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DEREK LAWRENSON: Padraig Harrington’s Irish party after US Senior Open win will shame LIV rebels 

Just hours from Dublin, this week they toast the returning hero at the Horizon Irish Open, while Padraig Harrington comes home a big winner once again, having followed up Matt Fitzpatrick’s win at the US Open by claiming the senior version on Sunday.

Contrast that with the bitter mood in Pumpkin Ridge, on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, where the second LIV event kicks off Thursday against a backdrop of civil unrest as the anger against the Saudi-backed circuit and the untold damage it has done to the game. grows.

Harrington claimed his first senior title with one shot from Steve Stricker, his captaincy counterpart at the Ryder Cup in Whistling Straits last September. We all know how that went.

Irish Padraig Harrington won the US Senior Open in Saucon Valley on Monday

Irish Padraig Harrington won the US Senior Open in Saucon Valley on Monday

It was a different story with clubs in their hands, as Harrington seemed determined to dish out a similar beating, leading by six blows at one point. A combination of Irish nerves and some late American birdies left Harrington hanging on to continue his three big wins at the Open (2007-08) and US PGA (2008).

The field at the second LIV event is undeniably much stronger than the first at St Albans, with additions such as Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer. It doesn’t mean the welcome is more lavish.

A letter from the local mayor and signed by fellow dignitaries from surrounding towns was sent to the organizers expressing their “concern”. It started: ‘We are against this event because it is sponsored by a repressive government whose human rights violations have been documented.’

Pumpkin Ridge is one of the most prestigious clubs in the area, but according to the local newspaper, around 20 members have resigned in protest at the staging, despite having to surrender their £10,000 entry fee. The head pro has also resigned. The organizers, who play for their bosses in Jeddah, will forbid spectators from displaying protest signs.

As for Greg Norman, the face of LIV, he’s lost another fan in Karrie Webb, who grew up adoring him. When asked about the rumor that the Saudis might turn to the female game afterward (I know, the irony), the greatest Australian female golfer of all time replied bluntly to Golf Week: “I know Greg has been a vendetta for so long. against the PGA Tour. as I know him, so I don’t think anything about him changes. I would just like to ask that, in his ambition to succeed, he doesn’t ruin women’s golf in the process.”

Harrington was able to hold off an attack from Steve Stricker on the last lap to claim the win

Harrington was able to hold off an attack from Steve Stricker on the last lap to claim the win

Given the boundless wealth of a sovereign nation willing to fund Norman’s revenge based on his ambitions for a worldwide tour that was rejected more than a quarter of a century ago, is there any way to avert this demise? There may be one organization that could change the momentum in this desperate civil war.

LIV is waiting to see if their highly lucrative exhibition events will earn points in the world rankings. If their application isn’t successful, meaning LIV Rebels will struggle to get into the four majors for years to come, that could be a game-changer.

Meanwhile, this divisive and volatile period continues. On the one hand, the unbridled joy that will greet Harrington, Shane Lowry and the rest playing for £4.8million at Mount Juliet. On the other hand, the bitterness and disgust with which Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and their fellow Saudi stooges compete for £20 million in Portland.

HAVE A THOUGHT FOR LEXI, MISSED PUTTS HER PASSED

It’s hard to imagine a golfer anywhere who felt no sympathy for Lexi Thompson and what appeared to be an onslaught of putting yips over the closing holes at the Women’s PGA Championship in Washington on Sunday.

A first major in eight years was there for the American until she stepped to a two-foot putt on 14th — and it never even touched the hole.

Is there a similar nerve failure in any other sport as brutal as this one? Imagine all those hours of practice getting so good at the game and then, when it really matters, you can’t go from six feet? The scars from previous near misses in majors showed themselves brutally and will leave an even deeper impression after this devastating loss to Korea’s Chun In-gee.

On Twitter, there were heartless members of the media who grieved her for not talking about it. If ever five seconds of video equaled a thousand words, this time it was.

When you’re 27, you’d like to think there’s a way back for poor Lexi. Suffice it to say, if she wins another major, it will be an act of pure sporting heroism.

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