... that caused Padraig Harrington's epic meltdown on the par-5 16th hole at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational yesterday afternoon?
Was it the so-called Eye of the Tiger, staring him down with that miraculous eight-iron to within inches of the cup?
Or was it the added pressure of having been put on the clock by the PGA tour official that caused him to rush that ludicrous shot from the rough that ended up in the drink? (Speaking of, in our living room, it was very clear from his preparatory swings that Padraig was going to over-hit that ball. To quote my husband: "Why is he swinging so hard... That's way too much swing!! NO, PADRAIG, TOO MUCH SWING....[sploosh] See?")
My first reaction was that it was ridiculous to put a final group on the clock. I mean, who are they holding up, except for the local news? But the more I've thought about it, the more I'm convinced that we can't really blame anyone but the Irishman for the implosion. As my husband says, rules are rules, and what is enforced for all golfers must be enforced for the final pairing too. To say nothing of the fact that this is hardly the first time that Harrington or Tiger has been warned about slow play. Added to THAT the fact that the PGA hasn't penalized a player for slow play since 1982, and you have yourself a case of a player letting something get to him that he should have been able to shrug off and stick to his game.
Even with Tiger's great birdie at 16, I think that Padraig had a really good chance to beat Tiger yesterday afternoon, or at least to take him to the wire. But unfortunately, a drop in focus led to a disappointing afternoon and another notch on Tiger's already-substantial belt.
That being said, Harrington has always been a resilient player, and I look forward to seeing how he responds next week at the PGA Championship, especially during the first two rounds, when he's grouped with none other than one Tiger Woods.
Bring on Hazeltine!