No matter which of the last 13 major champions I put at the 9th spot, there’s going to be controversy. I’ve shuffled and reshuffled the group a few times. My top three are pretty much locked in, but there are a number of ways to get there. I bet you could give this list to 100 people and get 100 different rankings. So, here goes nothing…
#9 Padraig Harrington – 2008 PGA Championship
The South Course at Oakland Hills proved itself brutal in 2008 and yielded only three scores under par. Those scores belonged to Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Ben Curtis – Curtis and Garcia came up two short of Harrington’s impressive (-3).
Harrington won the tournament because he brought more game than anyone in the field Sunday afternoon. I love when guys go out and win a tournament on Sunday as opposed to hang on to it or just try to survive. Harrington’s 66 vaulted him from +1 to minus three and atop the clutter and chaos that Oakland Hills left in its wake.
I’ll be very interested to see how golf history remembers Harrington 10, 20 and 30 years from now. You can never take away the three major championships the guy won – that’s remarkable. He surely benefitted from getting hot at the beginning of the end of the Tiger Woods era though. I wonder if a couple other players wouldn’t have won one or two more majors earlier in the decade had Woods not been so dominant. Because of that, Harington will probably be credited as being a better player than some guys who had more skill and game their entire careers.
My argument for why Harrington’s win isn’t higher is weak. Part of it stems from the fact I consider the PGA Championship to be the weakest of the four majors (which is based on zilch). The rest of it stems from the fact that all of the top nine are blow-you-away awesome. I promise to start focusing on why these championships are great and not the reverse.