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British Open live blog

Throughout this week, ESPN.com golf editor Jason Sobel will be live blogging from the British Open, bringing you inside information and analysis from Carnoustie Golf Links. Refresh this page often to keep track of all the entries during each round.

Have a question or comment for Sobel? E-mail him at britishopenblog@gmail.com.

Round 1 blog
Round 2 blog
Round 3 blog

7:45 p.m.: Well, if that final round and playoff failed to entertain you, check your pulse. What a fantastic, dramatic day of golf from Carnoustie.

Thanks for all of the questions and comments throughout the four days.

That's it from here. Time for me to go soak my typing fingers in the Barry Burn for a while ...

7:39 p.m.: Padraig Harrington speaks to the BBC after the win:

On the win: "It's a lot to take in, obviously. Tried not to get ahead of myself, but it's obviously all coming in now."

On his mentality: "I convinced myself all week I was going to win, but I never let myself think I was going to win -- or something like that."

On the 18th hole double-bogey in regulation: "I think if I lost, it would have been very hard to take."

On his professional journey: "I've come a long way. ... When I turned pro, I would have settled for being a good journeyman pro."

On the mood in Ireland: "I'm sure they have a party going."

7:37 p.m.: Harrington becomes the first European winner since Paul Lawrie right at this very venue in 1999 and only the second Irish major champion, joining Fred Daly, who won this championship in 1947.

7:36 p.m.: Right in the middle! And Padraig Harrington is your 136th Open Championship winner!

7:35 p.m.: Garcia makes par. Only 3 feet stand between Padraig Harrington and the Claret Jug.

7:34 p.m.: Garcia for birdie ... and he burned the left edge! It JUST missed dropping and rolls 4 feet away. He's got to make this to still have a chance ...

7:33 p.m.: Harrington for the win ... and he rolls it 3 feet past the hole. Not quite gimme range. If Garcia makes, he could be the outright winner without sudden death!

7:31 p.m.: Shades of Phil Mickelson's first major win when he got a line from Chris DiMarco on 18 at Augusta National? Perhaps. If Harrington misses and Garcia gets a good read and makes, we're all square again.

7:30 p.m.: Harrington's third shot and it's not as good as he would have hoped. He hits it to 35 feet, but more importantly, it's right on the same line as Garcia's ball, so Sergio will get a great look at the line.

7:27 p.m.: Sergio with a good lie in the rough, yelling for it to, "Stay up!" And it does! Garcia to pin-high, about 25 feet away. If he makes this putt, we could be going to sudden death. That was a 6-iron from 203 yards. Great shot.

7:25 p.m.: Here's why you don't hit hybrid or iron on 18 when you need to make a number: Harrington now has 248 yards to the front of the green. With the Barry Burn guarding and O.B. left, he's got to layup.

And that's exactly what he does. Perfect layup, he'll have about 105 to the pin from there.

7:23 p.m.: E-mail from reader James in Dallas:

    If Harrington is able to pull this out, do you think the media focus will be on Harrington's win or Sergio's loss?

I don't think you can tell one story without telling the other. The focus will be on what a crazy, dramatic day this was.

That said, Sergio is certainly the more dynamic personality and the more talked-about player, so there will be much said and written about how he couldn't hold a 3-shot 54-hole lead if it doesn't happen.

7:22 p.m.: Nope, he goes right down 18 and you couldn't walk it off any better than that. Dead solid perfect, as the kids say. Middle fairway.

Sergio pulls driver ... it's left, but not too left. He'll have a chance to go for the green from there.

7:21 p.m.: Harrington has hit driver on this hole each day, but not now. BBC reporters think he may hit one down the 17th fairway. Interesting.

7:19 p.m.: OK, what we've all been waiting for: Decision time for Harrington on the 18th tee. Looks like he's having a long discussion with his caddie ... and he chooses the hybrid, it appears.

7:17 p.m.: Sergio hits a terrific putt that just barely misses on the left side. Ouch. Such a good roll. Now Harrington to go up 3 with one to play ...

From 5 feet and he missed it on the low side. That putt broke pretty hard right-to-left, but the door is still open for Sergio.

No blood on 17.

7:15 p.m.: E-mail from reader Joe in Austin, Texas:

    If Sergio does not close the deal, how do you think it will affect his golf psyche in the future? Is his major problem emotion/confidence?

Chances like these don't come along too often. Whichever player loses is going to have a few sleepless nights this week. He'll be OK in the long run, but it may take some time.

7:13 p.m.: Really good shot under pressure by Garcia. From 218 yards, he gets it to pin high, about 18 feet away. And yet, if he doesn't make it, he could be three down going to 18.

And then maybe we'll see if Harrington goes 9-iron, 9-iron, 9-iron right down the fairway.

7:12 p.m.: Harrington hitting first -- another dart. Again to within 5 feet and this guy is absolutely on his game right now. Garcia needs to put one close just to stay 2 back, it seems.

7:08 p.m.: Harrington knocks one down the fairway on 17. Garcia follows suit. Combined, they haven't made anything but pars on this hole for the last three days.

7:06 p.m.: E-mail from reader Larry:

    How do you feel about this type of playoff? Is this the best of the lot, or do you prefer 18 holes like the U.S. Open, or sudden death like the Masters?

I think four holes is a perfect number for a playoff. A full match the next day is too taxing, but a sudden-death doesn't necessarily reward the player who has played the best. I love this format.

7:04 p.m.: Harrington actually putts from off the green, a beautiful putt up the slope to easy tap-in range, very similar to the one Sergio had in regulation. Garcia's birdie putt has the line, but it's short.

That's a pair of pars and we go to No. 17 with Harrington still holding a 2-stroke advantage.

7:01 p.m.: Brilliant shot from the BBC of Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and Irishman Paul McGinley watching their fellow countrymen competing in the playoff.

And you wonder why the Europeans win the Ryder Cup every two years?

6:57 p.m.: Harrington's tee shot is pin-high, but well left of the green, some 20-30 yards away. And ... wow! Garcia's shot is dead-on and hits the bottom of the flagstick, leaving him some 15 feet away. Can you imagine a hole-in-one in the playoff? It almost happened.

6:56 p.m.: As the players head to the 248-yard par-3 16th, let's go to an e-mail from reader Peter in Slovakia:

    How do you play a four-hole playoff? Do you stick to your game plan (play the
    course) or play it more like match play (play the opponent)?

Great question. I think it's too hard for these guys to change gears after 72 holes of medal play, so they have to forget about the other guy and just play their own game.

That said, if Harrington still has a 2-shot lead coming to 18, he may want to rethink that strategy.

6:55 p.m.: Harrington hits it dead center and he's up 2 already.

6:54 p.m.: Very good putt by Sergio, but it stays just barely right. Tap in for bogey. Could be a 2-shot swing here.

6:52 p.m.: Sergio's bunker shot barely gets onto the green, about 10 feet from the hole. As I've heard many times on the course, "YSA!" (You're still away!)

6:50 p.m.: Well, advantage Harrington for now. Padraig knocks his approach on No. 1 to 8 feet, while Garcia dumps one into the right greenside bunker.

6:44 p.m.: Here's how they've played these four holes so far this week:

Sergio Garcia
Hole 1 -- birdie, par, birdie, par
Hole 16 -- bogey, par, par, par
Hole 17 -- birdie, par, par, par
Hole 18 -- par, par, par, bogey

Padraig Harrington
Hole 1 -- par, par, birdie, par
Hole 16 -- par, par, par, par
Hole 17 -- par, par, par, par
Hole 18 -- par, double, par, double

That's 1-under for Sergio and 3-over for Padraig. Hmmm ... advantage, Garcia?

6:43 p.m.: Wonder if they had to go round up Ivor Robson, who may have still been relieving himself after standing on the first tee for the entire day.

6:39 p.m.: Slight delay because -- are you ready for this? -- the flagstick was already taken from the first hole. What, did the groundskeeper think he was getting out of work early tonight or something?

6:34 p.m.: Whew. My heart is racing a mile a minute, can't imagine what Padraig and Sergio are feeling right now. Let's go to the in-box ...

From Jeff:

    Although the entire Western Hemisphere shook upon only inches of this being a Sergio victory, at least the European golf fans can exhale at the fact that the eight-year drought has ended.

Very true. Celebration time for the Euros.

From Matt in Atlanta:

    What are the chances that Harrington hits a driver on 18 in the playoff? Slim to none, and slim is on the train out of town?

Great question. We will see. But I wouldn't expect him to deviate much from his original strategy. He's had a game plan in mind for a while, so the score may dictate what club he hits, but I'm guessing it'll be driver again.

From Chris in Orlando:

    OK, make a call: Who has the edge in the playoff? Paddy had plenty of time to forget about his giveaway at 18. Sergio had the Claret Jug on the edge of the hole and it's still fresh in his brain. I like Paddy in this one.

I agree, but not for any reasons about concerning his mental state. Simply put, Harrington is a much, much better putter than Garcia. He burned the edge three times on putts on the back nine. He'll make more in the playoff than Sergio.

6:28 p.m.: Sergio puts a great stroke on it ... AND IT MISSES! Lips out on the left side and we've got a playoff!

Most exciting hole in golf? Absolutely.

We're going to the first tee box, as Garcia and Harrington, European Ryder Cup teammates, will play 1-16-17-18 in a cumulative playoff

6:26 p.m.: Sergio hits his bunker shot to 10 feet. And here it is, folks. We've talked for years about Garcia's lack of putting prowess. Now he has a midrange putt for the biggest stroke of his career.

6:20 p.m.: It's a 3-iron for Garcia, wind is actually blowing a little right-to-left ... and it finds the greenside bunker on the left side. He'll need to get up and down for the win.

6:16 p.m.: E-mail from reader Jeff:

    What is it about guys pulling out the big stick on the 18th? Obviously, there's adrenaline, but what about the caddie? If I were Padraig's caddie, I would say, "Buddy, you're in the lead, you have a great opportunity, play smart and take a deep breath. Here's a 3-iron."

It's a good thought, but it's not that easy. This is a 499-yard hole that plays into the wind. Garcia took out an iron and look how much of a carry -- and a tight one -- he has to reach the green.

Shades of Mickelson at Winged Foot. The 4-wood (or an iron) wasn't enough to set him up for a good approach, but he couldn't keep the driver straight.

6:14 p.m.: Sergio has played the 18th hole very well all week, making three pars, including yesterday when he hit 2-iron off the tee.

He takes 2-iron again today. It's right down the pipe, but he'll have 210 to carry the burn and about 225, 230 to reach the green. Remember, a green in reg and a simple 2-putt wins him the Claret Jug.

6:09 p.m.: Harrington chips to about 4 feet. He should be able to make double, which means Garcia wins with a par and likely forces a playoff with a bogey.

Drama!

Leads to this Blog Jinx in the form of an e-mail from Bob in Vero Beach, Fla.:

    It's probably too soon to say this, but I knew all the time Sergio was a lock.

Yep, that should be enough to ensure he finds the burn. Do we want to jinx him, folks?

Ah, just for the heck of it ... Sergio Garcia, Sergio Garcia, Sergio Garcia.

6:07 p.m.: So with Harrington having to drop and hit his 5th shot on 18, Sergio (at 8-under) will win with a par and probably even with a bogey if Harrington can't get up and down.

6:02 p.m.: Great question from Brian in Charleston, S.C.:

    Do you think this is the best finishing hole for any major course? The wind is
    down and people still struggle on it. The burns, the out of bounds like 20 feet
    left of the green. Just great theater.

Hmm ... better than St. Andrews, better than Pebble, better than Winged Foot, better than Augusta. Yeah, you might be right.

And right on cue, Harrington hits ANOTHER BALL INTO THE BURN!

Padraig Van de Velde, welcome to the world of infamy.

5:59 p.m.: This just in: Andres Romero just called off his press conference and is heading to the practice range. He's at 6-under, but you can never be too sure. Is that right, Paul Lawrie?

5:55 p.m.: Oh, no. Visions of You Know Who on 18 as Harrington's tee shot almost climbs across the bridge on the Barry Burn, but at the last second bounces right and plops into the water. Pure heartbreak.

Whatever you do, Paddy, don't take off your shoes and socks!!!

5:50 p.m.: Harrington makes par on 17, easy 2-putt. Now Sergio has a tough up-and-down on 16 ...

He's been inconsistent with his wedge from just off the green today, which may have factored into his decision to putt up the slope. And it's a good lag putt to about 3 feet. He should make par from there to remain within 1.

5:44 p.m.: Sergio looks like the Sergio we've all come to know and love with a balky par putt on 15, sliding it right as it never even scared the hole. That's a bogey, Harrington back in the lead.

5:37 p.m.: Harrington and Garcia still tied at the top at 9-under, which leads to this e-mail from reader Peter in Slovakia:

    Is it OK to mention the "P" word as opposed to the U.S. Open, where it was forbidden?

Absolutely. Playoff, playoff, playoff. Go ahead. Scream it from the hilltops. Unlike the Open, where a playoff means 18 more holes on Monday -- and no post-tourney golf for yours truly -- a playoff here consists of only four holes. If it's still tied after that, they'll go to sudden death. Considering the final group should be done at around 6:30 local time, they should have some three hours until it even starts to get too dark. I have a pretty good feeling we won't be back here tomorrow and I'll be playing my scheduled 36.

5:36 p.m.: Padraig Harrington misses another putt by a matter of millimeters, his ball resting on the lip but never falling at 16. That one hurts. He stays at 9-under.

5:34 p.m.: E-mail from reader Chris in Sacramento, Calif.:

    Through eight holes on the back nine, Andres Romero has only birdies and double-bogeys -- no pars nor any bogeys!

Make it all nine. Romero almost goes O.B. with his approach, chips on and 2-putts for bogey. That's a final-round 67 ... with 10 birdies! What is this -- the Reno-Tahoe Open?

5:30 p.m.: E-mail from reader Scott:

    If you were an NBA referee, who would your money be on to win the Open?

I went on record in our video podcast yesterday as saying I didn't think Sergio would win today. So I guess that leaves just Harrington. And with a bullet to about 5 feet on 16, his chances are only better now.

So, yeah, if I'm an NBA ref, I say let's take the couple grand I won on Lakers/Knicks and let it ride on the Irishman.

5:26 p.m.: Man, is Padraig Harrington rolling his rock today or what? Harrington just barely misses his birdie putt on 15. Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia has a 6-foot birdie putt on 14 to take a share of the lead ...

And it's good! That European major drought could be over, as Ryder Cup teammates Garcia and Harrington are 2 strokes clear of the pack at 9-under.

5:11 p.m.: Padraig Harrington makes up for those two missed birdie putts with an eagle on the par-5 14th. He's now tied for the lead at 9-under, but only because Romero hasn't finished 17 yet. When he does, Harrington will be the sole leader.

5:08 p.m.: Blog Jinx! Romero's "approach" hits the wood bordering the Barry Burn on 17 and caroms O.B.

Right on cue, e-mail from Chris in Orlando:

    Andres Romero ... you have a call waiting from a Mr. Jean Van de Velde ...

Yup, didn't see that joke coming, did you?

Meanwhile, Garcia makes birdie on 13. He's not dead yet -- far from it, in fact.

5:06 p.m.: Angel Cabrera won the U.S. Open. Andres Romero is leading the British. I'm starting to like Jose Coceres for the PGA, Eduardo Romero for the Senior British, Lionel Messi for FIFA Player of the Year and Diego Maradona to win the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

5:01 p.m.: Super Romero!!! Andres pours in another birdie putt, a 20-footer on 16! His sixth birdie on the back and 10th of the day.

Not to go overboard yet, but this is among the best final rounds in a major ever. Let's see if he can keep it together for two more holes.

4:58 p.m.: Well, if Tiger Woods is going to win a major this year, it's going to come at Southern Hills.

Woods capped a disappointing week by shooting a final-round 70. He's now T-12.

Afterward, he talked to the BBC:

    "Well, I wasn't as sharp as I needed to be. ... I was putting great, I just couldn't get myself close enough to make them. ... I had a chance, even though I didn't have my ball-striking where I needed it to be. You have to be sharp to win this week and I wasn't sharp enough to win this week.

4:54 p.m.: Padraig Harrington has missed two straight birdie putts by a combined 6 millimeters.

If those both dropped, he'd be the sole leader.

4:49 p.m.: Monocycle? More like monoputter. Andres Romero just made his fifth birdie in six holes and ninth of the day, a 20-foot putt that moves him to 8-under, in sole possession of the lead.

Ben Curtis. Todd Hamilton. Andres Romero? We may have to make room in the Club of Unlikely British Open Winners.

4:43 p.m.: For not the first time this week, I've gotten one wrong. The link I posted in reference to Andres Romero's monocycle fascination was incorrect. That's for circus acts.

No, Romero's ride is slightly, uh, more powerful. As reader Jock e-mails, THIS, my friends, is a monocycle.

My opinion of Andres Romero just went way up.

(And if that's Jock in that photo, well, let's just be happy he's on our side.)

4:34 p.m.: E-mail from reader Gonzalo in Spain, who notes that it's a big sports day in the country:

    We here in Spain are so nervous about Sergio. Today can be a great Spanish day in sport, as Fernando Alonso has a win in F1, Alberto Contador has a win in the Tour de France and Rafael Nadal is playing in a final in Stuttgart.

4:28 p.m.: According to David Mackintosh of the Buenos Aires Herald, Andres Romero's nickname is "Pigu," pronounced PEE-goo. Very nice. But what does it mean? "There is no literal translation," he tells me. Uh, OK, but to what does it refer? "It's just what they call him. It doesn't seem to have any meaning."

Maybe it means "bounce back." For the second time in five holes, Romero has followed a bad number (in this case a bogey on 11) with a birdie. He's 1 shot back.

4:22 p.m.: Padraig Harrington with a tap-in birdie on 11 and we have co-leaders once again, with Garcia and Harrington tied at 7-under.

I spoke to Paddy a few weeks ago and could tell how much he wanted to win this one. He was one of the only players who made a few extra trips to Carnoustie in an effort to see this course before last week. And rather than compete in the Scottish Open, he played in the Irish PGA at the European Club (one of my top-five personal faves, for what it's worth), so he could get a feel for playing a links course prior to the Open, rather than a parkland venue.

4:18 p.m.: Romero hits a tee shot way right on 12, makes double and Sergio is back in front. Still, this e-mail from Anthony in D.C. is pretty good:

    Is the shoulder of Sergio Garcia's mom warming up in the bullpen?

Does anyone know the Spanish word for "Kleenex"?

4:10 p.m.: Since I know you're wondering, here's everything you wanted to know about Andres Romero, but were afraid to ask (from the European Tour Web site):

    Another exciting Argentinian talent to emerge from the Challenge Tour -- but no relation to his famous countryman, Eduardo -- made a considerable impression on the 2006 European Tour with four top-10s including a share of second place behind Johan Edfors at the Barclays Scottish Open. Finished in 35th position on the Order of Merit before capping the year off with victory at the Masters Tournament Personal Cup in his homeland. Took up the game at the age of eight and is coached by his uncle, Miguel Romero. Has won three times in Central and South America and once in Europe at the Morson International Pro-Am Challenge, en route to taking the 14th card on offer through the final 2005 Challenge Tour Rankings. Was forced to give up his favorite hobby of monocycling when he turned professional as it was thought to be too dangerous a pastime!

Wait a second, that doesn't say motorcycling, it says ... monocycling? You're telling me he enjoys riding one of these? Uh, yeah, I suppose that could be too dangerous.

Andres Romero is trying to become the first acrobat to win the British Open. (Mungo Park wasn't an acrobat, right?)

3:59 p.m.: Let's hit a few rapid-fire e-mails from the in-box ...

From Dan in D.C.:

    Any word on if some think the course was set up too easy this time around, in order to make up for the 1999 setup? Or is the weather the primary reason for lower scores?

No question the R&A sets up their Open courses with the idea that weather will dictate the scores. The wind has not blown here for four days; it was windier during the practice rounds than the four days of the tournament. Had it kicked up, the winning score would be closer to even-par right now.

From Geoff:

    Are there major victories in Hunter Mahan's future?

I like Mahan a lot. He's got a steely resolve and has won on every level. I can definitely see him being a Zach Johnson-type in the future. He shot a bogey-free 65 today.

From Brian in Charleston, S.C.:

    How do you think Sergio Garcia's putter will affect him on the back nine?

It might not matter if his wedge continues to be as badly as it's been on the front. A second straight indifferent chip gives Sergio a second straight bogey and that's right, folks, it was just a matter of time, but as we all knew would happen eventually ...

Andres Romero is your British Open co-leader!

3:55 p.m.: Garcia misses on the high side, takes bogey and Andres Romero is within 1 shot.

As my colleague Bob Harig just joked to me, "Maybe he'll sign an incorrect scorecard." Growing up a golfer in Argentina and hearing the stories about Roberto De Vicenzo at the 1968 Masters, there can't ever, ever, ever be any way that any player from that country would ever make such a mistake again. Ever.

3:51 p.m.: Wow. Andres Romero, the unsung hero, chunks his approach shot into a greenside bunker on 11, then holes it for birdie.

Meanwhile, Sergio hits an indifferent chip from behind the seventh green and is going to have a tricky putt for par, about 15 feet or so. If he misses, the lead is 1.

3:44 p.m.: E-mail from reader Glen:

    The Big Easy looks good. What do you think his chances are?

I think Els has never quite been comfortable as the rabbit. In the 1994 U.S. Open, he got way down early in the Monday playoff, then came back to win. He wasn't the 54-hole leader in 1997, coming from behind on Sunday to win. And in 2002 at Muirfield, he had the lead, lost it, then got it back late.

Being a few strokes down seems to suit his mentality, though 3 down with nine to play may be one too many. He's got to shoot 32 on the back and hope Garcia shoots even-par.

3:40 p.m.: Sergio Garcia misses a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-5 sixth hole, then barely slides in the come-backer for par. Meanwhile, Steve Stricker's birdie attempt from even closer misses as well and the lead is still 3. An uncharacteristic gak for the great putter. Garcia dodged a bullet there.

At the same time, Romero bounces back with a birdie on 10 to move back to 6-under and watch out for Ernie Els, who's just plodding along, also 6-under through eight holes.

3:33 p.m.: Remember this name: Andres Romero. My media center seat neighbor, David Mackintosh of the Buenos Aires Herald, tells me the young Argentinian, "He can do this."

Exactly what this is? Win the tournament. That's right. Romero is trying to join countryman Angel Cabrera, who won the U.S. Open last month. He's now 3-under for the day through nine holes and 5-under overall, though a bogey on No. 9 just seconds ago obviously hurts his cause.

3:26 p.m.: By the way, here's the list that Green didn't make when he failed to par the final hole:

Masters:
Nick Price, 1986, third round
Greg Norman, 1996, first round

U.S. Open
Johnny Miller, 1973 (Oakmont), fourth round*
Jack Nicklaus, 1980 (Baltusrol), first round*
Tom Weiskopf, 1980 (Baltusrol), first round
Vijay Singh, 2003 (Olympia Fields), second round

British Open
Mark Hayes, 1977 (Turnberry), second round
Isao Aoki, 1980 (Muirfield), third round
Greg Norman, 1986 (Turnberry), second round*
Paul Broadhurst, 1990 (St. Andrews), third round
Jodie Mudd, 1991 (Royal Birkdale), fourth round
Nick Faldo, 1993 (Royal St. George's), second round
Payne Stewart, 1993 (Royal St. George's), fourth round

PGA Championship
Bruce Crampton, 1975 (Firestone), second round
Raymond Floyd, 1982 (Southern Hills), first round*
Gary Player, 1984 (Shoal Creek), second round
Vijay Singh, 1993 (Inverness), second round
Michael Bradley, 1995 (Riviera), first round
Brad Faxon, 1995 (Riviera), fourth round
Jose Maria Olazabal, 2000, (Valhalla), third round
Mark O'Meara, 2001 (Atlanta Athletic Club), second round

(* denotes player went on to win that major)

3:22 p.m.: Serves him right. Green lays up with his second shot and turns it into bogey for a 64. No history for him today. Well, except for a tie of that course record at a British Open that Stricker set yesterday.

The lesson, my friends: Never lay up.

3:18 p.m.: Green hits his tee shot into the left rough and has to layup with his approach before hitting his third shot to about 10-12 feet.

Yes, you read that right. A layup. C'mon, Richard!!! You've got a chance to shoot 62 if you get up and down, you'd be the answer to a trivia question, people would still be talking about you 100 years from now ... and you LAYUP!?

Very weak.

3:08 p.m.: Richard Green makes birdie on 17 and moves to 8-under for the day.

This is big, folks. Like really big. If Green can make birdie on the final hole, he'll shoot 62, which will be the lowest score ever recorded in 402 all-time major championships.

Even if he makes par, the 63 ties some two dozen others who currently share the record.

Of course, No. 18 is the toughest on the course, so it won't be easy.

3:04 p.m.: Can any and all notions that Ben Curtis is a fluke please be stopped? Sure, when he won the Open four years ago, that's exactly what he was, playing in just his first career major and backdooring into the victory.

But he added two more PGA Tour wins last year and just finished shooting a final-round 6-under 65. He's moved from 27th to T-10 on the leaderboard already.

2:57 p.m.: E-mail from reader Rick in N.Y.:

    When Sergio yells at his ball, is it in English or Spanish?

You've got questions, we've got answers. From Sergio:

    Q. When you hit that approach shot to 18, it looked like you might have said, "Be good." I'm wondering if that -- do you think in English on the golf course?
    SERGIO GARCIA: A little bit of both. Sometimes when I'm thinking to myself I think in Spanish, but most of the times -- the only time I speak Spanish is when I'm back home with my friends. I think my English is better than my Spanish at the moment (laughter). But, yeah, I think it's -- I don't know why. Maybe it's because I want [caddie] Glenn [Murray] to understand what I'm saying. Sometimes I do say it in Spanish, sometimes it comes out and I'll say like "baja" or "vuela" or something like that, but it's just one of those things.

    Q. How do you swear?
    SERGIO GARCIA: How do I swear? I don't swear (laughter).

He's certainly not swearing right now. Garcia makes birdie on No. 3, goes up by 4.

2:48 p.m.: Where am I?

After our morning fourball at nearby Downfield Golf Club was rained out (Rained out?! In Scotland?!), the drive to Carnoustie including seeing a woman walking down the street in a New England Patriots jersey (Tom Brady, of course) and a football practice at a local park.

That would be football as in American football, not soccer. Who knew?

2:42 p.m.: Thanks to reader David for finding this 2002 piece from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Gary D'Amato, chronicling the feud between Stricker and Garcia that began at The International that year. Been five years, so there's a good chance they've kissed and made up since then, but the interaction between them still remains an underlying subplot for the final round.

2:39 p.m.: Richard Green is pulling a Steve Stricker.

Yesterday, Stricker came from the middle of the pack to shoot a 7-under 64 and climb the leaderboard, all the way to second place. And now Green, a lanky, lefty Australian who plays full-time on the European Tour, is doing the same thing, currently 7-under for the day through 15 holes.

Just goes to show that there are scores to be had out there.

2:33 p.m.: I don't know if Sergio is the world's BPTHNWAM (that would be Best Player To Have Never Won A Major for those of you who didn't read many golf articles prior to the 2004 Masters), but his winless major record is quickly catching up to that of Phil Mickelson before he captured his first one.

As everyone knows, Lefty was 0-for-42 before claiming the green jacket three years ago, but what I didn't realize is that Sergio is already 0-for-34 entering this tournament. I guess that's what happens when you start playing elite-level golf at age 19.

By the way, he's got at least another 20 years of competitive golf left in him. That's 80 majors. If he wins a few along the way --which he will -- he'll likely continue playing the Masters and British, at least, through age, oh, 60 or so. If he does that, the very minimum, Sergio will play in 142 career majors.

Moral of the story: He may feel the pressure to win now, but he'll have plenty of more chances in the future, too.

2:29 p.m.: Nice to see the dreaded Blog Jinx works on Mother Nature, too. Just as I say what a nice day it's turning out to be, here comes the rain. But unless it starts coming down in sheets or the wind kicks up, don't expect it to affect scoring.

2:27 p.m.: One thing to watch out for today: I've heard through the grapevine that Garcia and Stricker aren't exactly the best of friends, stemming from an incident they had in the past year or two. Now, I haven't been able to confirm exactly what took place, but let's just say Sergio isn't a favorite of Stricker, who seems to get along with just about everybody on tour. If I hear more, I'll post it.

2:20 p.m.: Good afternoon from Carnoustie, where against all odds, it's actually turning into a beautiful day with perfect scoring conditions. The heavy rains that were supposed to affect yesterday's third round never came until the final pairing was in the clubhouse, but continued through the night and this morning, until ... the storms simply disappeared and the skies cleared up.

What we're left with is a very playable golf course, as rain has softened up the greens. Wind? What wind? There's nary a breeze blowing off the Firth of Tay, which means a repeat of Steve Stricker's course record-tying 64 -- or even something better -- could be in the cards today.

As Stricker and Sergio Garcia tee off, the are already some decent numbers being posted, as Ben Curtis is 6-under for the day through 14 holes and Tiger Woods is 2-under through six.

I stand by yesterday's comment that Garcia will win if he shoots even-par, but it'll be close. Looking forward to lots of questions and comments, so hit the link above and let's get going ...