Padraig Harrington insists he hasn’t gone from zero to hero overnight despite ending his two-year victory wait in Malaysia.
The Dubliner, 39, broke his winless streak when he roared to a wire-to-wire victory in the Iskandar Johor Open on Sunday. But he has no doubts that he is still the same guy who needed a Ryder Cup wildcard and missed the cut in three of the four majors.
Denying he felt massive pressure to deliver a win, Harrington declared: “That’s totally something other people feel. And this doesn’t change anything either. I can’t turn around and say this makes all the difference. I’m still the same player I was last week.”
He added: “I’d be amazed if I could turn it all around in one fell swoop with one win. The way I look at these things, it’s all about progression.
“Everyone likes to put you in a pigeon hole from hero to zero. It just doesn’t change like that. That’s just not the way golf is.”
Harrington still hopes to put in a hot finish to a disappointing season that saw him criticised roundly for his erratic play before he was awarded a Ryder Cup wildcard.
But the three time major champion insists that he’s never been happier about his understanding of his game and reckons big things could be just around the corner.
He said: “At times, results only deflect from what’s going on. Yet you need the results every now and then. They are important.
“I’m very optimistic about where my game is going. At the moment I would consider I’m on top of all elements of my game. It’s pretty strong.
“I’m not saying I’m going to go out there and play the greatest golf in the short term, though winning is a habit and maybe I could squeeze in another before the end of the year. That would be very nice.
“But I fully understand what’s going on throughout my game. It doesn’t mean I always do it right, but I believe all parts of my game are looking on the up and that’s a nice way to be.”
Harrington hadn’t won a tour event since he captured his third major at the 2008 US PGA. As a result, he was relieved to shake that monkey off his back. But he was also happy to feel the heat of battle again as winning under pressure makes it easier to dip into a mine of positive memories on the back nine in major tournaments.
He said: “Look, it’s all about winning, there’s no doubt about it. Your whole career is remembered by wins. At the end of the day, it is about getting as many wins as you can and definitely it was very important and very nice.
“And it’s good to get the feeling of winning. I don’t just mean it feels nice. It’s the feeling for what you go through on the golf course when you are winning, what you are thinking and how you are going about it.
“You have got to get into these positions as often as you can to evaluate and find out about your own game. If you want to win Major tournaments, it’s very rare you’re going to win them going in cold.
“You’ve got to be in contention and have put it on the line a few times and when you get into the position, even in a Major, you’re familiar with it.”
Up three places to 19th in the world thanks to his victory, Harrington has two weeks to get ready for a busy, end of season run that includes the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, the Barclays Singapore Open, the Dubai World Championship and the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City.