Tiger slayer Padraig Harrington says he wants to be more like the master of consistency - Colin Montgomerie.
Less than 48 hours after beating Woods in a play-off at the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament, Harrington revealed that steady Scot Monty is the man to copy
Monty has yet to win one of golf’s four big tournaments, but Harrington looks up the eight-time Order of Merit winner as a role model in terms of consistency.
And he reckons that by learning to hang around in tournaments until the final nine holes - just as he did in Japan on Sunday - he can continue his stellar progression at the top of the world game.
Like the motto of the university that conferred him with an Honorary Fellowship yesterday - “Dream, plan, achieve” - trained accountant Harrington has his goals clearly mapped out.
Reflecting on his latest leap up the golfing ladder, Harrington said: “I think I have got to the stage - like at Valderrama, like in Japan - that if I am hanging around in the right places and get a break or two at the right time, I can win that tournament. I am more consistent.
“It is amazing, because I never put him down as a role model, but I am going back more to look at somebody like Monty, just trying to hang around in the right spot.
“If you are in the right place with nine holes to go, it is amazing what can happen. Being there, sometimes you will get the breaks, sometimes you won't, but it is a question of taking the right attitude to get yourself into that position.”
Harrington is not getting too carried away with his win over Woods in Japan, though he is obviously chuffed to snatch victory from the grasp of the world No 1 at the 11th hour.
But looking at the bigger picture, what pleases him most is that he is on the right track in terms of his mental preparation.
He admits that he is a far more consistent player than the man who was brushed aside by Woods in the third round of the 2002 US Open at Bethpage.
On the change in his game, he said: “Back then, I was a lot more hit and miss. I could have incredible days, and I could have a lot more bad days.
“I may have good and bad days now, but I am generally approaching each day with the same tactics, going into each round with the same mindset so that if it doesn't go well, I am not looking for an answer.
“For the first three-months this year I swung the club better than at any stage in my life and yet my results were worse. It really confirmed to me that yes I wanted to improve my golf swing but that wasn't where the answer lies in terms of getting the job done.”
The mental game has been the key for Harrington over the last two months that have seen him win twice and claim the European Tour’s Order of Merit.
Results mean a lot but they don’t tell the full story.
Reflecting on Japan, where he drove the ball poorly yet still won, he said: “I don't think it is necessarily a progression. I think it was maybe a progression in terms of results yes: winning in Japan; beating Tiger; winning a playoff. But in terms of my own self it was a continuation of what I was doing.
“I still think I played my best golf the first three months of the year tee to green, swung the club well. It was later on in the year my attitude got better. Towards the end of the year, I've been much better in terms of my thinking on the course so my results are better from that.
“I always ask myself this question. If Sergio Garcia had parred the last hole in Valderrama, would I be any worse a player than I am as an Order of Merit winner? If he had holed that putt, I had no control over it. Would I be a worse player?
“Where it makes a difference is that it is confirmation that what you are doing is correct, that you realise you are going to have plenty of tournaments in the future where you lose or things don't go so well.
“On Sunday, if Tiger hadn't missed that putt on 16 and I'd have lost by a shot, everyone would have been going, 'Another second place!'”
Harrington has come to accept that he is not always going to play out his skin and like Montgomerie, he is becoming a master at getting the very best out of his game in any particular week.
Technically, there are many aspects of his game that he feels he can improve over the winter months, such as gaining distance off the tee and improving his putting.
But he admits that he difference between the Harrington who finished in the top 10 in three majors in 2002 and the 2006 version is his grip of the mental game.
He explained: “I feel I have taken a step forward in my mental approach where I can turn up to tournaments and feel like I can get into the right position at the end of the week.
“In Japan, I'd played 63 holes of golf to get into that position; so I am just trying to stay patient, waiting for nine holes to go for me.
“Some weeks you will have things go against you and you just won't be at the races; other weeks, things go for you very early doors. In general it is just hanging around. Monty does it, Tiger does it quite a bit.
“I've quite a bit to improve. I need more speed and length, which will do me good on the golf course. But the biggest improvement can come form the mental game.
“There has been some good successes this year and that is encouraging me. The great thing about winning is that it encourages you that you are on the right track.”