Irish Eyes Are Smiling; Again

July 20, 2008 -

In one way a fairytale ended and in another one was fulfilled.

For Greg Norman, it was a story that has he has written many times before. He held the lead going into the final round of a Major Championship, only to let it slip away. Except that on all the other occasions we expected him to win and therefore, the ways in which he lost were, heartbreaking.

That the Great White Shark once again blazed across the links with his swashbuckling gait and dynamic style, will endure as a cherished spectacle. Looking more like a 33 year old than a 53 year old, part-time golfer, Norman was splendid. He reminded us all that it is never too late, nor are we ever too old; but it was not to be.

Padraig Harrington won his second consecutive Open Championship and he was clearly, the year’s Championship golfer. Most all of the contestants who were interviewed said that it was the hardest 4 consecutive days (weather and course conditions) of tournament golf that they had ever played. Harrington handled the elements better than anyone but he also, played magnificently.

With a two shot lead on the 71st. hole, the 5 wood that he hit to five feet for his second shot (he made the putt for eagle) will undoubtedly go down as one of the great shots in history. At the time he had a two shot lead, which under these circumstances, can vanish quicker than you blink.

There may not be a player today who works harder at his game, than Harrington. There are more gifted players in the world, but nobody who deserves his success more than this everyday Irishman.

In interviews throughout the year, Harrington has said that while wining his first Major was rewarding and fulfilling, he did not want it to be his only one. Now it isn’t. He becomes only the fifth modern player to win back to back Open Championships. A potentially great career is now on it’s way to being a Hall of Fame career. It is so richly deserved.

They will be celebrating this one in the Emerald Isle, for a long time.

Greg Norman has found something even more important than another Claret Jug. He has found joy. While he may not ever again be a contender in a golf tournament, he seems as though he has found what really matters.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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