Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Happy Days Are Back for Europe

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Happy Days Are Back for Europe

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Garrod

Forget the fact that no European has won a major since 1999 ( or the US Open since 1970. Good times are just ahead. That is the firm belief of Irishman Padraig Harrington going into the 104th US Open at the spectacular, if extremely difficult, Shinnecock Hills course on New York's Long Island.

The 19 Europeans taking part include just two major winners in Nick Faldo and Paul Lawrie and the gap between Lawrie's victory at Carnoustie and now ( 18 majors ( is the longest barren spell since the 1970s.

But Harrington, who, at a career-high seventh in the world is the leading player without a major to his name, said: "I see some good years ahead for European golfers.

"It doesn't have to happen Sunday, but it will happen in the next few years. There are a lot of good players out there.

"Obviously, there was a period at the end of the 1980s and early 90s where we had the best players in the world and if you have the best at one stage there's going to be a period when you don't and it's going to drop off.

"But I think the future is bright for European golf."

Sergio Garcia, still only 24, has won two of his last four US Tour events and with the second of them coming on Sunday after a play-off with Harrington and South African Rory Sabbatini, hopes are high for both of them.

The hugely-gifted Spaniard feels he has served his apprenticeship in the majors now.

Straight after Lawrie's win, in Garcia's first season as a professional, he pushed Tiger Woods hard at the USPGA ( remember that eyes-closed shot from the base of a tree? ( and since then he has had eight more top 12 finishes.

The most recent of those was fourth at the Masters, when it became clear that he was not only comfortable with the swing changes he felt he had to make, but also his putting touch was back. …

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