Padraig Harrington admits he has serious “elf” problems as his season goes from bad to worse.
The struggling Irish ace reckons he’s being so hard on himself because of his poor shots that he’s as troubled as Dobby, the elf from the Harry Potter books.
The fictional character punished himself every time he believed he had done something wrong - even going as far as to iron his own hands.
Crushed to finish 63rd in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after his worst round of 18 months, Harrington confessed: “There is no doubt that I am being too hard on myself and trying too hard on the course.
“When I don’t hit the shot I want to hit I am getting down on myself. I’m just like Dobby, ironing my hands. It is something that I have to get out of straight away.”
Harrington is battling to bed in a huge series of swing changes he made over his six-week, winter break.
But he’s had a nightmare start to the season and crashed to 35th in the world - his worst world ranking since April 2000.
He opened his year with a 65 in Abu Dhabi but was disqualified the next day after an armchair vigilante spotted he had moved his ball accidentally and then failed to replace it.
Since then it has been one tale of woe after another for the former world No 3.
He could only manage 58th in the Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain and then slipped from fourth at halfway to tied 63rd at Pebble Beach after a final round 78 that featured a seven and eight on two par-fives.
Gutted by his weekend from hell, Harrington groaned: “Rounds of 74 and 78 over the weekend are terrible and made only worse by the fact that the weather was absolutely perfect.”
“It was really down to my focus and routines, which are generally poor at the start of the season as I have spend so much time on technical practice.
“I could see it in my rounds on Saturday and Sunday when I got distracted a lot while I was over shots and that’s a sure sign that I wasn’t fully into the shot.
“I hit a lot of very good shots every day but I did hit a number of poor ones too and they came down to not being properly focused on the shot and letting myself get distracted.”
Harrington still has plenty of time to get his game in shape before the Masters in April.
And he reckons he will learn more from the tough times and turn things around in time to challenge at Augusta.
He said: “I know coming away from last week what went wrong and what I have to do. Luckily for us golfers we always have next week.”