From Brian Keogh in Detroit

Padraig Harrington is still known in parts of Cork as Paddy Harrington's son. But the lion-hearted Rebel half-back that contested All-Ireland finals in '56 and '57 can look down on the lad he drove to amateur tournaments all over Ireland and see those Harrington genes working like dynamos.

Asked if she gave her son got his incredible drive to battle all comers and stand triumphant at the finish, Harrington's mother Breda said modestly: "No. he got that from his father."

Having entered the pantheon of Irish sporting greats at Carnoustie and joined the golfing immortals with back to back major wins at Royal Birkdale and Oakland Hills, Harrington has no doubt that it is heart that got him where he is today.

"I've always had it," he said as he sped away from the scene of his third major triumph on Sunday night. "You have to take responsibility when the situation arises and go for it. You are the only that can do it."

His two-stroke win in the US PGA will make him an even bigger global star now, according to his manager Adrian Mitchell, who added: "It's America. It just adds a different dimension to the story. It's not just a third major but an American major."

Huge financial opportunities will arise for Harrington when several of his current contracts expire at the end of the year.

But what won't change is his attitude to winning and as he picks his way through the shining moments of that final round 66 that gave him his third Grand Slam title from six starts, he points to one stellar moment as the key to his success.

The raking hook with a five-wood he hit around the trees at the par-five 12th to set up a vital birdie and close the gap on Sergio Garcia, arguably laid the foundations for one of the most memorable major wins in recent history.

Harrington said: "I knew the situation. I knew what I had to do. You get chances in a Major tournament on the back nine, and you've got to take them.

"I'm a great believer in making it your own responsibility whether you win or you don't win. So that's why I took it on. I realized it was the same 5-wood that I hit to the 17th at Birkdale.

"There is only one other person at the moment you see doing it. There's no doubt the more trouble Tiger gets into the better he plays. While he's good from the front he's almost better coming from behind. Put me in the trees and I get excited going down the fairway.

"I had no better enjoyment on that day than moving the crowd back and saying I'm going right here. I'm going around this tree, over that tree and onto the green. I've always got the most enjoyment in life in putting something out there that people are surprised at.

"The marshals all thought I was chipping out. They hadn't even moved the ropes. Once I can hit, I am going to take the shot on."

That shot and many others, will live long in the memory. But it Harrington's putting was out of this world on the final day, especially on the back nine, where he single putted seven times.

His par save at the 16th left him tied for the lead and when he rifled that five iron to just 10 feet at the 17th, he felt he had won before Garcia followed him in and stuck his approach to just four feet.

Harrington has always played better in adversity that he has when things are going his way. But that mindset will change now as he steps up to a new level in the game.

He said: "All the way through my career I've gone difficult, difficult, difficult, then win. Then I"d go to a different level, difficult, difficult, difficult and then win. I used find the Majors difficult now I've won three in six.

"During my amateur career top four 24 times with two wins and then I went 18 months without losing over 36 holes of stroke play once. Things ebb and flow and I seem to be on the run at the moment.

"I'm only happy when my back's to the wall and things are going wrong. I definitely have issues about feeling comfortable but that's what was so satisfying at Birkdale. I performed when things were going well. I believe I need to do more of that and take more from that. Play good golf when I'm feeling good.

"I have to move to the next level, as Tiger has done. He's won many tournaments as I did this week, in a battle, but he also has the ability when he gets ahead to keep going and not give other people a chance.

"I did that at Birkdale. That's where I'm talking about the level of confidence. When I've got things going good, I keep them up the level of performance.

"I've won three Majors and all of them have been distinctly different. The one which gave me most satisfaction was Birkdale. I won that playing good golf. It was mine to win and I did what I came to do.

'the PGA, though it was exceptionally exciting. I would put that more into the category of that's me, I do those things and I've won plenty of tournaments like that over the years. That's my experience. This was much more exciting that Birkdale. I enjoyed the excitement and was very comfortable."

The enormity of his achievement hit home when he was announced in the media centre as the first European to win back-to-back major titles.

It put him in a class of his won and separated him from his heroes such as Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo or Bernhard Langer.

He said: "I really DO like the fact that no other European has won two Majors consecutively. Because obviously I obviously hold a lot of European players who I grew up watching in high esteem. To believe that I achieved something that they hadn't is very special."