Masters Notebook

Harrington's Quest for Three Straight Majors Ends

Angel Cabrera uses a third consecutive day with a round in the 60s -- a 69 -- to push into a first place tie with Kenny Perry at 11-under par heading into the Masters' final day.
By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 12, 2009

AUGUSTA, Ga., April 11 -- Padraig Harrington's bid for his third straight major championship effectively ended Saturday at Augusta National's second hole. In winning the 2008 British Open and following that up with the PGA Championship, Harrington didn't make a 9, but that's precisely what did him in in the third round of the Masters, a nasty effort that featured a pair of unplayable lies and resulted in a quadruple bogey, taking the Irishman out of contention before he could even hope to be in it.

"Obviously, my chances went on the second hole," he said. "It was reasonably easy after that. There was not too much stress after that, let's say."

Harrington somehow steadied himself after the debacle, making three birdies on the front nine for 37. But back-to-back bogeys on 10 and 11 gave those strokes back, and he did well to finish in 73. He is 1-under-par for the tournament, 10 shots back of leaders Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera.

Yet the fact that Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods will all but certainly remain, for now, the only men to have won three straight majors was a non-factor, Harrington said.

"Never would it have crossed my mind that I'm there to win three majors in a row when I'm on the golf course," Harrington said.

McIlroy's Explanation

Ireland's Rory McIlroy said he initially declined to review the video of his potential rules violation in Friday's second round, but tournament officials implored him to do so. The issue: McIlroy left a bunker shot at 18 in the trap, then appeared to kick at the sand -- a violation if his ball remained in the trap, which it did.

"I said to them, 'Look, I hit my shot and it's a natural instinct for me, after I hit a bunker shot, to smooth out my footprints,' " McIlroy said. "If you look at any bunker shot I play, I do that."

Officials could have disqualified McIlroy, 19, if they determined he knowingly violated the rule but did not report it. He responded with a solid 71 Saturday and is at even par for the tournament. . . . Phil Mickelson, in search of his third green jacket in the past six Masters, might have been among the favorites Sunday if not for consecutive bogeys on 10 and 11. He will be paired with Woods, his longtime adversary, at 1:35 p.m.

"I think it would be fun," Mickelson said. "It doesn't matter who I'm really playing with. I've got to go out and shoot a low number."

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