Padraig Harrington was in great form ahead of a tournament that could turn a mediocre season into one of his best ever.

With permission from Tiger Woods, a win in the Tour Championship would be worth $11.35m to the Dubliner - $1.35 for the title and another $10m for winning the FedExCup (tee times - points standings).

Reflecting on his black and white season, he said: "It was possible it was going to be one of those years you just have to write off. But the FedExCup has given me the opportunity to change that around. We're still going; it's still in the balance. As I said, if I can get that win, it would turn the year into a very successful one." 

Harrington is bursting to win again but he's also sounding very relaxed.

He played a prank on Open champion Stewart Cink before his press conference, stealing back the Claret Jug he had on his kitchen table for two years and hiding it in his own locker. 

Cink explained:  "I registered, then I went back up there real quick and I met with PGA TOUR productions to do another interview before I came down here, and I looked in my locker and saw that the jug was gone, so I assumed they had gotten it and put it on their set. I said, "So you guys already have the Claret Jug." And they said, "No." Then the locker room attendant came over, and he said, "I think Mr. Harrington played a joke on you."  I think Harrington walked in and saw the case, not the jug, but the case. A lot of people don't know what's in there. He knew. He said, I know what's in that case, put it in my locker."

He's obviously missing the trophy but could be going home with another one on Sunday night if he picks up his first tour win since the US PGA 14 months ago.

To do that he will almost certainly have to win and pray that Woods doesn't finish second.

If that is to happen, he could find himself standing over a 15 footer for $11.35m on the 72nd green on Sunday night.

Asked how that might feel, Harrington said: "I could stand here and tell you, no, it won't affect me, I won't think about it at all, but I'd be telling you lies."

Harrington still has fish to fry in Europe with the Dunhill Links, Portugal Masters, Barclays Singapore Open, the HSBC Champions and the Dubai World Championship just some of the events on his autumn schedule.

But after a season that he was tempted to write off just a few weeks ago, he's on the cusp of turning things around at East Lake in Atlanta this week.

You know, last year I was coming off the back of two major wins, and my season was done at that stage. I had peaked, and as much as I was trying, physically trying, there just was nothing in the tank. 

This year it was the opposite. I performed poorly up until -- well, up until August, and I hadn't got any wins in the bank. I hadn't done anything really coming into the FedExCup. So I was very motivated for it, and I think that makes a big difference.

The motivation was -- if I can play well in the FedExCup and finish the season off, particularly if I got a win, I'd be able to look back at this year as being a very positive year. And if I win this tournament, say, and win the FedExCup, when we look back in time, we say 2009 was a great year. You weren't going to say that two months ago; it was looking pretty miserable at that stage of the year.

As for the golf course, officials sound confident that there will be no need for preferred lies despite 12 inches of recent rain. While the fairways are wet in parts, the greens are firm thanks to sub-air systems.