There’s a real benefit to George Lee’s recent elevation to savior of the nation as one of the newest members of the Dail (Parliament) -- we no longer have to listen to his moans and groans on our national radio station.

What with Charlie Bird now safely landed in Washington as American correspondent and Eamon Dunphy retired from his Saturday morning show, RTE Radio is suddenly attractive again.

You see, one of the reasons Ireland is currently in recession is down to the likes of George Lee, Eddie Hobbs, David McWilliams and their likes.

For years now they have droning on and on and on about the excesses of the Celtic Tiger and the fact that we have all lived beyond our means for about a decade or so.

They were right of course, as the current boom in unemployment figures and the fall in the value of all our houses will tell you.

But I have long been of the opinion that if someone keeps telling you that there’s a crisis looming every time you turn on the television or radio, then eventually said crisis will arrive.

It was very hard not to believe we were all headed for a massive fall if the likes of George and Eddie and David kept telling us we were all heading for the very same massive fall.

Now that their predictions have come true there is certain smugness about the prophets of doom that has, among other things, helped Lee into the Dail on the Fine Gael ticket.

He’s still making noise of course, but we don’t hear it as regularly as we did in his days as RTE’s master of economics.

Likewise Hobbs, who does write an entertaining column for the Star every week, and McWilliams have disappeared somewhat from the public view, which is no bad thing as far as McWilliams is concerned.

I came across him some years ago when he had the cheek to dismiss the pre-Celtic Tiger generations -- to which I belong -- and even managed to deride the great Horslips, the band that brought rock and roll to Ireland when Bono was still in nappies.

Horslips, like the 1980s style recession, are back, and I have just bought tickets for their Dublin gig at the 02 in December, something I am really looking forward to no matter what McWilliams thinks of them or those of us who followed them in our youth.

I won’t be looking out for him when we are shaking all over on December 5, and I doubt many of my fellow Horslips fans will be too worried about his opinion of the band when they return in triumph to the 02 after 20-plus years in retirement.

I’m also fairly sure that Horslips themselves will be all but oblivious to any opinion McWilliams has of them. They’re too old in the tooth to have to worry about his likes, and the speed with which their tickets are selling for the Dublin and Belfast shows suggests they needn’t worry about it either.

To turn this back into a sporting column, it’s time to talk golf.

Padraig Harrington, I suspect, has the same opinion of the critics as Messrs Fean, Carr, Devlin, O’Connor and Lockhart from the Horslips crew as he prepares for one of the biggest weeks of his life.

For months now those who know something about golf and those who don’t have been scrutinizing Harrington’s game with a fine toothcomb.

He has been persecuted for trying to perfect his swing, harangued for constantly tweaking his stroke and all but persecuted for trying to better himself.

A succession of missed cuts -- he fell at the halfway mark in Paris on Friday, a fifth straight missed cut which included his U.S. Open mishap -- has only served to fuel the critics ahead of his defense of his British Open title at Turnberry next week.

Sports reporters, news reporters and even the odd psychologist or two has been called upon to analyze Harrington’s current problems on the course.

Those who think they know will tell you that he should stop tinkering and simply go back to the swing that won him three majors in the last two years, ignoring the fact that he has always tinkered with his swing throughout his career.

Those who really do know what he’s doing aren’t that worried about him, like his Ryder Cup teammate Darren Clarke for example.

Asked about Harrington’s current dilemma ahead of the British Open, Clarke commented, “I will tell you one thing now and Padraig being Padraig, he is just as liable to easily turn it all around and win the Open.

“You only have to take a look at last year. He had a very average year apart from winning the two Majors.”

Harrington himself is refusing to call for the lifeboats ahead of Turnberry, and he’s dead right. Only he knows what is right for his game no matter what the rest of us think.

And before we cast any more aspersions on his sporting character ahead of next week’s Open challenge in Scotland, we should acknowledge that he knew what it took to win in Carnoustie and Birkdale in recent years.

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