Goosen route the key for Padraig

By Brian Keogh

Padraig Harrington wants to take the Retief Goosen route to US Open glory at Oakmont next week.

The Dubliner believes his game is ready for the challenge after partnering the ice-cool South African to victory over Jim Furyk and Charles Howell at the Exelon Invitational in Philadelphia on Monday.

But he knows that he also has to have patience of two-time US Open winner Goosen if he is to lift his first major.

Harrington said: "You have to realize that week takes a lot out of you. It's a time for patience.

"Retief, you can see it in his temperament. He's very level all the way through. He keeps his emotions totally in key. That really helps keep you sort of stress-free.

"Guys get too high and low, depending how it's going. And you suffer. You're better off kind of plodding your way through it.

"It's amazing to say it that way. But it's not about the spectacular. It's much more about that steady game."

Harrington chipped in for birdie at the 16th and then drained a 20-footer for par on the next to help beat Howell and event host Furyk 2 and 1 in an exhibition at The ACE Club on Monday.

And after pocketing $80,000, the Dubliner confessed the he has enough experience not to be surprised by the test he will face at Oakmont.

He added: "One thing about the US Open, once you've played a few, you have a good idea how the golf course is going to be set up before you get there. It's very similar."

Last year, Harrington bogeyed the last three holes to finish two shots behind surprise winner Geoff Ogilvy at Winged Foot.

He was still tied for the lead after his bogey at the 16th but finished bogey-bogey to end up two adrift of a possible play-off.

Colin Montgomerie and Phil Mickelson also blew chances to win and Harrington is not beating himself up.

He beamed: "Sure, I had three pars to win the US Open. It sounds so easy. Rolls off the tongue very nicely.

"I can tell you every shot I hit. Probably couldn't tell you anything about the first 15 holes, other than I played very well. It's interesting what sort of sticks out."

Goosen and Harrington will both see Oakmont for the first time on Monday.

Nearly all of the 4,000 trees on the course have been removed and the South African is hoping that its links style quality will help him grab his third US Open.

Goosen said: "From the pictures I've seen, it seems a bit linksy. It sort of reminds me of Shinnecock Hills in a way. I'm pretty sure it'll be new for everybody.

"I always felt like if I was going to win a major, it would be the British Open. I've done well in those, but not won any. It's a hard week. A tough week, mentalwise. And a long week. You need to pace yourself.

"It's not a week where you're thinking how many birdies you're going make, but how little bogeys can you make.

"That's the whole thing. If you can keep those drop shots off the card, you know you have a chance by the end."