Monday 16 January 2017

Harrington amazes once again

Joe Molloy

Published 26/10/2016 | 02:30

The Honda Classic win last year,in contention at The Open in St Andrews, this year at Portugal; there is always a buzz across Irish sport whenever ‘Pádraig is going well’. Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
The Honda Classic win last year,in contention at The Open in St Andrews, this year at Portugal; there is always a buzz across Irish sport whenever ‘Pádraig is going well’. Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Pádraig Harrington was on the show recently when we talked Ryder Cup 2016. There was a final question about the state of his game.

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He revealed he was concerned over a significant loss of length in recent weeks, both with his driver and irons. It was all very mysterious and troubling, but he was hoping a solution was on the horizon.

We signed off and frankly one held out little hope for him in Portugal. I suppose therein lies the lesson with a mind as wild and brilliant as his - never be surprised. He can will himself to do miraculous things. And his length looked just fine. A blasted 300-yard drive on the back nine jumps to mind.

Tiger Woods said recently that anything he wins from here on in '"is just gravy".

Harrington, our greatest sports person, is in similar territory, which perversely makes these latter wins all the sweeter.

They are bonus territory, to be celebrated safe in the knowledge that his greatness has long since been cemented.

The Honda Classic win last year, in contention at The Open in St Andrews, this year at Portugal; there is always a buzz across Irish sport whenever 'Pádraig is going well'.

All week he yanked up his trousers at the backside just before striking a shot. We nodded approvingly at the quest for improvement. Only Harrington could pull at his arse for four days and we'd love him all the more for it.

The win of course changes the trajectory of his season. He qualifies for the Race to Dubai finale where there is big money and hefty ranking points to be had. And his aim is quite straightforward: get back to Augusta next April and win tournaments, not least Majors.

All logic still suggests it's a tall order but this is not a man to write off. Four years ago he was in the horrors with the putting yips. In the last 18 months he has won on the PGA and European Tours. That's rare.

Partly because he has proven it and partly because he has said it to us and himself a billion times, all he needs to do is get himself in contention. Bring on the gravy.

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