Major hero Padraig Harrington plans to go completely mental as he begins the countdown to the Masters.
And that’s because he’s totally focussed on getting his mind in tune when he bids for the third leg of the “Paddy Slam” at Augusta National.
Set to kick off a four-week American run in the Buick Invitational tomorrow, Harrington said: “I am happy with how my winter work has gone, but it is not to say that I am finished with it.
“I will be working away on the same things for the rest of the season but my focus shifts more to the mental side of things from now on."
Harrington knows he will be under massive pressure to perform in the Masters and already has a wish list of things that must go right for him at Augusta if he is to win his third Major on the trot.
He said: “Putting and making the right decisions are the two absolute most important things. They are way ahead of anything else. I don't think you can win without doing both of those.
“ It is a toss up between which of the two I'd prefer. I'd probably need both of those in the week. I'd probably go with making the right decisions. Maybe that is the No 1 key. I don't think anybody wins without putting well there but you have the make the right decisions in Augusta.”
His first outing of the year in Abu Dhabi showed him the importance of being mentally ready to go at the Masters.
He said: “I was delighted with my first week out in Abu Dhabi after eight weeks off. Going out there I hoped that I would be competitive but felt that I would struggle, so to end up finishing in a tie for fourth was good start to my season.
“But I can look back and pick out several mental errors. I can see where I dropped shots because my routines and decision making weren’t up to scratch.”
Harrington will share top billing with local San Diego favourite Phil Mickelson on his return to last year’s US Open venue Torrey Pines.
From there he heads to Pebble Beach and Los Angles before wrapping up his first PGA Tour stint of the season alongside Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell at the WGC Accenture Match Play in Arizona.
Looking forward to some of his favourite venues, Harrington said: “I really like Torrey Pines, that’s why I’m going there. The five golf courses we play in the first three tournaments are five of the best golf courses of the year.
"Obviously, the first week back out there are going to be teething problems but the hope is that those problems will be less at Pebble Beach and less again in the Northern Trust at Riviera because they probably are three of the most suitable tournament venues for me."
Harrington will also use his next four events to tweak his equipment after putting a set of prototype Wilson irons in his bag in Abu Dhabi.