Harrington looking out for No 1 - himself


Padraig Harrington will be looking out for No 1 at the Masters - and he doesn’t mean Tiger Woods.

With three majors on his CV, the Dubliner wants to break into a league of his own and he knows he has to be selfish and ignore the Tiger hype if he is pull on a green jacket.

Woods revealed on Monday that he had been welcomed back with open arms by his rivals, adding: “It’s amazing how many hugs I’ve gotten from the guys.”

But Harrington insisted that he wasn’t one of the Tiger huggers and only had time to look after himself as he tees it up at Augusta for the 11th time.

Harrington rapped: “I didn’t watch Tiger’s press conference. There is the small matter of a golf tournament going on this week and a bit of work to be done. 

“A couple of people commented on it.  Most reacted by saying how much better Tiger’s press conference when he was being asked questions rather than having a prepared sort of statement.

“As regards to content, the only one I got was, did I give him a hug; I think he said he got lots of hugs.

“But I’m Irish. I don’t even hug my brothers.”

Harrington is coming into the Masters under the radar and with form on his side after getting into contention in his last three starts.

And while many are wondering if a young gun like Camilo Villegas, Anthony Kim, Martin Kaymer or Charl Schwartzel can win at Augusta, Harrington insisted that he can’t afford to worry about anyone but himself.

He said: “If I am not going to win on Sunday afternoon, I will be rooting for one of my European friends. Mind you, some of my friends are over here too. 

“It might sound very selfish but at this moment in time, it’s all about me and those guys are my competitors.”

With two Opens and US PGA title in his locker Harrington only has eyes for major No 4.

Of the active players, he is in an elite club with Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh with three majors apiece.

Winning at Augusta would leave Harrington needing only the US Open to complete the career Grand Slam and join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tiger Woods in golf’s most exclusive club. 

Asked what winning the Masters would mean to him, he said: “It would be exceptional.  People have been saying, who is going to get the fourth major, break out of that pack of three.  

“I won two of the four different majors, obviously the Masters and the U.S. Open I haven’t got.  If I won a fourth, I would dearly like it to be the Masters or the U.S. Open. 

“But the Masters is definitely one of the most special ones to win. It would be very special to win here.”

Harrington couldn’t stop the flood of questions about Woods and confessed that he couldn’t imagine trying to win the Masters after five months out of the game.

He said: “I would be a hopeless wreck, but that’s my nature.  

“You have to remember that Tiger, of all of the competitive players, he has a good ability to bring his game from the practice round to the golf course and I have a very poor ability to do that.  

“That’s why it couldn’t work for me and it could work for him and it’s not ideal and I’m sure he doesn’t think it’s ideal either.  

“He would have liked to have played a little bit, but he’s still capable.  If he’s managed his practice properly, it’s still possible to do that.”