Aug
8
2009
Face-Off: Tiger Woods vs. Padraig Harrington
By Stephanie Wei under General

Who didn’t think Tiger would have a strong showing today? He fired a 5-under-par 65 in third round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Oh, and he birdied four of the last six holes. He even drove the ball straighter, hitting 64% of fairways. He’s been criticized for his inconsistency off the tee (at least that’s been mentioned a lot during the telecasts all season). But it’s not like that’s a huge newsflash — “OMG, Tiger is pushing it way right!” Big deal. That’s always been his MO. He just manages to scramble like no other guy out there. (Well, it’s a matter of how far right he’s blasting it and if the course allows him to recover easier, which won’t be the case at Hazeltine next week.)

But I digress. Padraig Harrington is still leading the tourney — he carded 3-under par 67 and leads by three over TW. He’s found his swing, trusting his game and has the right attitude going into the final round. He told Steve Sands, “It’s going to be a big test. Tiger obviously plays this golf course very well and he’s won many times. Even with a three shot lead, it’s not going to be easy out there. I’m preparing myself for a long day, a big battle ahead…I’m going to have the right mindset and play golf.”

Attaboy, Paddy. So who will we find in the winner’s circle tomorrow? The odds are in favor of Tiger, per usual. We know his track record when he’s prowling — three shots is nothing for him to make up. I’m going to root for Paddy, though. I’d love to see him post a W after struggling this season. And I always like the underdog.

I can’t forget to mention that there are some other marquee players in the hunt, too. ‘09 Masters champ Angel Cabrera, ‘09 US Open champ Lucas Glover, ‘09 British Open champ Stewart Cink and ‘09 Masters runner-up Kenny Perry are T4. But they trail Paddy by 6 strokes. As good as they are, I don’t think they can catch Paddy or Tiger. Then again, this is golf and I’m wrong all the time.

That’s all for now. Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow — I smell an exciting finish. Who is your pick to win?

[Photos by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images & Sam Greenwood/Getty Image]