Padraig Harrington: Golfer gives fans $100 to buy beers for moving out of shadows
The beers were well and truly on Pádraig Harrington on Sunday.
Surging towards an emphatic victory at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship – the PGA Tour Champions season finale – drinks were already set to flow for the Irishman, but Harrington seemed determined to start the party early.
Lining up his opening drive at the par-three 15th, the three-time major winner paused to turn to the onlooking grandstand to politely ask a group of fans to move seats.
There had been no major disturbance, the issue was simply the long shadows that the spectators had been casting over the tee.
“They’ve been sitting there, I assume all day, waiting for this,” Harrington told reporters. “I hope they were waiting for me.
“I got them to move, they still had a good view.”
As if to say thank you, Harrington proceeded to smoke a flawless approach shot onto the green, the ball rolling up within birdie-striking distance.
Flashing a grateful smile and wave towards the grandstand, the 51-year-old had one more token of appreciation to pass on. Approaching one fan at the sideline, Harrington handed over a wad of cash – to be spent specifically on beers.
In May, Justin Thomas admitted to being blown away by the eye-watering $18 price of beer at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, and it seems similar calculations were on Harrington’s mind in Arizona.
“I gave it to one guy, but it was for everybody in the area,” Harrington said.
“I actually went in with 50 and then I kind of said, ‘Probably only get a few beers for 50, I better go back with 100.’”
The good cheer continued as Harrington sealed a dominant victory three holes later, finishing seven strokes ahead of runner-up Alex Cejka of Germany.
In carding 27-under, the Irishman matched the PGA Tour Champions record score in relation to par, equaling Jack Nicklaus’ effort at the Kaulig Companies Championship in 1990.
“I didn’t realize that,” Harrington said.
“It’s nice to hold the record with Jack Nicklaus, I believe he’s done it as well. Kind of glad I didn’t beat him.”
However, the victory wasn’t enough to see Harrington crowned overall Charles Schwab Cup champion, as Steven Alker’s third-place finish clinched the New Zealander the points needed to take the title.
Meanwhile, Tony Finau continued his stunning 2022 journey with a similarly convincing triumph at the Houston Open.
Shooting 16-under, the American cruised to a four-shot triumph for his third PGA Tour victory of the calendar year at Memorial Park, a margin of victory that could have been even more dominant had it not been for three bogeys down the back nine.
Having ended a five-year wait for a PGA Tour win with victory at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in August 2021, the 33-year-old has now clinched four in his last 30 starts. Once labeled the ‘nearly-man’ of golf, he lifted two titles in July in the space of a week with back-to-back wins at the 3M Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic.
“I’ve always had belief, but confidence when you win is contagious,” Finau told reporters. “I’m starting to put together a full-package game.
“It was one of those days I fought and fought, and I made a lot of nice putts that calmed me. I’ve never been in this position. I had a lot of nerves.
“Overall, as the round went on, I felt better. I was happy to get the W today.”
Compatriot Tyson Alexander finished second on 12-under, a stroke ahead of England’s Ben Taylor, while ninth-placed Scottie Scheffler failed to register the win he needed to retake world No. 1 spot from Rory McIlroy.