Harrington's season a "wash out" ... so far

Padraig Harrington admits that his season has been a “washout” so far.

And after finishing amongst the also-rans at the Open he’s not sure when he will emerge from the doldrums.

Padraig Harrington is battling to emerge from the depthsReflecting on his slump in form on his website, he said: "I am aware that most of my season to date has been a washout but I am still confident that the short term pain will lead to long term gain.

“It would be great if I had a magic wand that I could wave and all the work that I have done and have to do was over and fully bedded in, but that is just not possible.”

Harrington’s numbers make scary reading since he claimed his third major with victory in the US PGA less than 12 months ago.

He’s down from third to 16th in the world and has shot over par in 38 of the 77 strokeplay rounds he’s played since he lifted the Wanamaker Trophy at Oakland Hills.

He’s missed 10 cuts since last August, broken par just four times since the Masters and languishes 80th in the Race to Dubai, which leaves him in danger of failing to qualify for the Tour’s $10m (€7m) Dubai World Championship in November.

He still has plenty of time to salvage that situation but his hopes of qualifying for the FedEx Cup play-offs on the PGA Tour will depend on the next two weeks.

Finishing 65th in the Open dropped Harrington out of the top 125 who qualify for first FedEx Cup play-off event, the Barclays, from August 21-24.

The situation is now so uncertain that he has no real idea what tournament schedule he will be playing after next week's WGC- Bridgestone Invitationl and the US PGA.

"Who knows," he said.

That won’t please his sponsors Wilson Golf or FTI Consulting, who are believed to be paying him an estimated $22m over the next three years to make an even bigger impact in the US market.

His first chance to shine again will come at Firestone Country Club in Ohio, where Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell will also tee it up in the no-cut event.

Harrington’s played in Akron 10 times since 1999 but has yet to improve on the 12th place finish he achieved on his debut. And with just two weeks to go before his US PGA defence at Hazeltine in Minnesota, the short-term optimism he showed before the Open also appears to have vanished.

At the time he hinted that he was close to finding his game and wished the Open was another two weeks away.

But it now appears that having tied himself up in knots working on his swing, he is finding it difficult to trust his method and let it loose.

He claimed in Turnberry that he struck the ball as well, or possibly better, than ever. Yet he failed to commit to his targets because of a lack of trust in his swing and paid severe penalties.

Blaming poor mental preparation for his edgy performance at Turnberry, Harrington said: “If I can turn up to events and my mental approach and preparation is right then I will be in a good position to perform in any tournament.

“I have known this for a long time, but I had forgotten it over the last few months due to all the technical work that I have done. The good news is that I have remembered it again!

"Over the four rounds I was very happy with how I hit the ball, I felt that I hit a lot of shots out of the middle of the club, probably more than I have ever hit.

"But as well as I hit the ball, I just wasn’t trusting it enough, I was still being conservative and not taking on enough."

Four of Harrington’s back-room team were in Dublin over the weekend for a major coaching conference at City West.

Harrington sat up at the front of the Golf Room to hear the thoughts of his mentors from the Titleist Performance Institute, Dr Greg Rose and Dave Phillips.

But he also got the chance to see his trainer Dr Liam Hennessy and putting guru Dr Paul Hurrion.

Asked before the Open how long he'd be prepared to walk in the vale of tears, Harrington said: "As long as it takes."

Hopefully for his legion of fans around the world, that won't be too long.