Harrington wants tough Turnberry test

Padraig Harrington confessed that he needs a war of attrition at Turnberry if he is to complete a hat-trick of Open wins.

The Dubliner played the famous Ailsa Course for the first time yesterday and immediately started praying for hard and fast conditions that would give him a mental edge over his rivals.

He's off. Harrington tries Turnberry.Turnberry is famous for the 1977 “Duel in the Sun” when Tom Watson outgunned Jack Nicklaus in a birdie fest.

But Harrington believes the tougher the conditions, the better his chances of becoming the first man to win three Claret Jugs in a row since Australian Peter Thompson pulled off the feat in 1956.

“I’ve seen the footage of the Duel in the Sun and similar conditions wouldn’t suit me but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it in those conditions,” he said during a company day for Wilson Golf. "But I think it would be better for me if it was a tough, hard fought battle. 

“The three majors I have won on have been three of the toughest courses you can find on the major rota – Carnoustie and Birkdale and obviously Oakland Hills.

“If anything the course is in too nice condition. It is green and lush and pristine out there. So I am hoping for another two months of dry weather to make it more rough and ready because that is what links golf is all about. 

“I want it to be bouncy and fast where you get bad lies and tight lies to that it tests everybody’s mental side as well as the physical side.

“I do prefer when a major is difficult and there are a couple of incidents during the week that are borderline, on the edge.

“I want a couple of pin positions that are really nasty - a storm that gets up or something else that will test the guys. I prefer the mental challenge rather than the physical challenge. 

“I’d rather see it when the conditions are throwing up bad bounces, bad breaks and everybody is tested mentally. That’s where my strength is.”

After missing his fourth cut of the season at the 3 Irish Open last week, Harrington is struggling to rediscover the form that saw him back to back Majors last season.

But he believes that if he can get his preparation right, he has an excellent chance of becoming just the fifth player in history to complete an Open hat-trick.

He said: “I know Peter Thomson was the last man to do it and it is rare that someone wins three in a row. But I think I am in with a great chance of doing it. I feel like my game will be ready and that’s all I can ask for. 

“All I can control is my preparation and if I get my preparation right there is a fair chance I will be in contention and I know if I am in contention I can go on and win it from there. So the stuff I can control is what I am focussed on and that is about getting myself ready to play.”

Six new tees have added 247 to Turnberry since Nick Price won the Open in 1994 and Harrington regards it as a serious test off the tee.

He said: “I like it and it suits my eye. It is a very good track and you have got to hit it straight off the tee and thread it through those bunkers or decide to lay up. There is a lot of strategy involved.”