It was Bob Torrance who said, following his star pupil's Open triumph at Carnoustie, that he suddenly had to travel to Dublin to give lessons rather than expecting Padraig Harrington to come to him.
So it figures that on a wintry Wednesday morning with snow covering the putting green outside Harrington's house, there ar a number of men inside who, like Torrance, have now realised that it is the turn of the "mountains" to come to Mohammed.
Padraig is standing by the front door in his socks, welcoming new arrivals. A huge central staircase rises out of a spacious hallway and on the floor is a perfect line of 10 pairs of shoes. From the kitchen comes the sound of men laughing, a kettle boiling, TV news blaring and two-year-old Ciaran helping Scooby Doo and his chums arrest some baddies that are hiding out in the playroom.
If you believe Mrs Harrington, it's often like this. There's a bizz about the place that, in this instance, is caused by Padraig preparing for the season ahead. The Wilson Tour van is parked in the drive and gathered together is his clubmaker, his manager, his putting and biomechanical coach and his caddie. Team Harrington is having breakfast.
And just in case they ever need reminding why they're there, of if Padraig ever gets out of bed on the wrong side, there are two silver Claret Jugs centred in the middle of the breakfast bar, to brighten frowns and fortify focus.
The Harringtons have lived in this rather splendid home for six years. It took two to build and Padraig was particular about all the things he needed. The hall is abound with doors on all sides, one of them leading to a fully-equipped gym with stairs on the far side dropping down into the sort of swing studio that, to a golfer, would be like a tuck shop to Billy Bunter. A huge net, pressure mats, a computer system, a rack of putters and one of those big storage racks used for stacking second-hand clubs.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Padraig is fiddling about with a new state-of-the-art coffee maker. "Do you know how to work this?" he asks without looking up. "It doesn't boil the water it just heats it up as it pumps it through."
The result is two teas as we sit down at the dining room table and place our mugs on coasters that have Harrington's beaming face on them as he holds the Claret Jug for the first time at Carnoustie.
You can't get away from Major reminders and why should you want to? Here, we're in the shadow of the US PGA's huge Wannamaker Trophy, but even this is not full size. It's a 90 per cent copy because full-sized replicas as not allowed. All the names are there, meticulously engraved on every square inch of spare silverware. Jack Nicklaus is written on the lid and at the bottom is 'Padraig Harrintgon 2009'.
"You haven't updated it?"
"Oh I will," he says, "I don't mind if I have to put a few names in between mine!"
The focus of the day is to get his new set of irons ready and it's a significant opportunity for Wilson who've finally got hime to change from his old Pi5's to the new FG Tours.
For Harrington it all started with Wilson 33 years ago. "The first club I ever used was a Gene Sarazen Wilson 8-iron that had a blue grip with a hole in it. I probably still have it somewhere. I was five."
But the equipment story with Padraig is a fascinating one, including sharing a set of irons with his brother until he was at least 15 when he was playing for the Irish boys side. They had a fake set of Ping Eye irons with Padraig using the evens and his brother the odds. Actually he has four brothers, named Fergal, Fintan, Columb and Tadhg, but let's not confuse the issue.
Padraig still remembers taking his clubs (worth 110 Irish punts) and bumping into a Swedish player who had a real set of Pings with beryllium heads and graphite shafts worth £1,900. It was like Dick Whittington finding that the streets of London really were paved with gold.
But even from this early age, this lad never let vanity get in the way of a good score. He could have used flashy blades like everyone else, but when he got his new set of Maxfli irons, he chose perimeter weighted ones rather than the top of the range "better player" model.
"I wanted to use the blades, but I also wanted as much help as I could get. I wasn't good enough for blades. I was always sensible enough not to fall into that trap.
"I mean, I'm using a 4-hybrid now and the grief I get for having a 4-iron hybrid in my bag is enormous.
"I've told my caddie that if he calls it a 9-wood and gets heard on TV then he's getting the sack."
"Does he call it a 9-wood?" GW asks.
"Does he ever. Every chance he gets," Padraig replies. "The fact is, in my bag at the moment, you have driver, 3-wood, 5-wood and two hybrids, one with a headcover and the other not. That's because I refuse to have five headcovers. So I do have some pride, but not when it comes to performance. As much as it hurts me deeply to carry a fifth wood, it gets the job done. I think that's true all the way through my career. I want something that looks good, but it's performance that matters the most.
So there you have it, the deliciously quirky world of a golf superstar. But one can'y help feeling that the Harrington thought process requires equal amounts of logic and wisdom, plus an all important, undefined ingredient that is familiar only to Mary Poppings.
Here's a man who, for the last umpteen seasons, has taken 24 clubs to every tournament so that he can make up a mix of different sets depending on the course.
Here's a man who freely admits that he uses a putter that doesn't suit his stroke, but is embroiled in a fight with his inner psyche that prevents him from making the change. That's one's example of: Logic and wisdom 0 Poppins magic 1.
Then there's the question of grips. If you look at his clubs closely it's immediately apparent that the grips are not on straight. They look like they've been applied by someone who's had one too many hot toddies. If you were to place your hands down the centre of the grip then the clubface would be 45 degrees open.
Word has it that Bernhard Langer did this to try and take out the left side of the course, although it appears that he wasn't the only one.
Speaking slowly, Padraig counts out exponents of the wonky grip on his fingers. "Langer...Nick Price...Ben Hogan...Sam Snead and," wait for it, "David Lynn."
News flash: if you want to win Majors then put your grips on crooked. Of course, it's not quite as easy as
that. Just ask David Lynn!
"We di it because we like to feel the rib under the grip more in the fingers of the left hand," explains Padraig.
"It's a comfort thing more than anything else. It might help to stop hooking it when you first put it on, but, like everything in golf, you just get used to it."
The putter issue is harder to explain and even Padraig concedes defeat to his own idiosyncrasies. "I'm always someone who blames me rather than my tools," he says.
"My putter doesn't suit my stroke, yet I'm still using it. The thing that's good about my putter is that I'm familiar with it. It's toe-weighted, so I tend to get hook spin with it.
"I putt better with a face-balanced model and I'm testing one from Wilson at the moment."
His two-bay policy is out of the window for this season owing to the new groove rule. The playing characteristics of the V (legal) and box (illegal) grooves were so different, particularly from the rough, that Harrington would have a set of each.
He'd then pick and choose, a bit like a football manager picking a team for his next match. At The Open he used V-grooves, in the Dubai World Championship it was all box grooves, but in China it was a mix.
"I explained this to two pros last week and they looked at me like I had two heads," he admits. "But from two-inch rough, there's 40 yards difference between the 7-iron in each set.
"I played with box grooves for a year and it meant that I couldn't hit my 7-iron longer then 130 yards from the rough. The 7-iron with V-grooves would fly 170, no problem, so that's a difference of 40 yards,"
It becomes more complicated when you try and tie Harrington down to specific examples. For instance, when did he just use the now defunct box grooves?
"A good example would be the Dunhill. Sorry no. I'd use V...actually I'd use a composite of the two. I'd mix them up. So I might have a V groove 7-iron, knowing it goes 170 yards, but out of the rough I'd hit the box groove 6-iron. I may get a flier with the 7, so I could hit the 7 safe in the knowledge that I won't get a flier."
Padraig is now talking half swings with box, three quarter swings with Vs and I'm thinking, 'Thank God for the rule change'.
"If I was amateur I'd still mix things. As a competitive amateur, I'd probably carry a V-groove 7-iron, then box groove the rest. Then I'd know that if I needed some distance out of the rough I could use that club."
The fact that Harrington no longer has to worry himself about grooves meansthat he's free to focus on winning more Majors. He might get to live a bit longer, too.
Words by Peter Masters, Golf World, April 2010.