There was a certain sadness in Padraig Harrington’s comments at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda where he finished 11 strokes behind Masters champion Adam Scott on three over par.
“I think everybody else has enjoyed themselves, anyway,” Harrington said after a closing 71, drawing gales of laughter in the media centre. “I might enjoy my next two days.
“Yeah, look, it is a great week. You do enjoy it more than any other tournament. But saying that, you are focused on playing the golf. Now that the golf is finished, I will take more of the sights of Bermuda in. I hope the weather is going to be good. Please tell me it’s going to be sunny.”
There are sunny days ahead for Harrington - a lifetime as a multiple major champion. But whether or not he can win the biggest battle of his career and get back to contending regularly for big titles and more majors remains to be seen.
He plans to take a long winter break once his forgettable 2014 season ends. That could mean just two more starts in the BMW Masters and the Turkish Airlines Open unless he wins enough to jump into the Top 60 from his current position of 72nd in the Race to Dubai and qualifies for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
“It is their first time here and it’s ironic, as I pointed out in an interview, that they are having the best year of their careers to be here and I am having my worst,” Harrington pointed out on his blog in the build up.
Unlike last year, when he won the title for the first time, Harrington could not find his touch of old and ended up propping up the field to take home $200,000.
Scott eagled the 17th, tapping in from less than a foot there en route to a course record 64 and a two-shot win over US Open champion Justin Rose (69) on eight under with US PGA champion Jason Dufner (70) third on three under.
“I kind of thought it was tough to shoot a good score in these conditions,” Harrington said of the wet and windy final day.
“I knew I needed to get off to a quick start, which didn’t happen, and you know, trying to catch up with the guys - I had done all the damage yesterday - was a tough ask. If you don’t get a big start, it certainly is a long way back.”
At 101st in the world and without a tournament win for three years - five years in Europe or the US - Harrington has a long way to go before he’s back to the heights he scaled in 2007 and 2008, or even 2009.
As he’s pointed out in numerous interviews in recent days, he’s coming to terms with the fact that he is now a different person to the man who won those majors. Ruling out a second coming from such a dogged competitor would be foolhardy.
All will hinge on finding a way to putt with confidence again.
As he said with a smile when told when the weather for the next few days would be “better” than Wednesday’s storms, “better doesn’t really qualify too much.”
Better than 2013 won’t satisfy Harrington.
ADAM SCOTT 70, 64 (-8)
JUSTIN ROSE 67, 69 (-6)
JASON DUFNER 69, 70 (-3)
PADRAIG HARRINGTON 74 ,71 (+3)