Harrington must catch up on his reading

Padraig Harrington putts for birdie at the 9th hole, his final hole during the second round of the Barclays Scottish Open, played over the links at Castle Stuart, Inverness, Scotland from 7th to 10th July 2011: Picture Stuart Adams /www.golffile.ie 8th July 2011Padraig Harrington’s Open hopes went belly up after another horror show on the greens.

But while the Dubliner ruled out a move to the long putter in the short term after missing yet another major cut, he reckons Darren Clarke has the game to continue Ireland’s golden run in the majors.

Believing his pal will be inspired by Ireland’s five major wins in the last five years, Harrington said: “Darren’s got to be in with a great chance with 36 holes to go.

“He’s certainly going to be well in it and if he plays good golf at the weekend, he’s going to have a chance to win it on Sunday afternoon.

“Who knows. When he sees the rest of us having done it, he night say ‘why not?’”

While Clarke can break his major duck, Harrington was left wondering about his putting after missing the cut for the sixth time in 11 majors starts since his 2008 US PGA win.

He had three three-putts in a one over 71 that left him a single stroke outside the cut mark on three over.

The three time major champion three-stabbed the first and fifth for bogeys and while he birdied the fourth from two feet and the sixth from 18 feet, he played his last 12 holes in one over with a birdie at the 12th cancelled out by a three-putt bogey at the 10th and another dropped shot at the 14th.

“The last two days on the greens, I have just hit some awful putts, terrible putts,” he said candidly. “Today, I hit every iron shot down the flag, probably the best iron play as far back as I can remember but three three-putts is a lot.

“I am just not good on the greens. I hit a few bad ones yesterday and followed that up today without much faith or trust in them. I am just not committing to my lines. I am hitting my putts really badly, as bad as I’ve ever hit them.”

Harrington has experimented with the long putter - he favours the Matt Kuchar method of clenching the shaft to his forearm - but said he’s highly unlikely to go down that route any time soon as he’s still ranked amongst the top putters in the world.

“If I could find a head that I liked I think that’s a very good method of putting. I just don’t like it when it sits there,” he said before adding: “Never say never. Look at Retief Goosen, great putter with a short putter and great putter with a long one.”

He believes that his recent problems are all in his head and reckons he just has to have more trust in his reading of the greens.

He said: “I’m hitting bad putts from 15 feet and I’m just not trusting my pace, not trusting my line and then it’s just creeping into my stroke.

“I’ve got to really commit to my read, whether it’s right or wrong, then my putting will come back.”

Harrington has slipped to 57th in the world rankings since he won his third major three years ago. But he’s not panicking about his putting just yet.

He said: “I’m still top 20 in the putting stats in the States, I’m not the worst out there. But the three three-putts today and the putts yesterday, they hurt badly. It’s quite frustrating.”