• SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Padraig Harrington of Ireland answers questions from the media at a press conference during a practice round prior to the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on July 17, 2017 in Southport, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Catch up with Padraig's busy playing schedule as well as finding out what he's doing off the course, from his role as the R&A's Working for Golf Ambassador, to the work he does raising awareness for the Special Olympics and as Ireland's Golf Ambassador.

The Open Championship

Date: 20 Jul - 23 Jul 2017
Location: Royal Birkdale, Southport, Merseyside, England

Entry Date:
Jul 17, 2017

The Open Championship.
Work to do for Padraig as he shoots a three over par 73 to open his account at Royal Birkdale. It has been long time since Padraig played a round of golf without recording a single birdie but he managed it today. He played some excellent golf earlier in the round but failed to convert realistic birdie chances and then suffered when he made mistakes as he had no redress for them. He will need a sub 70 round tomorrow to progress depending on the weather conditions. Five under par leads going into Fridays second round.

It's that time of year again, the third Major of the year is upon us and to many it is the ultimate prize in golf. With mixed weather conditions promised over the coming days, the draw could play a major part in who wins the championship. Seven first time winners have won the last seven Major championships and with the quality of the field this week, it's anyones guess who will win. Padraig who has been playing some wonderful golf lately, will fancy his chances having won here in 2008 but all will be revealed come Sunday evening. Hopefully, a repeat of the excitement of last years final round will ensue! Padraig tees off in the opening round, tomorrow, at 9.36am with Pat Perez and Thomas Pieters and on Friday, late, at 2.37 am local time!

It's hard to believe that it's 9 years since I won my second Open title here in Birkdale, as it only seems like yesterday to me. I've only been back once since then and that was in May for a Wilson media day, although I only got to see a couple of holes then. Coming here this week is strange, in a way I feel like the defending champion as I am the last winner here but yet it was 9 years ago. It's great to come back to a course where you have good memories. Every hole I walk off I am thinking back to what I did and then everyone is asking me and reminding me of shots I hit that week. I've lost count of the number of times I have been asked about my second shots to 17!

I'm coming into The Open this week in good form. I have been playing well for the last few weeks and feeling good about all aspects of my game. It's a great feeling to come back here to the scene of one of my best performances knowing that I am in a good place with my game and looking forward to trying to repeat it.

Last week in Scotland was a good week but with the bad weather on Saturday it was tough and tiring, so I decided to take it easy on Monday. I walked a few holes, chipped and putted around the greens and got all my media commitments out of the way. When I won here I couldn't play a practice round as I was injured and so when it came to Sunday I was fresh and feeling good. With this in mind I have tried to take it as easy as possible in practice this week. I played 18 holes on Tuesday with Shane Lowry, Daniel Berger and Kevin Chappell and then 9 holes on Wednesday with Shane, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland. I haven't been doing any long game practice, just warming up and playing. The only thing that have spent time on is my putting. Even though I have been putting well I always like to spend time practicing it.

The course is in great shape and is as good a test as I remember it. It really is one of the best on the Open rota. You have to play well here to score and it's a fair course in that respect. There's less rough than 2008 but it's enough to make shots difficult and lose some control. We have had great weather in practice right up to Wednesday evening when a thunder storm came in and halted play but by that stage everyone had done their preparations anyway.

I am excited to get going as much for the reason that I am playing well but also to get out in front of the crowds and to enjoy what is the best tournament in golf. I'm out at 9.36 am tomorrow with Thomas Peters and Pat Perez, which is a good group. Hopefully the weather is better than it was that first morning in 2008, although it didn't do me any harm!

Talk soon,
Padraig.

ON TOUR

FAN MESSAGES

Mike Kilbride. - Basingstoke. UK. : Great golf in Portugal !! Best Wishes. Mike.

Dennis Buckley - Dublin : Well done sir ! Brilliant stuff.

Michael Reid - Bagor,Northern Ireland : Padraig - brilliant,well done, great to see you winning this. All the best for the future. Regards Michael Reid

Paddy McNamara - Artane : Knew you would do it. Cracking putt on the 18th. Well done. Jumping up and down celebrating. Delighted for you.

Philip Halpenny - Portmarnock Golf Club : Padraig, you've given us so many good days over the years and today was surely one of them. What a pleasure to see those steely eyes deliver at the Victoria Club. Your determination and self belief are an inspiration to all of us still trying to master our great game. Congratulations and thanks for the thrills that keep on coming. PH

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