Fear factor the key for Harrington

Padraig Harrington is banking on the fear factor to help him beat Tiger Woods to Masters glory.

The Open champion is feeling good about his chances of becoming the first Irishman to don the green jacket at Augusta National.

And that means feeding off his inner fears instead of worrying about what Woods is doing.

He said: "There's an awful lot of intimidation factor here at Augusta.

"Coming down the stretch, hitting into all the greens through the back nine, there's an awful lot of intimidation factor on those holes, and you've got to be spot on.

"I think this is a real test not just of your nerve but your ability to strike the ball.

"Golf was always about not just testing the ability to hit the golf ball well but to handle the different things that are thrown up, and Augusta really does test everybody on all fronts."

Nightmare memories of the par five 15th last year will spur him on to become the jolly green golfing giant on Sunday night.

The Dubliner dropped five shots on the 530yard tester known as Firethorn running up a bogey, a double bogey and a triple bogey eight on three of his four visits.

It turned out to be the difference to between winning and losing as he finished four shots behind shock champion Zach Johnson on five-over par.

And while he's flying high after breaking his Major championship duck at Carnoustie last year, he'll be playing with fear again this week.

Explaining his mindset, he said: "I play with fear. It isn't a good thing to play with for most people but it works for me.

"It's nice to play with confidence but that has never brought me much success and I struggle. I play the wrong shots. When I have fear I know what I can and can't do.

"If I play with fear, that means it's important and I focus better."

Beaten just twice in competition since last July, Woods is the hottest of favourites as he bids for the first leg of the coveted Grand Slam.

But while Woods' confidence is sky high, Harrington and the rest of the European contenders know that he can be beaten.

The Dubliner has gone head-to-head with Woods twice in his career and come off a winner.

In 2002 he held off the World No 1 to take the Target World Challenge and then beat him in a playoff for the Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan less than 16 months ago.

Winning the Open has given Harrington more belief in himself not that he didn't have it after last year's performance at Augusta.

Tied for seventh despite that nightmare run at the 15th, he walked away knowing he had the game to win the Masters.

At the time, he said: "I walk away from this tournament knowing that I'm capable of winning the Masters. I felt great all day."

This year he knows that he has to putt well and play smart to remain in the hunt until the back nine on Sunday.

He said: "If I was to ask for anything this week, it would be if I make good decisions all week, as a first goal. That would be right up there with putting well.

"Those are probably the two biggest things you want to do during the week. You make good decisions and putt well, you'll have a good week."

Tee-times (Irish time)
1 pm Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel
1:11 pm Fuzzy Zoeller, Brett Wetterich, Heath Slocum
1:22 pm Mark O’Meara, aTrip Kuehne, Ian Poulter
1:33 pm Larry Mize, Peter Lonard, Hunter Mahan
1:44 pm Gary Player, Miguel Angel Jimenez, D.J. Trahan
1:55 pm Justin Leonard, Charles Howell III, Nick Watney
2:06 pm Scott Verplank, Robert Allenby, Michael Campbell
2:17 pm Ben Crenshaw, aMichael Thompson, Nick O’Hern
2:28 pm Steve Lowery, Robert Karlsson, Nick Dougherty
2:39 pm Fred Couples, Jerry Kelly, Anders Hansen
2:50 pm Vaughn Taylor, Martin Kaymer, Arron Oberholser
3:12 pm Jose Maria Olazabal, Liang Wenchong, Rory Sabbatini
3:23 pm Zach Johnson, Luke Donald, Geoff Ogilvy
3:34 pm Mike Weir, Padraig Harrington, Jeev Milkha Singh
3:45 pm Tiger Woods, Angel Cabrera, Stuart Appleby
3:56 pm Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Toru Taniguchi
4:07 pm Todd Hamilton, Brian Bateman
4:18 pm Craig Stadler, Johnson Wagner, Steve Flesch
4:29 pm Ian Woosnam, Richard Green, Stephen Ames
4:40 pm Boo Weekley, Trevor Immelman, Sean O’Hair
4:51 pm Sandy Lyle, John Rollins, J.B. Holmes
5:02 pm Soren Hansen, Daniel Chopra, Richard Sterne
5:24 pm Tom Watson, Brandt Snedeker, John Senden
5:35 pm Tim Clark, David Toms, Niclas Fasth
5:46 pm Raymond Floyd, aDrew Weaver, Jonathan Byrd
5:57 pm Bernhard Langer, Prayad Marksaeng, Woody Austin
6:08 pm Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Mark Calcavecchia
6:19 pm Adam Scott, Paul Casey, Retief Goosen
6:30 pm Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink
6:41 pm Phil Mickelson, Andres Romero, K.J. Choi
6:52 pm Ernie Els, Shingo Katayama, Jim Furyk
7:03 pm Aaron Baddeley, Camilo Villegas, Lee Westwood