Wednesday 13 December 2017

'It's Shane Lowry's fault for reading it' - Padraig Harrington claims it's 'bizarre' for pros to react to online abuse

Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry (inset)
Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry (inset) Newsdesk Newsdesk

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington has told compatriot Shane Lowry not to let social media abuse stick in his craw.

The Offaly native is an active Twitter user but there are definitely positives and negatives to using social media to interact with fans.

"There are a lot of geniuses out there who tell you what you should and shouldn't be doing, like people telling me I should work harder," Lowry said.

"That is the era we live in. I laugh it off. It definitely doesn't bother me. I think that's boring.

"There are genuine people that follow you and want to know you and what you're like."

Harrington has never shied away from media duties but has only read ONE article about himself in his entire career.

He boasts just under 90,000 followers but was bemused at how fellow professionals, like Lowry, have allowed themselves to be influenced by keyboard warriors.

Speaking ahead of this week's Irish Open at Portstewart, he said: "I used to be able to say that I've never read anything written about me since I was 18 years of age."

"But then somebody recently convinced me to read an article written about me. And I continue since that article not to read anything written about me.

"Players, as you know, sports people, as you know, have huge issues with what's written about them by the professional media.

"Can you imagine getting into and reading what's written about you by a mix of non-professional people?

"It just seems bizarre to read what would be on social media, because it's coming from experts and complete non-experts.

"So why would you read it?

"As a sportsperson, you are foolish to let everybody outside your immediate circle influence how you operate, and reading social media is letting outsiders have a part of you.

"It's Shane's fault for reading it. There can be good stuff on it, there can also be random stuff on it which would put you off.

"Shane has found it frustrating.

"Obviously you can't curtail the media, that would be censorship and I used to say that would mean you're living in North Korea, but you could be living in the US, as well."

Also, Harrington admits he has become far more cautious about where he stands when giving lessons following the freak accident in June which left him needing six stitches.

And although he can laugh about it now, the three-time major winner knows it was potentially career-ending.

"I don't think I would compete as a professional golfer if I had broken the elbow," Harrington added. "You're not coming back from an injury like that, to full health, full fitness, no matter what you do.

"With the way the modern game has gone, I'm 45 but I'm trying to hit the golf ball like a 20-year-old. You wouldn't do that with a broken elbow coming back from it. So yeah, it would have been the end of me, no doubt about it."

He tweeted an image of a gift sent to him by the amateur who injured him.

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