AKRON, Ohio – Notes from World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, Aug. 1
As Padraig Harrington put it, “I’m only going to win my first major once.” So the 35-year-old Irishman soaked in the whole experience of winning the British Open. Just 10 days after winning in Carnoustie and breaking an eight-year European drought in the majors, Harrington is preparing for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. The opening round tees off this morning at Firestone Country Club. Harrington still is trying to get himself together after a whirlwind week and a half of being a national hero in his native land and an international celebrity in golf circles. “In terms of competing and golf ... I couldn’t do this week in, week out,” Harrington said Wednesday. “But ... I kind of knew that straight away when I won that my preparation wouldn’t be right for the next event.” Harrington didn’t pick up a club and didn’t get into the gym once last week as the visit to Akron loomed. “I was only fit for sleeping and doing interviews it seems like,” Harrington said, before adding, “and partying a little bit.” According to the Dublin native, the Claret Jug was filled with Johnny Smith’s Smooth Bitter, champagne and a “mixture of stuff” last week. “At this stage if you smelled the inside of that Claret Jug you wouldn’t want to drink out of it,” Harrington said. Harrington’s life still hasn’t slowed down. He arrived at Firestone at about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday for a practice round. Appointments with USA Today and Titleist along with various interviews lasted until 12:45 p.m. He grabbed a bite to eat and warmed up to play. But Golf Channel, Sky Sports and PGA Tour Productions came calling for more interviews. Harrington obliged. There were also a couple of promos to do on the range. He finally stepped to the tee box at about 2:30, getting seven holes in before another appointment cut it short. Nine hours at the course, seven holes of golf. Harrington estimates he’s received more than 200 text messages since the British Open. He hopes life will get back to normal soon and plans to seek advice from some of his Tour friends who have won majors. He’s already chatted with Michael Campbell, the 2005 U.S. Open winner. “Probably my best tactic is to find out what other people experienced, rather than going along and trying to figure it out on my own,” he said. Furyk Hurting Jim Furyk’s status for Bridgestone is unclear after injuring his upper back/rib area Tuesday swinging his driver. Furyk, ranked second in the Official World Golf Ranking, is coming off a win last week at the Canadian Open. Mr. Resilient In 2004, Steve Stricker lost his fully-exempt card. In 2005, he finished outside of the top 150 on Tour for the third straight year. In 2006, Stricker recovered to be the Comeback Player of the Year after earning more than $1,800,000. The lean years are paying dividends now for the 40-year-old Wisconsin native. “Nothing really phases me anymore,” Stricker said. “I’ve hit every bad shot in the book.” Stricker talked Wednesday about hitting balls during the winter of 2005 at his father-in-law’s Wisconsin driving range, which basically consisted of three-sided mobile homes with heaters installed. “We were hitting in there when it was down into single digits with like long-sleeved shirts,” Stricker said. Asked where the balls landed, he didn’t hesitate. “In the snow.” Tough Go Word from the players is that Firestone should put up a major-like challenge this week, especially if it stays dry. “You come off this week feeling like you got beat up by a major championship course and then you get to go to the PGA to play a major championship,” Stewart Cink said. “You’re mentally going to be ready ... after four rounds on this thing.” Dollars and Cents K.J. Choi said Tuesday if he won the FedEx Cup that he would donate all of the $10 million prize to charity. Apparently, that would be difficult since much of the money will be deferred into a retirement fund. It’s unclear just how much of the money will be deferred. Cink -- a policy board member ‹ tried to explain, before summarizing, “We talked about it a bunch of times and went back and forth, and finally I said, ‘Enough. I vote yes.’ “ Reach Repository sports writer Josh Weir at (330) 580-8426 or email@example.com.