Padraig Harrington wants to prove life can begin at 40 in the British Open at Sandwich on Thursday – and he’s not too worried about the 54 number hanging around his neck either.
Dubliner Harrington celebrates his 40th birthday next month adamant that he is still young enough to win a fourth major – even if his current world ranking of 54 might suggest otherwise.
He’s now nine years older than 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell and a whopping 18 years Rory McIlroy’s senior but double British Open champion Harrington is in no mood to become the grandfather of Irish golf.
“There’s a thing in gambling called Elliot’s Form Guide which suggests that a male player will win when he’s 29 and 30 and 39 and 40 because he’s got a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove,” laughed Harrington as all three Irish winners prepare for action at Royal St George’s.
“Elliot will also suggest that a golfer will win when he has his first born male child. They are strange reasons to tip winners but there you go, 39 and 40 are ages to win at.
“Personally, I don’t believe that age is a big factor with golf anymore. Fitness is an issue - your speed and your strength and agility are all something you can maintain now as you get older.
“And mentality is important as well. Burnout can be an issue but not age as far as I am concerned. I don’t see it as a big issue.
“Rory has proved you can win a major at 23 and Jack Nicklaus has done it at 46. I accept that years ago, pros were gone into retirement almost at my age but not anymore. There’s no reason why I have to stop winning majors just because I’m about to hit 40.”
That 54th place in the world rankings is another big concern for Harrington’s legions of Irish fans but not for the man himself.
“I’m not worried about being 54th in the world because I believe I’m better than that and I will be better than that,” argued Harrington.
“I would be worried about being 54th in the world if I felt like I was on a slippery slope but I don’t. I believe that this is a natural part of my career in the sense that in every career there are peaks and troughs.
“I just think that this is a little trough but I believe that the peak is going to be higher than it was before. I would like that the next peak meant higher results than before but the results were pretty spectacular before.
“I do believe I’m going to play better golf so I’m confident about where I’m at and where I’m going.”