGA Tour, would have figured to be a lock for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Now, he has to wait three weeks to see if Davis Love III will take him as one of four captain's picks.
Ditto for Rickie Fowler, who was No. 12, and Brandt Snedeker right behind him at No. 13.
All of them missed the cut at the PGA Championship, and it wasn't pretty. Mahan, bumped out of the top eight in the standings last week when Keegan Bradley won the Bridgestone Invitational, had an 80. It was his highest score of the year. Fowler also had an 80, the third time in the last 15 rounds he shot in the 80s.
Love will announce his picks after the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second FedEx Cup playoff event.
"The main goal now is to try to make the team," Fowler said. "And I'm not doing a good job of it right now. I've put up some less than stellar scores."
Love hosted a dinner Thursday night for the top 20 players that most of them attended. It was not a time to lobby for a pick, rather for the captain to encourage players to not put too much stress on themselves to make the team.
"You're not going to say anything to blow his mind," Mahan said.
Mahan is No. 4 on the PGA Tour money list and No. 5 in the FedEx Cup standings. It's still not enough to be one of the eight who earn spots on the team.
"It seems kind of crazy to be out of the top eight," he said.
Fowler two years ago became the first PGA Tour rookie to be a captain's pick. Even more surprising is that he had never won. This year, he earned his first PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow in one of the stronger events. And he still failed to qualify.
"Everyone is playing well," Fowler said.
Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk, who are 10th and 11th in the standings, made the cut. So did Dustin Johnson, at No. 14, despite a 79 on Friday.
DALY UNDOINGS: John Daly was two shots off the lead going into the second round.
Not for long.
He opened with three straight bogeys, and he made only one birdie, on the 15th hole. The good news for Daly is that it didn't spiral out of control. He wound up with a 77, which was one shot below the course average, and goes into the weekend five shots out of the lead.
NOT ON POINTS: D.A. Points never felt as though he had a chance. He was hitting balls on the practice range Friday morning, with a right-to-left wind, then started his second round on No. 10, with the first four holes against the wind in a left-to-right direction.
He made bogey. Then, he took a triple bogey on the par-5 11th, followed by a bogey and then a triple bogey on the 13th. He made only one par on the back nine, at the 17th, and it was a good think. Otherwise, he might have had a 50 on his card.
Instead, Points shot 49 on his opening nine, and rallied on the front nine for a 38 to give him an 87.
"This is crazy," he said. "Those guys who started on the back nine and played well, my hats off. Certainly, that's no excuse. It's just the way it is."
Points wasn't the only player who shot in the 80s, of course. He was part of a group that featured Ryder Cup players, a former major champion (Mark Brooks) and a couple of club pros who were in the 90s.
He felt the pins were too penal.
"If you tried to hit it to the green and you got on the green, you were pretty lucky," he said. "So I guess I must (stink)."
CRABS AND ANTS: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano said Thursday that his second shot into the par-5 11th hole came to rest against a small pile of sand created by ants, and thus he was given free relief. He had to drop into a bunker, which sounds strange, except technically there are no bunkers at Kiawah Island.
That was no ant pile, either.
The PGA of America issued a clarification Friday that the Spaniard's ball actually was up against a cast made by a sand crab. He was entitled to a free drop based on Rule 25-1 (abnormal ground condition). If it had been an ant hill, he would not have received relief. The only exception for an ant hill would be if they were fire ants, creating a dangerous situation. Alas, there are no fire ants on the Ocean Course.
DIVOTS: Scott Verplank (hip) and Kevin Na (shoulder) withdrew in the middle of the second round. Verplank had a 42 on the back nine. He has completed only six tournaments this year because of injuries. Na was 6 over through 13 holes when he pulled out. Sean O'Hair withdrew because of an injury through 15 holes. ... The course played 147 yards shorter for the second round, though that didn't always help. The 14th hole was reduced from 249 yards to 207 yards, downwind, but with a front pin. ... Luke Donald walked away feeling as though he would miss the cut for the second time in a major this year. Instead, he made it on the number. ... U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson missed the cut.