Harrington graduates from Dobby to Pinky and the Brain

Pinky and the Brain. Or Pádraig Harrington and Ronan Flood (or vice versa)

Pádraig Harrington turns 44 on Monday next but he's still got that childlike innocence about the game even if he claims the years have made him more of a cynic.

Battling to shake off that seemingly inevitable, 20-year, best-before-date curse that says that a golfer's career lasts two decades and the rest is decadence, he still loves it.

And even if he longer feels he will discover the Holy Grail in the dirt, he knows he will be hitting the range again tomorrow, just as those cartoon rats "Pinky and the Brain" know they will be trying to take over the world again tomorrow.

In trying to explain back in 2011 why he was struggling, he explained that his caddie Ronan Flood felt he was being harder on himself than Dobby, the elf from the Harry Potter books.


"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.”

He's no longer has hard on himself — which would't be hard. But while he claims that having done in all in the game he's no longer as certain he will find the secret, he's not going to stop being a golfer and heading to the range.

Harrington spoke to SI's Alan Shipnuck for the Backspin podcast this week and reflected on his 19 years on both the PGA and European Tours.

The podcast also included tips on how to properly apologise for a taking a divot in a hotel room, what game ritual he and Michael Jordan have in common (think tongue), and how his family reacted to his win at the Honda Classic in March, his first PGA Tour victory in seven years.:

"I still believe I am a competitive player. I still love playing golf and competing and trying to figure it out. I believe there is more in me. It might be different but I enjoy trying to figure it out. I think I have got to that age in golf that most golfers get to — they have hit a wall. There are very few professional golfers that have a career that exceeds 20 years...
"I have obviously hit that wall and I'd like to get through it. I'd like to figure a way out and goals in life change and your kids are more important and things like that. You have done things and it's easy to go, 'Oh, these kids are so good how can I compete with them?'..."

(Above) Fast forward to 38:28 for the Pinky and the Brain discussion

The downside of having more experience is that you also have more scar tissue. You are also a different player and person and don't get up in the morning with the same excitement levels.

The Brain

"Tiger? If he was 20 years of age with the same swing he has now, he would be winning plenty of majors. He has just done it. He has not got a lot more to prove in the game of golf. He hasn't got that innocence that he had at 20. It is not lack of effort, or lack of trying. You are just a different person.
"Did you ever hear of Pinky and the Brain? Okay, they are two lab rats and every night they break out of the lab and try and take over the world.
"Every night it finishes like this. They traipse home and the Brain says to Pinky, 'What are we going to do tomorrow?' And Pinky says, 'As always, we are going to try and take over the world, and fail.'
"Every time I leave the range now, first of all I say to my caddie, I'd love to keep practicing. I've never left the putting green or pitching green or the range and not wanted to stay there. And just to wind my caddie up, I'll say, 'What are we going to do tomorrow?' and he'll go, 'Yep, we're going to keep on practicing.'
"So I can't change myself, I am going to stay that way. I am the lab rat, I just can't figure out if I am Pinky or The Brain. My caddie and I haven't established who is Pinky, but we know what we are going to do tomorrow. We are going to go to the practice ground."