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Harrington finds right balance

There is not another European in the Open next week who can match Padraig Harrington's three major titles.

But the Dubliner has made a frank admission - it was the fear of failure that turned him into one of the hardest workers in golf and overdoing things cost him tournaments.

Harrington has now warned of the danger of burnout for any player who thinks the only way to reach the top is to devote their whole life to the sport. He said: "I was so afraid of not playing well and not making the cut I over-practised. I was flogged by Sunday - I played better golf, but scored worse because I was making bad decisions."

He added: "There was a time I'd keep things to myself, but I'm getting to an age now where I'm not so worried about telling people.

"I still believe I'm guilty of overdoing my golf. I think there's a balance to everything and if all you're doing is working on your fitness and your game you won't last more than a couple of years before you go off the rails.

"You would burn out very quickly if that's all there is. I'm sure he does not mind me quoting him, but you would end up like David Duval, winning the Open Championship and going 'Is that it?'. There has to be more to your life."

Duval quit the game for a while after his triumph at Lytham a decade ago and was down at 882nd in the world when, almost out of nowhere, he was a joint runner-up at the 2009 US Open. He is currently 294th.

Harrington's major victories have helped to take European golf to new heights in recent seasons. But he believes there is no hiding place in Europe once you become a star.

"We're not like the States. If you go to an event in Europe you might have 10 marquee names and they are expected to perform," he said.

"They put posters up and you've got to deliver - there's nowhere to hide. In the States it's easy to hide. The European Tour definitely develop their players better."

© Press Association