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This week in golf

Teeing Off

Five things to look for on the professional golf scene:

August 09, 2007|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

1 After he bogeyed the last hole in regulation to blow the British Open, then wound up losing to Padraig Harrington in a playoff, Sergio Garcia took his defeat hard. He came off as sort of, well, whiny, blaming the guy who raked the bunkers at the 18th and made him wait, claiming claimed it was obvious he had to beat more than just players and covered himself in woe-is-me cloth.

Anyway, Garcia put on his brave face Wednesday in Tulsa, Okla., and laid Carnoustie to rest, which is a splendid idea because he has to play the PGA Championship beginning today at Southern Hills, which is a long way from Scotland.

"I guess it wasn't easy the first week after, a couple of days later," he said. "But you get over it."

Garcia said he took a lot of positives out of his British Open experience and said he wouldn't do anything differently. With one exception -- the putt that stayed left and out of the hole on the 18th green during regulation.

"That's pretty much it."

Garcia is playing his ninth 9th PGA Championship. and His best was his first -- a second to behind Tiger Woods in 1999 at Medinah. He tied for third last year at Medinah, where Woods also won.

But the fact is that Garcia at 27 is still 0-for-34 in majors, and counting.

Garcia, who is 27 and 0 for 34 in majors, also said he regretted some of his comments after Carnoustie.

"I was emotional," he said. "I opened myself up to you guys and I said what I felt. That's pretty much it. I didn't want to take anything out of Padraig winning the Open.

"You know the guy that finishes second is always the first loser, I guess, so it's hard sometimes. But you've got to move on."

2 In the 1982 PGA Championship, Raymond Floyd shot a course-record 63 on his way to a three-shot victory at Southern Hills. It was left to Ernie Els to say whether it will happen again.

"Well, if I could have seen into the future, I would have gone to Vegas and put a bet on it or something maybe.

"You know, I think it's got a good chance of being equaled this week," Els said. "The course is in unbelievable shape. The greens are perfect [and] with the heat, they have got to keep the greens quite soft, I would imagine.

"So a guy that hits fairways, puts himself in position, he can start attacking some of these flags."

3 There are exactly 84 bunkers at Southern Hills, all of them totally renovated since the 2001 U.S. Open. Four were removed and one bunker was added at the fifth 5th hole. But there are still four greenside bunkers at the ninth 9th hole, where and Woods found one of them in the 2001 Open and took a double bogey.

He still remembers: "I might have just psyched myself out on nine 9 and 18 last time with the green speeds being different," he said.

4 Woods has played Southern Hills twice and hasn't exactly torn didn't exactly tear the place up. In the 1996 Tour Championship, a couple of months after Woods turned pro, he tied for 21st with rounds of 70-78-72-68, and said he played "in a fog" because Earl Woods was hospitalized with chest pains that week.

In the 2001 U.S. Open, Woods had trouble solving the doglegs and tied for 12th, with rounds of 74-71-69-69.

5 Note to Harrington: Sure, you're the new British Open champion and as an Irishman, the first European to win a major since Paul Lawrie of Scotland in the 1999 British Open, but the last European to win the PGA Championship was Tommy Armour of Scotland in 1930.

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