From Brian Keogh in Miami

Padraig Harrington is building a house in North Carolina so he can pursue his American Dream - a major victory.

The Dubliner revealed yesterday that he has signed a four-year deal with the Irish-owned White Oak Plantation course near Charlotte - just a two hour drive from Augusta.

And he plans to use the Arnold Palmer designed course as a his American base so that he can edge closer to his dream of winning one of golf’s major prizes.

As he prepared to chase his first World Golf Championship win in this week’s $8 million WGC - CA Championship at Doral’s Blue Monster, Harrington could not hide his excitement about a major new step in his golfing life.

He beamed: "It looks like a top class facility - fantastic. It's just an hour from Charlotte, which is a city I really like and everything looks first class.

"I am building a house on it so that I will have a base here in the States during the year. It is a nice spot to go in between events and it is only about a two or three hour drive from Augusta.

"It is not really a place to go on my winter break - it is more with a view to using it during the season when travelling can take its toll.

"They get lovely weather in the summer but in springtime and autumn it will be nice too. It will be a nice spot to have somewhere to practice in warm weather without it being excessively hot."

Irish rally driver Austin McHale and Dubliner Leonard Kinsella are two of the main movers behind a project that features a 7,300 yard Palmer design and around 750 homes designed by Dublin-based Harcourt Architects.

And Harrington admits that having an American base will make life easier in the run up to the major championships.

He said: "Anything that helps your preparation can only be a good thing so having an American base will certainly make life easier.

"The course is not too far from Charlotte airport, so it is pretty well connected and I am really looking forward to having my own place out here."

With the Masters just three weeks away, Harrington is concentrating on the build up to Augusta by playing in Miami this week followed by the Shell Houston Open.

And he kicked off his preparations for the second WGC event of the season with a three-hour session with mental coach Dr Bob Rotella.

Harrington explained: "The next two weeks going into Augusta is going to be mostly mental and I had a three-hour session with Dr Bob this morning.

"At the end of the day, all I get from Bob is a reminder. But it is an important reminder and the reminder this week is to be disciplined enough to work on the right stuff."

That means that Harrington will not be working a major swing change he insists will not be noticeable to the naked eye until the end of the season.

The Dubliner plans to get deeper and flatter in his swing over the next six months, eliminating a tendency to hit under the ball by coming in too steep.

Instead he will be concentrating on his short game - wedges, bunker play and chipping - which will be vital at Augusta.

He said: "I am always changing things with my swing. It is deeper and flatter but it will only be noticeable in six months times, when it is actually finished.

"I have stopped working on it now after doing it for two weeks at home. I have just got to concentrate on my golf now after two weeks off.

"The short game is something I will be concentrating on because chipping, puting and bunker are the things that have to be sharp for Augusta.

"This week will be a good test and I like the course. I shouldn't be peaking after a two-week break but I need to be peaking if I want to be up there.

"It’s a good week to hit it long and putt well because it’s a big hitter’s golf course and there are a couple of places where having a bit of extra distance will really help.

"Last year I didn't hit it particularly long and it made holes like 18 were trickier, where it is a big advantage if you can carry it 300 yards over the water.

"I wasn't exactly peaking last year so it made the week a lot tougher. So it is a good week to be strong off the tee and the bigger hitter has quite an advantage on a number of holes here."

The Masters is at the back of Harrington's mind but he hopes that a good run at Doral will give him the confidence to contend at Augusta.

He added: "This is a big event but I think everyone's thoughts are on Augusta. If you can play well and get into contention, there is added focus and it you don't then you are looking ahead to the Masters

"The Open, followed by the US Open are the majors that suit me best. But the Masters is the hardest to win and I think it is the ultimate test."