Padraig Harrington has revealed that it was the motivation of the crowd that helped him to a playoff victory over Spain’s Sergio Garcia.
"The fans have been fantastic with their constant support," said The Open Champion. "When you are standing over a quarter of a mile away from the green you need a few people to yell ‘Get in the hole!’ to make sure that your ball goes as far as possible. The years of endless practice don’t amount to anything in such a pressure situation. It’s the crowd yelling that counts."
Whilst many commentators and television viewers assume that this constant and unoriginal yelling must be a distraction the players find it not only comforting but something they now depend on.
"The fans have been doing it throughout my pro career," commented Tiger Woods, the winner of the previous two Open Championships. "I get it whether I am teeing off on a par five or have just nudged the ball for a two inch putt. I can’t imagine how the greats of yesteryear, the Sneeds, Palmers, Normans, Faldos and so on got by with just polite applause and a cheer if the shot really turns out to be a good one."
Open runner-up, Garcia, said that he felt that it was this level of support that gave Harrington the edge going into the four-hole playoff.
"You know, the majors are in English speaking countries," he said. "For sure, I was listening but I never heard ‘¡Consiga en el agujero!’ which might have made all the difference."
Harry Billingsworth, 24, from Newmarket who attended this year’s Championship in Carnoustie said that yelling out this tired old phrase was all part of the fun of spectating.
"I am trying to help the players but ‘A bit of draw around the hazard and feather the landing with spin!’ is a bit too long to get out," said Mr Billingsworth. "It’s a great bit of fun though. So is yelling ‘Get your hair cut!’ at Miguel Angel Jimenez."
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