Padraig Harrington has been forced to swallow a bitter pill as time runs out on his bid to win the Open again.

With his coach Bob Torrance insisting he must take his medicine “one sip at a time”, the Dubliner knows he simply can’t find his ‘A’ game with just two days to go before the off.

TurnberryHoping he can use his mental strength to win the day, Harrington confessed: “If somebody could push The Open back a couple of weeks, I’d be delighted. But I don’t have that option. We’ll go with whatever we have on Thursday afternoon.

“I am really optimistic about my swing going forward. Do I believe it is going to be ready this Thursday? Experience tells me not.”

Torrance and Harrington spent three hours making running repairs to his backswing on Monday.

But the triple major winner knows that it is virtually impossible to make those improvements automatic before he tees it up with Jim Furyk and Geoff Ogilvy tomorrow.

He’s now relying on his mental coach Dr Bob Rotella but even the optimistic American admits that stopping his pupil thinking too much will be a challenge.

Rotella said: “Basically, we’re getting his head there with his putter and getting into his target and accepting it, wherever it goes. We want to see him playing with a big smile on his face.

“He is letting go of his swing changes and committed to just getting out there and into his target.

“He'd like to see it show up in his ball striking but right now he's really just getting into playing golf.

“He is very close. Very close. And I like where he is at. He has got to get into his target and not think and for Padraig that's challenging."

The mental game has been Harrington's real strength for the past two years and he believes that if he can survive for three and a half rounds, he will have a great chance of winning a hat-trick of titles. The problem is surviving that long.

He said: "The one thing I know is that if I get into position, I can win. Others can get there, but they won't win. At least I know I can do it if I can get into position. Can I get into position is what's in doubt."

Rotella believes that the signs are positive following his win in the Irish PGA at the European Club last week, explaining: "That was good for him, mainly because he got his putter where it needs to be. If he gets his head quiet with his putter, he can play. The rest of it doesn't matter that much. He can hit a hybrid off the tee.”

Harrington won’t get away with hitting a hybrid off the tee everywhere at Turnberry and when he hit two drivers on the third hole in practice yesterday, both finished up in fairway bunkers.

And he knows that’s a recipe for disaster on a course where a visit to a fairway bunker is as good as a dropped shot.

He said: “My whole golfing life, I’ve avoided the bunkers at all costs. Bunkers are like water hazards on a links course because you have to chip out.”

Missing the bunkers is only part of the puzzle. He also has to avoid rough that’s thicker and juicier that is has been for years at an Open.

Harrington said: “It’s very tough. The rough is very lush at the bottom and if you hit it in there, it’s going to be a big struggle this week.

“It’s definitely going to suit somebody who drives the ball very well and you do need to hit a driver on the golf course.

“It’s a long course, especially if there’s a little bit of wind. You’re definitely going to have to hit driver and you’re going to have to hit it straight.”

Harrington compared himself to Howard Hughes last week because of his obsession with taking things apart to discover how they work.

Doing it with his golf swing has been a dangerous juggling act and he knows that it will take time to get all the pieces in working order before he can say it has been a success.

But he denied that he has been at loggerheads with Torrance, despite the fact that they did not see each other for the best part of three months earlier this year.

Declaring their swing rows a thing of the past, Harrington said: “It hasn't been too bad. It used to be years ago. We used to get very into it when I had less of an understanding and Bob wouldn't give me all the information.

“I'd want all the information and we'd have heated discussions. When you start off with Bob, he'll tell you to do something because he wants you to change something else. Cause and effect.

“And I found it hard not to be told what the effect was. I wanted to know the answers. But sometimes when you give a player the answer, he goes for the answer instead of doing the cause, which is main thing.

“So Bob calls it one sip of the medicine but it can be very frustrating for somebody who wants to know the answer as he is doing it. He is afraid that the answer will slow you down, let's say.

“I don't think we have an situation where we have anything close to a heated discussion. But Bob gets disappointed.

“Every bad shot I ever hit, pains him. Every time I don't win a tournament, it hurts him more than it hurts me. It is always tougher for people around you.

“We’ve been working together since the 1998 Open at Birkdale, that’s 11 years this week. Bob is the best swing coach in the world.”