Padraig Harrington believes the New York crowd will give him a massive boost when he’s paired with Tiger Woods in the US Open at Bethpage for the second time.
With just two weeks to go before he bids for his fourth major title, he knows the Irish-mad fans will be the 15th club in his bag.
Paired with Woods in the third round when the US Open was last played at Bethpage State Park in 2002, Harrington has nothing but good memories despite being outscored 70-73 by the eventual champion.
He said: “I really liked the New York crowd. It was great, a great atmosphere at that event. It was phenomenal with it being a relatively new experience for me playing with Tiger in last group.
“I’m really looking forward to going back there.”
The USGA paired the top three players in the world in last year’s US Open at Torrey Pines with eventual winner Woods partnering Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott.
But there will be no 1-2-3 this year with the USGA’s Mike Davis confirming that Open champion Harrington will play with the defending US Open champion Woods for the first two days.
Davis said: "We probably did that ... I won't say it was a one-time basis, but the idea last year had so much to do with the fact we had an opportunity to get Phil and Tiger together, which had not happened at a US Open before.
“We always have that traditional pairing of the defending champion, the British Open champion and the US Amateur champion.”
US Amateur champion Danny Lee has turned pro and has to qualify but the USGA is thinking of completing the dream threeball with Masters champion Angel Cabrera.
Harrington is certainly not afraid of being heckled by the notoriously loud New York fans after finishing eighth behind Woods seven years ago in an event that was memorable for its partisan atmosphere.
Sergio Garcia was taunted as “Waggle Boy” by fans who counted the number of times he gripped and regripped the club before he eventually hit the ball.
But it was even tougher for Colin Mongtomerie despite a “Be Nice to Monty” campaign by Golf Digest.
Playing a practice round with Padraig Harrington, Montgomerie ignored a fan who called out ‘Hey Monty!’ several times.
Harrington recalled: “I think it was 12 when you have about a 40-yard walk back, and he walks the 40 yards past and wouldn't turn around, wouldn't turn around.”
When the fan changed his Monty catcall to "Mr Montgomerie, sir!”, the Scot turned around only to hear the fan say: “Nice tits.”
Smiling at the memory, Harrington is not expecting to get any stick himself.
He said: “No, it's a great Irish crowd. There's a lot of Irish people there. I'm the sort of guy, as well, that if somebody comes up with something original, I'll laugh.
“It didn’t happen to me but I like the idea of it. Some weeks it's great to have a big crowd like that.”
Harrington and Woods are in action at The Memorial in Dublin, Ohio this week.
The Dubliner has promised to put the swing change that has affected his form this season “on the back burner” and insisted it’s time to “go out and play golf.”