Harrington plans changes for Masters assault

Padraig Harrington landed two major end-of-season awards and vowed to quit the game before giving up his bid to get even better.

The Dubliner, 37, earned the European Tour ‘Golfer of the Year’ and the AIB sponsored Irish Golfer Writers’ Association ‘Professional of the Year’ gongs for the second year running after grabbing back-to-back Major wins this summer.

And he immediately promised to give up golf before giving up his bid to improve every aspect of his game.

Refusing to declare himself the finished product, he insisted: “The day I think that is the day I will retire.”

With one eye on next year's Masters, he added: “I have some serious gym work to do in my winter break and I also have some swing changes to make

“When I come out next year I will be focused on getting my game ready for every week and building up for the Masters Tournament at Augusta National.

“I know the Masters will be the hardest Major for me to win because of the attention that will be on me.

“It is a lot easier to go into these things with a little less profile and stay patient for two or three days under the radar and finish it off on Sunday.

“But I won’t have that luxury at Augusta because right from the word go there will be focus on me.”

Ranked fourth in the world, Harrington reflected on a magical three-week spell that saw him successfully retain the Claret Jug at Birkdale before becoming the first European to win the US PGA for 78 years.

He said: “The week of the Open Championship I went out and played great, I really did. But to go out and win the US PGA Championship three weeks later was incredibly exciting.

“Holing those putts at the end and the way the win came about, I will never forget it - that was one of the most thrilling wins of my entire career.”

Harrington’s mantelpiece is already groaning after he landed the European Tour’s 'Shot of the Year'  and the PGA of America’s 'Player of the Year' awards.

But he is also fancied to pip Tiger Woods for the PGA Tour’s prestigious Jack Nicklaus Trophy when the votes of the US tour players are tallied later this week.

Cavan twins Leona and Lisa Maguire and Offaly’s Shane Lowry won the AIB Irish Golf Writers’ amateur awards with Brendan Edwards the recipient of the ‘Distinguished Services’ honour.