Padraig Harrington of Dublin becomes the first Irish golfer to win the British Open in 60 years on July 22, 2007, when he snatches victory from the jaws of defeat at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland.
At the 2007 Open Championship, Harrington defeats Sergio García in a four-hole playoff at Carnoustie, becoming the first Irishman to win The Open Championship in 60 years, and the first ever from the Republic of Ireland. Both players go into the playoff having shot a 7-under 277 for the championship. Harrington subsequently wins by one stroke in the playoff.
Harrington is the first European golfer to secure a major victory since Paul Lawrie on the same course in 1999 and Ireland’s first since Fred Daly in 1947. President Mary McAleese is the first to convey her congratulations to Harrington, while Labour sports spokesman Jack Wall says, “Padraig Harrington’s magnificent victory in the Open without doubt represents one of the greatest days in the history of Irish sport.”
A year later at the 2008 Open Championship, it is unclear if he would get a chance to defend his Open title at Royal Birkdale Golf Club as eight days prior to the event he injures his wrist. However, Harrington successfully defends his title, overcoming a 2-shot deficit to Greg Norman with a final round 69. He shoots a four-under-par 32 on the back nine, which enables him to pull away from Norman and Ian Poulter. His eagle on the par-5 17th all but seals the tournament. He is the first European golfer since James Braid in 1906 to retain the Claret Jug. The win moves him from fourteenth to third in the world rankings, behind only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Just three weeks after winning the 2008 Open Championship, Harrington wins the PGA Championship over the South Course of the Oakland Hills Country Club, for his third major. Although at five over par after two rounds, he shoots eight under par for the weekend, carding successive scores of 66 in both the third and fourth rounds. His three under par 277 is two shots ahead of Sergio García and Ben Curtis. Harrington becomes the first European to win the PGA Championship since Tommy Armour in 1930, and is the first winner from Ireland.