Harrington revels in historic win

11 August 2008 Respond to this article

Ireland's Padraig Harrington was overjoyed at becoming the first European to win consecutive majors.

Harrington followed up his Open title win at Royal Birkdale by triumphing in the USPGA at Oakland Hills on Sunday.

"I did really like the fact no other European has won two majors consecutively," said the 36-year-old.

"I hold a lot of European players I grew up watching in the '80s in high esteem. To achieve something they didn't is very special to me."

Harrington held off the challenge of Spain's Sergio Garcia and former Open champion Ben Curtis of the United States to win his third major.

In doing so, he succeeded in doing something that European golfing legends Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros could not - winning two straight major tournaments.

Ballesteros did win consecutive majors that he entered - the Open in 1979 and Masters in 1980 - but did not compete in the USPGA in between.

"Things like that will take time to sink in," he added. "For the moment I'm just enjoying the PGA win for the PGA win."

It was a historic moment for the Dubliner, who became the first European-born winner of the event since Tommy Armour in 1930.

The English-born Jim Barnes won the first two USPGA events in 1916 and 1919, while Jock Hutchison, who was born in Scotland, claimed the title in 1920, but both players were US citizens at the time.

Harrington also became only the fourth player to win the Open and PGA Championship in the same year, joining Walter Hagen (1924), Nick Price (1994) and Tiger Woods (2000 and 2006).

After failing to win any of his first 36 majors, Harrington has now triumphed in three of the last six - and he said there was plenty more to come from him.

His performance on the back nine at Oakland Hills had rival Curtis comparing him to world number one Tiger Woods.

And Harrington said he would continue to strive to compete with the game's most dominant player.

"It's a big step now, to start competing on a different level," he added.

"I do believe I can improve as a player. There are lots of stuff I can work on and I'm maturing as a player.

"I have always been a learner in the game throughout my career. I have looked what can improve my game, found it, worked on it and improved it. But it's always taken time.

"In many periods in my career I have had a lull where I have been between things and come out stronger. I'm looking at this period as one of those.

"I'm world number three - I have Phil (Mickelson) and Tiger ahead of me. I don't pay much attention to what they are doing, I pay attention more to what I'm doing.

"It's a long way to catch Tiger at the top but the only way of focusing on doing that is focusing on me and what I'm doing. I can't control Tiger or Phil. I just need to pay attention and try to strive to improve."

From the BBC