Padraig Harrington has been flying so low under the radar so far this year that he could easily have grass stains on his polo shirt.

But Darren Clarke's start to the year has been positively subterranean and his 44th place finish in last week's Honda Classic can partly be attributed to an earthquake-like break up with his caddie Phil Morbey after just 36 holes at the PGA National Champion Course.

After 11 months and two victories together, the Ulsterman sacked  Morbey on Friday evening and replaced him with Englishman Mick Doran for the last two rounds. Asked about the change at Doral yesterday, he grinned sheepishly and said: "Wobbly and I just had a little bit of a disagreement over something. Mick is on my bag this week and at the Tavistock Cup next week. After that we'll see."

Clarke triple bogeyed the 17th in the second round of the Honda Classic when he was running with the leading bunch and while he shot 68 with Doran on the bag in the third round, he slithered down the leaderboard with a final round 74 and hopes for better this week as he bids to make the world's top 50 in time to qualify for the Masters.

The Ulsterman made a good start to his week in Miami by taking the money off Rory McIlroy in a nine-hole practice round and after taking all of Tuesday off to go bone fishing, he feels refreshed and ready to go at Doral, where he withdrew after a first round 75 on his only appearance here in the 2006 Ford Championship.

“It’s always good to take the money off these youngsters,” Clarke said with a grin. “Around here you have to hit it straight because the greens are firm and getting firmer. I’m not putting pressure on myself about the Masters. Whatever happens, happens and I played not too bad last week, so let’s see how we go.”

Harrington's distinctly underwhelming start the season has not fooled his rivals, who are already being bombarded with questions about Augusta, where the affable Dubliner will be gunning for his third major victory in a row in just four weeks' time.

Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who will be defending the CA Championship at Doral this week, is only mildly surprised that the triple major winning Irishman has been overshadowed by Tiger Woods’ comeback from knee surgery and Rory McIlroy’s meteoric rise to prominence. But he expects things to change radically before Augusta, where England’s Paul Casey has no doubt that the Dubliner to make a serious run for the third leg of the “Paddy Slam.”

“Rory is getting a lot at the moment, and rightfully so," Ogilvy said.  "He's warranted a lot of hype.  But Harrington has played his whole career under the radar, a little bit, which he probably likes, I don't know.  I think he should be under discussion."

Casey is being touted as the Englishman most likely to don a green jacket since Nick Faldo won his last of his three Masters titles in 1996. But he’s certainly not betting against the Irish world number five, despite his early season struggles.

“He'll sneak under the radar. I'd still put money on Padraig," Casey said. "I don't think you should read anything into a couple of missed cuts from him early in the season.  I mean, it's very early.  I'm sure he's not particularly worried.  I'm sure he's working harder than ever.  I think we should be worried.”