|Feb 13||Clune Construction Signs PGA Golfer Padraig Harrington as Official Ambassador||More >|
|May 12||Padraig to "Wear the Laces" for Special Olympics at the The Players Championship||More >|
|May 12||Local School Children Meet Golfing Hero Padraig Harrington||More >|
|Mar 12||Brands support Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation Initiative||More >|
|Jul 11||Harrington goes for Irish Open title wearing the laces for Special Olympics||More >|
|Jul 11||The HSBC Ultimate Open 18||More >|
|Jun 11||Padraig Open 'Sarazen' Bunker at Prince's||More >|
|May 10||Padraig Harrington Unveiled as Ireland's Golf Ambassador||More >|
|May 10||Harrington's Appointment As Global Ambassador is Special||More >|
|May 10||Golfer Padraig Harrington Joins Special Olympics||More >|
|Mar 10||Get The Most From Your Gear||More >|
|Nov 09||Harrington finds time for others even in worst moment||More >|
|Sep 09||Padraig to headline Portugal Masters||More >|
|Jul 09||Cannon inspired by Harrington Golf||More >|
|Jul 09||Padraig embraces fame, strives to improve||More >|
|Jul 09||Work, Rest and Play||More >|
|Apr 09||R&A hail champion Harrington||More >|
|Apr 09||Padraig - Pre Masters interview||More >|
|Mar 09||Stackstown open 'Harrington Room'||More >|
|Feb 09||Interview before the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am||More >|
|Feb 09||Interview before the 2009 Buick Invitational||More >|
|Feb 09||He won me the Open at Carnoustie||More >|
|Jan 09||Harrington - King of the Mountain||More >|
|Jan 09||Ronan Flood Q&A||More >|
|Jan 09||Another award for Padraig||More >|
|Dec 08||Padraig Harrington - a Celebration||More >|
|Dec 08||Padraig wins Sportsperson of the Year||More >|
|Dec 08||PGA Tour - Player of the Year 2008||More >|
|Dec 08||Padraig retains Golf writers' honour||More >|
|Dec 08||Padraig - More to Come||More >|
|Dec 08||Padraig named European Golfer of the Year||More >|
|Dec 08||Padraig wins European Tour Shot of the Year||More >|
|Nov 08||My Sportsman: Padraig Harrington||More >|
|Nov 08||The trials of Padraig Harrington, Mr Perfection||More >|
|Oct 08||2008 PGA of America Player of the Year||More >|
|Oct 08||Man of the moment is never short of a Bob||More >|
|Sep 08||Padraig wins Shot of the Month Aug 08||More >|
|Sep 08||That's one, two, three.||More >|
|Sep 08||A legend in the making||More >|
|Sep 08||Do I think I can improve as a player ?||More >|
|Sep 08||Double the Champion||More >|
|Aug 08||Padraig wins Shot of the Month July 08||More >|
|Aug 08||The Champ's Press Conference||More >|
|Aug 08||'I didn't want to give the Jug back!'||More >|
|Jul 08||How to win the Open||More >|
Kevin Brown – Todays Golfer October 08
Meet the men who turned Padraig Harrington from a nearly man into a three-time Major winner. And find out why they all reckon he can go on and win more.
It is a long way from the cultured surrounds of the well-heeled Surrey clubs where many of Europe’s stars chose to hone their game. Wentworth or The Wisley this is not. But the scruffy number one bay at the Inverclyde Sports Centre driving range in Ayrshire was where the journey to the top began for the hottest golfer on the planet. It was at this Largs range that Padraig Harrington started building his multiple Major-winning swing 11 years ago.
Accepting that fact is quite difficult to get your head round, for this is the most unlikely of venues for a Major champion to emerge from. What’s more, it is also a rather bizarre base for one of the best golf coaches in the world.
Nevertheless, it was here that the promising but raw youngster first came under tutelage of Bob Torrance.
Since that first session at the Inverclyde range the pair have worked together in perfect harmony – one a steady pro with a voracious appetite for work, the other a wily old coach with the ability so sport swing flaws at 100 yards.
Bob, holding court in a real-life caddyshack – a small, grubby room at the end of the range – quietly apologised for the unglamorous surroundings. But if it was good enough for Padraig, I thought, it was good enough for TG.
Nobody knows the Dubliner better or what makes him tick more than the grizzly 76-year-old, who treats him like a second son (his ‘real’ son is, of course, former Ryder Cup captain Sam).
Sitting in his dowdy outpost – the ‘salt mine’ as he colourfully calls his place of work – Bob reveals he is not in the least bit surporsed by this pupil’s incredible success over the past 15 months.
Three Majors have been collected during that period at Carnoustie, Birkdale and Oakland Hills. Bob believes more Majors will flow, with a career Grand Slam undoubtedly within his grasp. And this from a player who was once most famous for being a serial runner-up.
“I’ve always felt confident he could go all the way and as Major material. What he’s achieved recently hasn’t surprised me in the least,” stressed Bob, who is convinced the Irishman can at least match Nick Faldo’s record of six Majors.
“There’s no way Padraig will rest on his laurels. Never . He was practising up here straight after he’d won the Open at Carnoustie. I seriously believe he can become Europe’s greatest-ever golfer in terms of Major victories.
“Padraig has the ability to win anything he wants to win. I think he’s got both a US Open and a Masters in him – he’s definitely got both the ability and mental attitude to win them”.
The player himself is very clear in this regard – he is determined to add to his Major collection, although he plays down talk of a ‘Paddy Slam’ (winning the next Masters and the US Open to hold all four Majors at the same time).
“That will be a tall order,” he said. “But I must say I can’t wait for next year’s Masters as I really do get a great feeling for Majors and love Augusta.
“I’m always driven to get better so I’ll continue working on my game and obviously hope I will win more Majors. But ultimately I want to be the best player I can be. I’m not trying to beat anyone else’s Majors tally, just trying to give myself the best chance to win as many as possible.”
The Ryder Cup star won his first Open with Tiger Woods in the field but his next two Majors were claimed with the World No 1 recovering from knee surgery.
Many are, therefore, relishing the meeting of very possibly the greatest player the game has ever seen and the player of the moment.
Bob, for one, is sure his man will relish the battle.
“It won’t bother Padraig in the least if he finds himself battling it out with Tiger on the back nine of a Major on Sunday”, insisted the Scotsman. “That won’t concern him at all. He’d love that in fact. He lives for that.
“He’s played against Tiger before and beaten him. Tiger holds no fears for Padraig. He’s not frightened of intimidated by him”.
Padraig certainly shows no sign of worrying about Tiger’s return – while being respectful of his ability and achievements.
“I think we’re all looking forward to Tiger being fit again”, he said. “Everyone in golf is missing him, especially the fans”.
Coincidentally, Padraig and Bob started working together about the same time as Tiger announced himself to the world with victory at August in 1997.
At that point, the pair of workaholics were grafting in the Largs ‘salt mine’ and were a long way from thinking about challenging the Masters champion. It has taken long, arduous hours of swing changes to get Padraig’s game to where it is today.
‘You name it, we’ve changed every part of his swing', revealed Bob.
“Everything from his set-up, takeaway, top of his swing, start of the downswing and through the ball. “We did that for the first four years and we just keep backtracking, trying to perfect the different parts.
“But you’ve always got to strive for perfection. Of course, you’ll never reach it, but the person who stops going for it is finished.
“This is what Padraig is trying to achieve and to be honest he’s getting closer to it every year. His ball-striking is the strongest part of his game and everything else hangs off that.
“His swing is reliable under pressure – he knows his swing is good enough so he just lets go”
“Padraig can now be classed as a long hitter. He reached the par-5 17th at Royal Birkdale to effectively retain The Open with tow mighty blows that had been beyond most of the assembled field.
It wasn’t always so – and Bob remembers well the process required to increase Harrington’s power.
“Padraig hits the ball as far as anybody now but he was pretty short when he first came to me”, Bob recalled. “Also his feet and leg action were terrible sow e had to smooth all these tings out. AT one time, he couldn’t hit a 3-wood off the fairway – not it’s the best club in his bag!
“When he used to work on tings here (since the latest addition to the Harrington family, Bob now goes over to Dublin to coach him), he sometimes hit the ball terribly but he’d go and work on things and come back and see me the next week”. This work ethic was manna from heaven for Bob.
“I used to say to my wife June I’d love to have a talented young player willing to work nine hours a day every day. Not long after, Padraig turned and she said ‘you’ve got one now’.
“Padraig used to come over every fortnight. WE’D have some very long sessions and it’s been the same on Tour – O remember once being on the range at Wentworth at 6am and not coming off it until 9.45pm! I love that. Sam always had the talent but got distracted by other things and as a result didn’t work as much on his game as he could have done. That’s why most corner shop owners tend to be millionaires. They’re prepared to put in the hours, all hours of the day.
“This game is one sip at a time. If you’re teaching properly, what you are teaching today will probably lead on to things you’re going to look at next. You only get worse if you get confused and are working on the wrong things”.
Padraig is certainly very comfortable with where he finds his game, his career and his status in golf.
”If you look at my career, I’ve made progress almost each year on Tour so I would say I’ve gradually improved into to the player I am today, It certainly isn't a transition that happened overnight.
“Winning last year’s Open gave me the confidence that I was capable of winning more Majors as long as I played well enough to give myself the chance come the back inn on Sunday.
“The way I produced some of my best golf on the back nine at both The Open and US PGA give me added confidence that, when it comes to the crunch, I have the mental strength to make the most of the opportunities”
Mental strength is another key factor in the success story that is Team Harrington. Bob Rotella, one of golf’s leading mind gurus, has convinced Padraig he is a winner, or an also ran.
The psychologist gives an intriguing insight into the mindset of Ireland’s back-to-back Major champion.
“Padraig has come a long way and is now comfortable with winning ad winning Majors. He’s come to terms with shots not always going where he wants them to go, he said.
“He’s particularly comfortable with his putting – those putts he made coming down the stretch to win the USPGA were absolutely fantastic.
"The big part of that was seeing the ball go in the hole – Padraig would have seen himself winning many, many times. He was totally into making the putts exclusive of all other things and that’s a nice place to be. He was totally comfortable and he knew he was meant to win that tournament.
“He struggled for a long time, lost perspective and got destroyed by losing. Everything I teach is based on players playing against themselves and their game, not whether Tiger is in the field of not. Padraig is in his own little world out there”.
It is a mindset which the American believes will bring his hard working charge more Majors. And he didn’t rule out the possibility of Harrington beating Faldo’s tally of six” It's not a discussion we've had, but I don’t think Padraig will limit himself to three more Majors just to equal Nick Faldo’s record.
And to think that trip to such heady heights started in that down-to-earth driving range in North Ayrshire…