Padraig Harrington left Kerry yesterday on his private jet, and embarked on a brave new era in his fabled golfing career.
The Dubliner, considered Ireland’s greatest ever golfer, plays in this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, ahead of the USPGA Championship, this season’s last Major tournament.
Harrington’s made a recent crawl up the golfing world rankings to fifteenth place, and is said to be in buoyant form about his game and about his prospects.
“My good and my bad shots are both coming from my focus. So, when I’m in that area of my game, I do tend to play well. I just have to be a bit tighter all the time and trust it more. I know these are all clichés, but it is all part of trusting it and accepting it and just easing up a little and letting it happen.
“If I do that, and that’s what I’ll concentrate on this week and obviously taper down going into the PGA, hopefully, I’ll be ready to go,” Harrington told an Irish newspaper.
Harrington’s also said that he intends working more on the mental side of his game, a reference to the mental strength which athletes are increasingly focusing on developing at the top levels of competition.
“Yeah, short game-wise, that’s probably one of the best weeks I’ve had all year,” Harrington said of the 3 Irish Open, “So, going forward, that’s very positive . . . it’s a tough course, Akron. It’s probably one of the narrowest fairways of the year and you’ve got to pay attention all the time. Very, very fast greens too. I had a good year there last year. I’ve had some okay, average years before that. We’ll wait and see how I get on,” the golfer said.
Harrington’s standalone runner-up finish has also increased his chances of competing in this year’s Ryder Cup, to take place in Wales, and vice-captain and fellow Irish golfer Paul McGinley observed that: “If Pádraig shows a bit of form over the next four weeks, he is obviously a lock-on for a pick. I’d be very surprised and disappointed if Pádraig is not on the team.”
And Padraig’s also headed back to the drawing board.
He’s used the intervening period between the competitions to spend some quality time with his coach:
“I’ve decided to straighten out some things,” Harrington said,
“ I’m only getting there Tuesday evening, so I’ll need to do a bit of preparation Wednesday and if I can go there with a good frame of mind, hopefully I can have a good week
“The greens are one of the best surfaces we play on all year . . . I definitely focus on the big events, so I don’t think I will have any trouble getting up for the next two weeks.
“If I can go there with my game in good shape, hopefully, I’ll have a good chance.”