Saturday 17 March 2018

Ian Mallon: Time to celebrate Harrington's incredible 14 years among golf's elite

Padraig Harrington steps off a jet with the Claret Jug in 2008
Padraig Harrington steps off a jet with the Claret Jug in 2008

TO READ some of the press this week the entire nation should be in mourning after Padraig Harrington’s terrible tumble from the world top 100.

This, as some commentators would have you think, is a devastating time for Harrington as he slipped outside the top one hundred golfers on the planet for the first time in 14 years.

The mournful tones about our greatest and most successful sportsman are out of place, at a time that should celebrate the man and his triple major winning achievements.

Shane Lowry made this point on Off The Ball on Wednesday when he said that instead of saying how terrible it is, we should instead be saying “isn’t it great” that Padraig was inside the Top 100 for 14 years.

Padraig Harrington is still relatively young in golfing terms, he is 42 years old, and there is nothing to suggest that this is the end of the line for Dubliner.

This week after a poor showing in Bermuda where he finished last Harrington announced he was taking a lengthy break from golf.

Harrington has never one to shirk from a serious analysis into his game whether he is playing good or bad, and his poor showing in the late season is simply down to being “over-golfed” and “staleness”.

Let’s all remember the joy and the thrilling sense of pride that he brought us when winning two consecutive British Opens and a USPGA title.

In a brilliant Sunday Independent interview with Paul Kimmage Harrington told about how hard he has had to seek out the skills to find his game without having the natural talents of a Rory or a Tiger.

“The only thing I know is that it never came easy to me. It’s always been a search,” he said.

And once Padraig catches up on some needed rest, he will come back because as he says himself: “That’s who I am.”

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