Harrington and Garcia bury the hatchet

Sergio Garcia has confessed that he wanted to smash Padraig Harrington over the head with his putter after his US PGA loss at Oakland Hills.

But according to Harrington, Europe’s big two have finally managed to bury the hatchet after years of tension.

The Dubliner denied Garcia the 2007 Open at Carnoustie when he triumphed in sudden-death and then snatched the US PGA from under the Spaniard’s nose this summer in another tense finish.

Relations between the two had already been frosty after a series of incidents, but Harrington has revealed that the pair managed to break the ice during September’s Ryder Cup clash at Valhalla.

Speaking to Golf World, Harrington said: “It certainly has been difficult between me and Sergio. Things definitely got a little bit tense there but the Ryder Cup really helped.

“We spent the week in each other’s company, played a couple of practice matches together and he got to say his piece that he wanted to say all along.

"Some of the lads eventually drew it out of him and he got to tell me that he really wanted to smash that putter over my head.

“That was what I really wanted to hear and though the Ryder Cup didn’t do too much for Europe, it did do a lot for me and Sergio."

Still waiting for his first Major win, world No 2 Garcia found it tough to accept his defeats to Harrington at Carnoustie and Oakland Hills.

In the 2007 Open, he complained about his bad luck, explaining: “It’s funny how some guys hit the pin or hit the pin and go to a foot. Mine hits the pin and goes 20 feet away.”

After losing at Oakland Hills, he didn’t mention Harrington once by name after he opened the door by finding water at the 16th and then saw the Irish ace finish him off with three brilliant putts on the last three greens.

Harrington made sure he got his revenge by telling the world how surprised he was that Garcia went in the water, describing him as “a bit player” in the tournament by the time they reached the 72nd hole.

Garcia took his words as an insult, sniping: “Harrington said I didn’t play good. That wasn’t very nice of him.”

Harrington is three weeks into his eight-week winter break and looks set to return to action in January when he plays the Abu Dhabi Championship and the Dubai Desert Classic.

Now halfway to the Paddy Slam following his wins in the Open and the US PGA,  he hopes Tiger Woods is back to his best next season as he bids to complete the set by winning the  Masters at Augusta and the US Open at Bethpage Black.

He said: "I’m really looking forward to Tiger coming back. I hope he plays well when he comes back and that I’ll get the chance to pit my game against him. Hopefully I have laid down a challenge to him because I think he’ll like the competition.

“I don’t think that he’d be worried about me - he’s wise enough to know he just has to worry about his own game. I just have to do the same.

“I’m not going to say the phrase Grand Slam outright. But it is fair to say that the Masters and US Open are my top priorities.”