Room with a view to show off Padraig's mementos
Superstar Padraig Harrington returned to the golf course where it all began yesterday to open a special room filled with mementos from his illustrious career.
The 39-year-old was given a hero's welcome as he arrived in Stackstown Golf Club in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, to cut the ribbon on what will now be known as the 'Harrington Room' -- a space filled with trophies, jackets, scorecards, photographs and other souvenirs from his life on the greens.
The club has been synonymous with the gardai -- with 40pc of its members from the force -- after it was founded by former commissioner Edmund Garvey in the mid-1970s.
It was there where Harrington, generally recognised as Ireland's greatest ever golfer, took his first steps on the fairways and even did some work as a child by flattening out one of the greens when the course was under construction.
Yesterday the door to the 'Harrington Room' -- and to the five different sections inside -- was opened. The displays cover his career from amateur up to his most recent victories.
Among the items on show are blazers, numerous pieces of crystal and a replica of the Claret Jug he received when he won the British Open in 2008.
There are also some items which he may want to forget such as the scorecards from the Benson and Hedges International at the Belfry in 2001. He was disqualified on the final day of the competition after it was discovered he had failed to sign his card.
Harrington said "they have left some room" for more trophies and said he is currently in the prime of his playing career, having already won three major titles. Stackstown is also where Harrington met his wife, Caroline, and yesterday he recounted the story of seeing her when she was 16 and he 18 on the first day she joined the club.
"Golf wasn't the only thing on our minds anyway," he said of he and his friends.
The room was the brainchild of the former chief officer of the Criminal Assets Bureau, Felix McKenna, who worked with Dermot Gregan -- Mr Harrington's father-in-law -- to collate the material.
The pair then put together the collection of some 200 items that had been in Harrington's attic in Rathmichael and his mother Breda's house in Rathfarnham.