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Harrington: I'm Major material

PADRAIG HARRINGTON believes he could be the man to receive the famous green jacket in Augusta's Butler's Cabin come Sunday evening.

Harrington has slipped dangerously close to falling out of the world's top 100 -- he's placed in 96th -- but points out that he is one of the most decorated players in this week's field at the Augusta National.

"I had to point out that nobody has won more majors in the last five years than me," he said. "If we took this as a detached thing and we moved 25 years forward, I would be the player you'd say most likely to win because I've won the most majors in recent history. I have to look on it like that. If I get on-form, I could be the man.

"I would love to win a Masters. The Masters is a tremendous examination and the reason for that is that is it harder to win on this golf course.

"I have come close in US Opens and I have won the other two (the USPGA and British Open). But then I have only been nervous once or twice in all 12 years here at Augusta when I've been nervous coming down the last few holes.

"It's a tough track. Your distance control has to be really good and you have to putt and chip and drive it really well. It's not like I can turn up and wave a magic wand to say that I am going to win.

"I can only just play my game and do my thing and if it happens, it happens."


His opening round 61 in the Transitions tournament last month gave a glimpse of the Harrington sweeping all before him in 2008, but he fell away over the course of the weekend in Florida .

If he is to cause a shock this weekend, his putting must improve drastically.

"Certain aspects of my game have never been better, lot's of good stuff," said Harrington, before conceding: "Putting is the most important element. It would be great to see, what that comes back, how things will be. The thing is, my putting stroke has been perfect. I've perfect roll. Perfect strike.

"Everything perfect. Put me on any of those machines, the pace of my stroke, the length, elevation, rhythm, strike. Everything is perfect."

Harrington believes his putting is suffering because it is going too well.

"When you're putting badly and everything is perfect, where do you look for a problem? That's the interesting part. I've putt my best over the years, and this is going to sound very weird, when fighting an element of your putting. Say for example when you're worried about hitting a pull and you're defending something. I haven't had that," he added.

The Dubliner does not subscribe to the notion that his age is a factor.

"There are some great putters on the Seniors Tour, so that's rubbish. I do subscribe to the notion that you change as a player, in that you go from being fearless to experienced. But putting wise? Nah," he said.

"I do feel I have moved from feeling like a rookie but I don't feel like a grizzled veteran.

"I feel like I have maturity, that I'm in the middle of my career."