Like Tiger Woods two years earlier, Padraig Harrington successfully defended his title, becoming the first European to do so at The Open since James Braid in 1906.
This was a more comfortable occasion than his play-off win at Carnoustie and after an eagle at the 17th, thanks to a 5-wood from 249 yards to three feet, he was able to enjoy a celebratory walk up the 18th fairway on the way to winning by four strokes from Ian Poulter.
“I’m holding on to this,” he said cradling the Claret Jug. “I had a great year as Open Champion, so much so I didn’t want to give it back.”
Amazingly, Harrington almost had to withdraw after injuring his right wrist while swinging his driver into a bean bag the previous weekend. If it helped to dampen expectations, the gales that battered Birkdale throughout the week also helped Harrington maintain his concentration.
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