Short chips: Harrington embraces the spirit of perfection
WHEN it comes to practice, Padraig Harrington is still golf's marathon man.
Yet even Harrington took his pre-Masters preparation into a new dimension at Augusta this week when he produced a spirit level on every green and noted the slope of many of the putts he's likely to face this weekend. It took him three hours to map the front nine and a remarkable three-and-a-half hours to get through the homeward nine.
"I followed him for nine holes," said Jim McCabe of 'Golfweek'. The chirpy Boston-Irishman then joked: "I don't know who was nuttier -- him for doing it or me for watching. I'd love to get a peek at what's in that notebook."
Augusta digs deep to ensure perfect bunkers
NO price is considered too high by Augusta National Golf Club in their pursuit of perfection.
Yesterday we mentioned the $12m reputedly spent on turning the main car park at Augusta into an incredible 18-acre driving range. That was just the tip of the iceberg. The club also took on the cost of laying a new public water main under the range and bought up a massive tract of land across the road to provide parking for 8,700 cars.
Scores of householders accepted $500,000 for their homes, plus two Masters tickets for life. Total cost of the project: circa $180m. Aesthetic effect: priceless.
'Wild thing' puts himself in the shop window
JOHN DALY returns each year to Augusta for the Masters, even if he hasn't played the event since 2006. Instead, Daly parks his giant motor home near the world's most exclusive golf club to sell Lion Brand souvenirs and Loudmouth clothing.
He used to trade in the Hooters car park but his sponsorship deal with the restaurant chain has expired, so this year Daly's set up in a vacant lot across Washington Road from the golf club.
McDowell left red-faced by thinking it's all over
AMID all the excitement of his ace on the ninth hole in Wednesday's Masters Par 3 Competition, Graeme McDowell forgot to sign his card. Officials found him watching his beloved Manchester United in the new 'Caddieshack' at the range and summoned him back to the recorder's hut.
"No bother," thought McDowell leaving the room, "sure United are winning 2-0" ... whoops!
Irish fail to shine
Away from Augusta, the Irish contingent failed to make an impact on day one of the Madeira Islands Open, . England's Ben Evans and Chris Gane, Scotland's George Murray and Portugal's Jose Lima hold a share of the lead on six-under-par.
The best of the Irish contingent was Michael Hoey after a level par 72 with Niall Kearney (+2), Colm Moriarty (+2) and Gary Murphy (+4) further down the field.