Tuesday 6 December 2016

Harrington severs links with coach Torrance

DERMOT GILLEECE, in Killarney

Published 31/07/2011 | 05:00

High drama found an unlikely location during the Irish Open at Killarney yesterday.

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Away from the competitive action of the Killeen Course, it happened on the practice ground where Padraig Harrington revealed that after 13 years together, he has split with coach, Bob Torrance.

This can be viewed only as an attempt by the three-time Major winner at revitalising a career which has been seriously lacking in sparkle for much of the last three years. But there is no indication as to a possible replacement.

"I have no clear plans, other than that I intend to experiment," he said. "That means being prepared to listen to fresh ideas. If I win a tournament next week or in six weeks' time, or in two years' time or in 10 years' time, my swing will be based on what Bob has taught me. At the end of the day, that is never going to change. He has shaped and put his mark on my golf swing that will be there for the rest of my life."

Harrington made the decision on Friday evening after missing the cut for a second time in three years, and informed Torrance yesterday morning. Shortly afterwards, the grizzled Scot, who will be 80 later this year, cut a sad figure as he and his wife, June, headed back to their hotel.

Meanwhile, on the course, where galleries of 22,703 were almost 2,000 up on last year, the Irish performance of the day came from an amateur. Portstewart's Paul Cutler, the 22-year-old West of Ireland and Irish Close champion, overcame a mid-round crisis to card a 71 which ended eagle, par, birdie. "It could have gone sour on me after bogeys at the eighth, 11th and 12th," he said afterwards. "But I'm delighted with the way I finished, particularly the eagle on 16. I hope the Walker Cup selectors are taking note."

In scoring terms, Peter Lawrie was a shot better off on seven-under par, four strokes behind the joint leaders, David Howell, Simon Dyson and Richard Green. His 70 was especially creditable, given that it included a double-bogey six at the difficult 13th.

"That was a stupid decision," said the Dubliner, who shares eighth place. "In attempting to go for the green out of thick rough, I succeeded only in getting myself into worse trouble. It was a costly mistake."

To his credit, Rory McIlroy kept up the fight after a horrible, double-bogey start where he took two to recover from the lakeside hazard. Still, his 72 for three-under-par overall, effectively knocked him out of contention.

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