Padraig Harrington has been named The European Tour Golfer of the Month for August in recognition of his stunning victory at the US PGA Championship, the Irishmans second successive Major Championship victory and the third of his career.
Harrington, who won The European Tour Golfer of the Month Award for July following the successful defence of his Open Championship crown at Royal Birkdale, became the first European to win consecutive Major Championships with his two stroke victory over Ben Curtis and Sergio Garcia at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan.
The 36 year olds astonishing final day performance at Oakland Hills was all the more remarkable given the fact he compiled two stunning rounds of world class golf on a brutal championship lay-out after Saturdays play had been suspended due to dangerous weather.
Harrington had played only nine holes of his third round when the suspension came, but he returned on Sunday morning to take control of his own destiny by producing an unbelievable performance, finishing his third round of 66 in the morning before matching that number in his fourth round to add the Wanamaker Trophy to his Major Championship collection.
In doing so, Harrington became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2006 to win back-to-back Major Championships as well as becoming the first European to win the US PGA Championship since Scotlands Tommy Armour in 1930. He also joins Woods (2006, 2000), Nick Price (1994) and Walter Hagen (1924) as the only players to win the final two Majors of the season in the same year.
I really like the fact that no other European has won two Majors consecutively, said Harrington. I obviously hold a lot of European players who I grew up watching in high esteem. To believe that I achieved something that they hadn’t is very special.
Harrington had strong competition for the August award, with Darren Clarke notching his second victory of the season at The KLM Open, Peter Hanson winning his national Open at the SAS Masters in Sweden and Vijay Singhs WGC Bridgestone Invitational victory and Deutsche Bank Championship double in the USA. Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson were also a strong contenders after a hugely consistent performances throughout August, but Harringtons US PGA Championship winning performance was impossible to ignore.
Iain Carter, golf correspondent for BBC Radio5 Live, said: “It was another exceptional month and in normal circumstances Darren Clarke and Vijay Singh would have had exceptionally strong claims. But Padraig Harrington’s astonishing victory at the US PGA was an extraordinary achievement. Few players win back to back Majors, even fewer Europeans win the US PGA Championship and he became the first since Tommy Armour in 1930. It wasn’t just that, but the manner of his victory that will be remembered as he surged through the field on that extended final day where he closed with consecutive 66s.”
The Golfer of the Month Award winners thus far in 2008 have been: Germanys Martin Kaymer (January), Mark Brown of New Zealand (February), Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland (March), Trevor Immelman of South Africa (April), Spaniards Sergio Garcia (May) and Pablo Larrazabal (June) and, of course, Harrington (July). At the end of the year, all monthly winners will be amongst the players considered by the panel for The European Tour Golfer of the Year.