Harrington welcomes par-three hoodoo

Padraig Harrington wants to do the double at Augusta and end the 48-year par-three curse with a Masters victory.

No-one has ever won the Wednesday par-three contest and the Masters in the same year.

But after wins in 2003 and 2004, Open champion Harrington hopes a can break the hoodoo and become a double major winner on Sunday night.

Harrington said: “I'll be playing the par-three competition and trying to win it again hoping that three times might be a charm.

“I believe that if you want to put some spin on it superstitious-wise, I believe if you win it three times, you're bound to win the actual event.

“To me, it helps me play in the actual tournament. Even though there is a lot going on, you have to get into your focus over each shot and gives you a little bit of practice on your wedge play and the pace of the greens and holing out your four-footers.

“It's always important to be as match-ready as you can be, and a little nine hole, light-hearted bit of fun, card in your hand sort of thing can help you get focused, so it is a help for me for the tournament. I wouldn't want to miss it.”

Harrington will tee it up with US Ryder Cup skipper Paul Azinger in the par-three contest today but claims he was unaware of the American’s controversial comments on opposite number Nick Faldo in a British Sunday paper.

Harrington joked: “Maybe I should have scratched my name. I'm really not aware of it the at all. Is there really antagonism?

“I think Paul is going to be a great captain, exactly what the US team needs, and that's honest. I think he's going to help them a lot.”

As for his game, Harrington is happy with his build up and reckons he has everything required to become a double-major winner at Augusta

He said: “You need a good short game and that's one of my strengths. There's no question that I would dearly love to win here.

“It's right in the forefront of my thoughts that if you can get around Augusta, hit the shots out here, there's no golf course you can't play.”

Harrington rates Augusta National as the ultimate test but he’s learned from bitter experience not to overdo his preparations by trying to cover every blade of grass.

Happy with his build-up strategy after grabbing the Open last year, he’s paying no attention to talk of Tiger Woods’ bid for the Grand Slam this season and staying fully focussed on looking after his own game.

Feeding off the mental strength that helped him win at Carnoustie, Harrington said: “There's no question you are going to get some bad breaks this week or perceived bad breaks.

“You're going to hit a good shot that you've miss-clubbed on or something and you end up taking bogey or double-bogey, so there is a lot of mental resolve out here.

“And you've got to be very strong, a bit like playing on a links course. You've got to be very good with your head this week.”

As for Woods and the first leg of the Grand Slam, he said: “It's definitely possible for him. But you know, to win all four, if he goes and does that, he really does deserve a pat on the back.

“When it comes to Tiger, you have to actually do your own thing and play your own game and do your own thing.

“If it doesn't come up good enough, just shake the other guy's hands and say ‘well done.’”