From Brian Keogh at Valderrama
Padraig Harrington has a death wish at Valderrama.
But relax folks, he's only talking about play-off golf.
The Dubliner wants his Order of Merit showdown with Justin Rose to go right down to a sudden-death play-off on Sunday night.
Ranked second and third on the money list, both men need at top three finish at worst to snatch the Order of Merit from current leader Ernie Els.
And the Dubliner says he'd settle for a mano a mano showdown with Rose that would decide the money race.
Bubbling with confidence after pipping Paul McGinley to victory in the Volvo Masters Pro-Am yesterday, Harrington said: "Myself and Justin will agree right now to take a play-off for first and second place.
"We'd happily go down that 10th fairway, or whatever the first play-off hole is, and take our chances. There's no point in me beating Justin or Justin beating me if we both finish in the 30s. It's no use to us.
"I'm hoping he goes out and plays well and it will bring me along. If we both go out there and shoot seven under par and start running away from the field, that's fine by me."
Harrington has won his last four titles in play-offs - beating Tiger Woods in the Dunlop Phoenix, Bradley Dregde in the Irish Open, Brendan McGovern in the Irish PGA and then Sergio Garcia for the British Open.
And after narrowly failing to make it five in a row when losing to Angel Cabrera in the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda two weeks ago, he's not averse to taking on Rose in that format.
The English ace has won just three tournaments to Harrington's 21 since he turned pro in 1998.
But when told about Harrington's sudden-death wish, Rose had no problem saying: Bring it on.
Smiling at the prospect, Rose said: "That would be brilliant. I hope it comes down to something like that because last year it was a close run thing with a third party - Sergio Garcia - deciding who won the Order of Merit.
"It would be great for the event to have another nail-biting finish. That would be brilliant."
Rose is not Harrington's only rival as Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Niclas Fasth can win the Order of Merit if they take the Volvo Masters and Harrington finishes worse than second.
But Harrington certainly has the edge on Rose in terms of Valderrama experience after going head to head for the Order of Merit with Retief Goosen in 2002 and Paul Casey last year.
The Goosen clash went pear-shaped for Harrington as he failed to earned the cash he needed to leapfrog the South African.
And while Harrington is feeling good about his chances after overhauling Casey last year, he believes he learned more from that clash with Goosen five years ago.
He said: "The 2002 Volvo Masters is one of the textbook tournaments I use now every time I approach an event.
"I needed to pick up €27,000 to beat Retief and we’ve both finished thirty or forty something.
"I just tried so hard and that was the issue. I look back on it and I can see the physical manifestations of trying too hard.
"I don't tighten up, I just don’t accept. I talk to my golf ball. I don’t smile. I think a lot. You don’t have the freedom an the flow. It’s not like you feel the pressure. You just try to hard."
Tight and tricky Valderrama does not suit Harrington's expansive long game, where saving par from the trees is a tough proposition.
But he believes he conquered his dislike of the course last year when he came though on the back nine to grab the second place finish he needed to pass Casey in the race for the Order of Merit title.
Looking forward to his task, he said: "It's difficult to go into a tournament and finish in the top-three on demand on a course I have traditionally found difficult.
"But I've done it once, last year, and I feel positive about the challenge. If I can get into position with nine holes to go, who knows what will happen."
Close pal McGinley is backing Harrington to come through again if it comes down to the wire on Sunday afternoon.
McGinley said: "I’ll fancy Padraig if it comes to a dogfight. He did it last year when it was a dogfight. He upped and downed it out of the water at 17 and had another unbelievable up and down at 18.
"He has an unbelievable ability when it comes to a dogfight to still churn out results when he’s not playing at his best."