Padraig Harrington has decided to skip the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth to boost his US Open chances.
The Open champion feels he plays his best golf when he has two events right before a Major and duly erased the May 22nd-25th event from his diary.
Instead, the world number 11 will play the Celtic Manor Wales Open from May 29th to June 1st before teeing it up in the St. Jude Championship in Memphis en route to the US Open, which will be played at Torrey Pines near San Diego from June 12-15.
The decision not to make the trip to Wentworth is an indication that Harrington is now totally convinced that playing two weeks in a row before a Major is ideal preparation.
Last week he equalled his best finish in the Masters Tournament with a share of fifth immediately after warm-up events in New Orleans and Houston .
Assessing his schedule at the end of last year, Harrington said: “Absolutely ideal for me is two tournaments and then the Major. The first tournament settles down my game and the second tournament is preparation for the third. As an amateur, I found out that I have to play before going into a tournament. It takes me more than one week to really get my focus right.
“I think this is what experience has told me. Two tournaments is ideal for me. I have found that the second week is so much better than the first week and then that really brings me into the third week. That’s what works for me. The problem is when I take time off before a Major event, I end up doing too much practice and work too hard. Then I’d play well the week after the Major.”
Harrington has three weeks off before he tees it up in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and then flies home for his Irish Open defence at Adare Manor from May 15th-18th.
The BMW PGA takes place the following week and while he originally planned to play three in a row (Players, Irish Open, BWM PGA) and then take a week off before the Memphis event, he believes that cancelling his trip to the old Burma Road course is a better option.
The only surprise is that he has chosen the Ryder Cup Wales Open at Celtic Manor instead of the clashing Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Ohio on the PGA Tour.
Last November, Harrington said: “It would be in my best interest with regard to the US Open not to play Wentworth and to play Muirfield Village, which is more of a Stadium golf course that would definitely get you much more into the flow of the US Open. The pace of the greens and pin positions that week would be similar.”
While he reached the final of the 2001 World Matchplay at Wentworth, Harrington has never been a fan its greens in May and skipped the event in 2003 and 2004 before adding it to his schedule again three years ago.
Explaining his absences, he said: "There’s no point in going and playing golf courses that you struggle to make the cut or that you struggle on. It’s a tough enough game without going to a golf course that doesn’t suit you."
Feeling “responsibilities” to the European Tour, he returned to play the last three editions, finishing tied 11th in 2005, tied sixth in 2006 and a tired 24th just a week after his Irish Open victory last season.