If a change is as good as a rest then Padraig Harrington can expect to mount a challenge for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club exactly two years after he finished second to Tiger Woods in a thrilling finish.
That said, the Dubliner has no intention of heeding the grave warnings pronounced by his currently estranged coach Bob Torrance following their decision to “take a break” in their 14-year relationship at last week’s Irish Open.
Once Harrington made the split public when asked about it on the driving range in Killarney last week, Torrance explained exactly why the pair have not seen eye to eye for some time.
“He has been going down one road that I think is the wrong one and he is determined to go down that road,” Torrance said. “I said to him, if you go down too far, you won’t come back.”
Far from running to a new coach, Harrington has been working on his own on the range in Akron this week.
But when asked if he was surprised by the forcefulness of Torrance’s words, he pleaded ignorance.
“I haven’t read anything,” Harrington said. “And I don’t want to know. Okay. That’s why I am telling you straight out.”
This is hardly surprising. After all, Harrington decided to take a break from Torrance precisely because he didn’t want to hear what he had to say any more.
He said: “These things happen. But that’s the nature of professional golf. Fourteen years is a long time. A long, long time. There is no doubt that I value the friendship with Bob as much as anything.
“If I win a tournament in 10 years’ time I will still be using the pillars that Bob has created in my swing. That won’t change.”
The Dubliner said last week that he would be on the look out for new ideas but he has no plans to work with anyone new this week or at the US PGA Championship in Atlanta next week.
He said: “It’s not the week for it.”
Harrington is guaranteed four rounds at Firestone where he was second to Tiger Woods after a thrilling back nine battle just two years ago.
He said: “It’s a good, strong, tough course which is probably why I have done well on it over the years. It’s a nice facility and if it doesn’t go well on the course there are good facilities to get ready for next week.”
The world’s top coaches are all in Ohio and several believe that Harrington will end up being re-united with Torrance before long.
Pete Cowen, who coaches Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood said: “A bit of freshness can have a positive effect. It’s like a relationship. They always go back to the old girlfriend because they know they were safe.”
Butch Harmon, who broke up with Tiger Woods after a 10 year relationship, believes Harrington will eventually rediscover his form but wonders if the Irish star’s quest for extra length off the tee hasn’t cost him dear.
Harmon said: “It’s sad to see him struggle when you consider how well he played. But I think you see a lot of guys go through that. He is too good a player and he works too hard not to work it out.
“He will get it back. Watching from afar it appears that he has made swing changes to try and hit the ball further. Now whether that is good or bad time will tell.”