Harrington convinced he's on right path

Padraig Harrington hit back at his swing critics and insisted he will “have the last laugh” when he goes on to win more Majors.

Open hero Tom Watson said on the eve of the final round that he couldn’t understand why the Dubliner appears to have shortened his swing this season.

But Harrington dismissed Watson’s theory and vowed to press on with his game improvements despite his disastrous title defence.

After closing with a 73 to finish tied 65th on 12 over, Harrington said: “I never tried to shorten my golf swing. It’s amazing that everybody has got that in their head.

“It may have shortened but I have never tried to shorten my golf swing. What actually happened is I have got a little bit stuck because I was lifting my arms but I couldn’t go any further.”

Watson reckons that Harrington has been in a slump this season because he has shortened his swing, explaining: “I liked the length of the swing last year, and now he's shortened the swing and he's having a hard time with it. You lose your rhythm when you shorten the swing.”

But Harrington was having none of it, explaining: “People have come up to me and said I have tried to shorten my swing, but why would I try to shorten my swing? Why would I do that? Over life your swing will get shorter. Mother Nature does that.

“It is nice to get encouragement and plenty of people have come up to me and offered me advice and it is all taken on board.

“But I always want to get better and this is a way of getting better. I will be a better player as a result of this and I will have the last laugh.

"The key now is to be ready for the PGA and that is what I am looking at going forward. As I said about this week, I would have liked it to be in another couple of weeks time and the PGA is in a couple of weeks time. I believe my game will be good and strong going into that and that is what I have go to wait for."

While Harrington believes he is on the right track with his swing changes, Rory McIlroy left Turnberry regretting his disastrous performances on the front nine as he finished on eight over par after a final round 71.

While he was one under for outward stretch on the first day, he played it in 12 over par over the final three rounds and confessed that needs to hit the ball lower in the wind if he is to win the Claret Jug some day.

McIlroy said: “I’ve played the front nine woefully but I think I’m one under on the back nine which was good and on the eighth hole I was seven over par which wasn’t too good.

“I just struggled to keep my ball flight down on Friday. I haven’t played in wind like that for a while so I struggled to play the shots I needed to.”

McIlroy would love to take a leaf out of Harrington’s book and play the Irish PGA the week before the Open at St Andrews next year.

But he confessed that it would be difficult to turn down the massive world ranking and Race to Dubai points on offer in the clashing Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.

He said: “I’ll sit down at the end of the year and think about it and give serious consideration. It’s worked for Padraig a couple of times so we’ll see or maybe I’ll take two weeks off after the US Open and play a lot of links golf and then play Loch Lomond, it’s a hard tournament to miss.”

McIlroy’s next event is Wednesday’s $300,000 showdown with Harrington to mark the official opening of the Lough Erne resort in Co Fermanagh.

But he’s also looking forward to getting the most out of his high ball flight in next month’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA at Hazeltine.

He said: “I can’t wait. I have a couple of weeks off now but the WGC Bridgestone the week before is a massive tournament with lots of ranking points and points for the Race to Dubai.

“I think that style of golf suits my game a little better so hopefully I can flight the ball high and shoot a couple of low numbers."