Padraig Harrington jetted back to Dublin on Monday following his FedEx Cup disappointment still undecided about whether or not he would prepare for the Ryder Cup by trying for a seventh Irish PGA crown.
But senior star Des Smyth believes that a win is a win. And a domestic win for Harrington at Seapoint from September 23-26 would be a boost to any player’s confidence just five days before a Ryder Cup.
He might be 57 and past his peak, but Smyth will be regarded one of Harrington’s main rivals at the Drogheda links alongside tour stars Shane Lowry and Damien McGrane.
Yet the eight-time European Tour winner and former Ryder Cup player knows what a win can do for a player’s confidence after grabbing his first victory for three years in the Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Woburn on Sunday.
After extending his winning streak into a fifth decade, Smyth said: “I was delighted to win because I can’t remember the last time I had a victory and that’s what it is all about in this game.
“We practice and put in a lot of hours and all we want to do is win a golf tournament now and then. That’s why I am the happiest man around.”
Smyth earned €47,853 for his fifth Senior win and the 21st of his impressive, 36-year professional career.
But the 2006 Ryder Cup assistant captain is not showing signs of slowly down and immediately jetted out to South Korea on Sunday night to battle for a possible $353,000 pay-day in the US Champions Tour’s Posco E&C Songdo Championship.
The first Champions Tour event to be staged in Asia, Smyth got the call to hep fill out the field despite the fact that he last played full time on the US circuit in 2008.
When he gets back he’ll have a week to get ready to battle for his seventh Irish PGA title at Seapoint, the Drogheda links course he designed with pal Declan Branigan 17 years ago.
The winner of the Ladbrokes.com Irish PGA will take home little more than €4,000 and while Harrington would perfer to be playing for a potential $10m (€7.7m) pay-day in the FedEx Cup play-offs, he could do with a win.
He hasn’t won on tour since he captured the US PGA at Oakland Hills in 2008, while his last victory of any kind came when he matched Smyth by capturing the Irish PGA for the sixth time at The European Club 15 months ago.
Harrington was in no hurry to make any announcements about the Irish PGA as he waited for his FedEx Cup exit to become official following the Monday finish to the Deutsche Bank Championship.
He was projected to fall to 76th in the FedEx Cup standings when he missed the cut on Saturday night but he rose as high as 72nd last night as players ahead of him faltered in the final round.
In the end the Dubliner finished a mere 24 points outside the magical top-70 in 73rd place.
If he seeks a sponsor’s invitation, the world No 19 could still play alongside Graeme McDowell in next week’s Austrian Open.
Playing the Irish PGA has many advantages but not winning could create the wrong impression.
As Eamonn Darcy said before the domestic professional championship two years ago: “If he doesn’t win there’s something wrong, isn’t there.”