Padraig Harrington primed for big return
Fresh from posting his best Major finish in nearly four years, Padraig Harrington has set his sights on landing another top title.
The workaholic Irishman spectacularly fell from grace after an astonishing run in 2007 and 2008, when he captured back-to-back Opens and the US PGA Championship.
High-profile, and some would say needless, changes to his golf swing saw Harrington plummet from third in the world rankings to 96th and he came into last week’s Masters with questions still surrounding his ability to get back to the top of the game.
However, the 40-year-old treated his fans to some vintage play over the final two rounds, briefly coming into contention for a first Green Jacket before eventually finishing eighth.
And his Georgia jaunt has Harrington believing it’s only the start of a massive comeback on the Major scene.
“I was very composed and relaxed,” the world No.80 said, despite his six on the par-four 18th on Sunday.
“Doubling the last cost me money, but nothing else. Maybe one day coming down 18 I will have to hole that putt that I three-putted and I will know it is quick.
“I was on an even keel all day - there were no highs or lows in my round at all. I’d be happy if I was like that every Sunday at a Major because you are going to win plenty playing golf like that.
“I feel like I was in a very comfortable place,” Harrington added. “I haven’t been putting well and I putted really well. I am going to take a lot of comfort away from this - there were a lot of good things.”
The constant tinkering of his technique has also had an effect on the mental side of his game, as for the best part of three years Harrington has looked far removed from the man who brilliantly held his nerve to win three Majors in 13 months.
The signs of a recent upswing in fortune have been there, though. The Dublin-born star came tied-seventh at AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, and then last month began the Transitions Championship in Florida with a 61 - the lowest round of his professional career.
Harrington is staying in America for this week’s RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in South Carolina and, with top dog Luke Donald (pictured below) the only member of the world’s top 10 in the field, it is a golden opportunity to make further progress.
And that, Harrington declared, can only bode well for his quest to finally add to that Major haul. “I was very comfortable on the golf course this week, which bodes well for future Masters,” he confirmed.
“I feel like I found a very nice place mentally. There’s good things in me going forward. I’ve won three Majors, but that’s the most comfortable I’ve felt through 18 holes in the last round of a Major. I feel I’m on an upswing, an upturn in my game.
“So yeah, I’m looking forward to going forward.”