Harrington wrestling with success

Padraig Harrington will be more Hulk Hogan than Ben Hogan this week as the bids for the third leg of the Paddy Slam.

The Dubliner revealed that he has been inundated with text's and emails from well-wishers but the message that really tickled his fancy was a wrestling joke from English rival Lee Westwood.

Harrington beamed: "I've been getting the text messages and the e‑mails and the encouragement.  I think the best one was Lee Westwood, who said, 'What's all this about the Paddy Slam?  Are you starting up wrestling?'"

Wrestling is just about the only sport that has not asked Harrington for help over the past two years.

The Dubliner has given pep talks to the Irish rugby team, the Dubliner gaelic footballers and Olympic boxer Kenny Egan with mixed results.

Ireland won the rugby Grand Slam for the first time for 61 years with giant lock Paul O'Connell confessing that Harrington's words made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

O'Connell explained: "Padraig was invited to talk to us at our Christmas get-together by our coach, Declan Kidney. He spoke for two hours, and he was totally inspirational.

"He made you feel like you could take on the world - and win. It was wonderful, emotional, moving stuff

"I've been a big admirer of Padraig's ever since he won the first of his back-to-back Open titles at Carnoustie in 2007. It was brilliant to see an Irish sportsman beating everyone on a world stage.

"All week, he had been saying he was going to win, and I love that attitude. For too long in Ireland we have been 'cap in hand' when it  comes to sport but now there is a greater sense of confidence."

Egan won a medal in the Beijing Olympics after a talk with Harrington but the golfing ace is not taking his role as motivational speaker too seriously after the Dublin crashed out to Carlow in the 2006 O'Bryne Cup.

He joked: "The Dublin football team and the Irish rugby team are equally enthusiastic about what I had to say. The Dublin team went out and lost to a very lowly‑ranked team the following week, and the Irish rugby team have had success.  So, I'm at 50/50 at this stage.  The next one could be pivotal."