Padraig unveils new swing as Cutler embarks on pro career
Published 22/09/2011 | 05:00
Padraig Harrington ranks high among European golf's most decorated players, but the Dubliner shares a similar goal with Paul Cutler at the Austrian Open this weekend as the Portstewart prospect steps out for the first time as a professional on Tour.
Like 22-year-old Walker Cup hero Cutler, Harrington hopes his first visit to Austria will represent a new beginning in his career as he beds in the swing changes suggested by Pete Cowen, who recently replaced the Dubliner's long-standing coach Bob Torrance.
Changes certainly needed to be made in Team Harrington to arrest his slide down the world rankings since August 2008, when he won his third Major championship in 13 months.
In three years, Harrington has tumbled 78 places to 81st in the global rankings, plummeting 58 rungs this year alone as he dropped out of golf's elite top 50. At present, he is 87th in the Race to Dubai and only a win this week would lift him back into the prestige top 60.
"My game has been up and down all year, as everyone knows, but I have seen a lot of positives recently," said golf's most famous optimist.
"I recently changed coach and have been making a few changes to my swing, which people will see this week," he added, explaining: "The main change that I think people will notice is that the backswing will be wider and shorter."
So, Harrington is as keen as Cutler to put his game to the test on Tour this week.
He'll be in good company in Austria, with Walker Cup comrades Tom Lewis and Andy Sullivan also making their professional debuts. Indeed, the Ulsterman tees it up this morning with Lewis in the same three-ball as Austria's European Amateur champion Manuel Trappel.
While Cutler has veteran English caddie Phil 'Wobbly' Morbey at his side, Lewis will be assisted by Harrington's former bagman, Dave McNeilly, before linking up with Colin Byrne at next week's Dunhill Links for the first outing of their planned stint together.
Encouraged by his impressive 21st place as an amateur at this summer's Irish Open in Killarney, Cutler has much going for him as he makes his professional bow.
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