Swing change for Padraig

From Brian Keogh in California

Padraig Harrington is planning a swing change that will make him as supremely accurate as Ben Hogan or Colin Montgomerie.

After finishing 10th behind Tiger Woods in the Target World Challenge in Los Angeles, the Open champion revealed that he plans to develop a right to left “held off” shot that he hopes will bring him even more major glory.

Harrington has the next four weeks off before he returns to action in the Abu Dhabi Championship and then heads to Torrey Pines’ No 2 Course for US Open dress rehearsal in the Buick Invitational.

And he plans to spend his break working on his fitness and developing a shot will help him hit even more fairways and greens and hopefully add the Masters to his Open win.

Explaining his latest swing change, Harrington said: “I am changing my ball flight and changing my swing to deal with that. I am changing from a draw to more of a held off shot.

“It will give me a bit more distance control with my irons. I think I have always wanted to go this way and I feel I know how and I am ready to go.

“I want to get steeper and hold it off a bit more and really if anything, drop it off to the right if I hit a bad shot.

“I am not really going for a fade. More a held off shot. Getting a bit steeper on the ball. It's more like Monty. More like Hogan.I’s not a fade like Jack Nicklaus."

Harrington’s coach Bob Torrance has long been a admirer of Hogan, who also won at Carnoustie in his only appearance in the Open in 1953.

Harrington said: “Hogan was always one of my idols. I didn't go for the unbelievably talented people. I liked the workers who got the most out of their talent. Hogan went from struggling to the best ball striker of all time.”

The Dubliner, 36, spent an entire day analysing his swing at the Titleist Performance Institute in Carlsbad last Monday week.

And while he confessed that he learnt nothing new and is different to “99 percent” of players and obsessed with not hitting the ball right, he now plans to take the left hand side of the course out of play completely.

He added: “It is just a better way of hitting a golf ball. It’s not a huge thing and it is not really a big change. You get used to it and I reckon I will hit quite a few more fairways.”

Harrington is also toying with the idea of adding a Wilson “fybrid” to his bag - a club designed to bridge the gap between the fairway woods and the hybrid or utility club.

He said: “It’s a possibility. They are making them up and it might replace my five wood and hybrid and I can put in a 64 degree wedge then. That is one option.

“There are very few golf courses where you need a 64 degree wedge to be honest. The only time I need a 64 is Augusta. That's it.”

Despite nine three-putts in four rounds at Sherwood Country Club, where he earned $210,000 for 10th place, Harrington has no plans to jettison his trusty two-ball putter.

He said: “It is very hard to change things unless you are pushed. It is easy to change things if you are putting badly. You could go and change your putter.

“But it is very hard when things are going okay. I just don't have the time to do these things in.”

Getting his schedule right is Harrington’s biggest headache but he has ruled out dedicating himself to the PGA Tour full time.

He said: “It would make my life a lot easier, but no. I really do want to support the European Tour. I like playing in Europe.”