Padraig Harrington celebrates his 40th birthday today which means he was born on the same day as the infamous Roman Emperor Caligula, violinist Itzhak Perlman, singer-songwriter Van Morrison and actors Richard Gere and James Coburn.
There’s not a lot of common ground there unless your a psychopathic, musical prodigy with a Belfast accent, a big nose and enough teeth to bite the head off a titanium driver.
Of course, we all think we know Padraig Harrington, who honestly believes that the best is yet to come in a career that has already brought him three Major championships.
He plays his sixth event on the trot this week when he tees it up in the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston ranked 80th in the FedEx Cup standings and bidding to move into the top 70 who go on to the BMW Championship in Chicago next week.
It’s a big week for him in terms of his season and his world ranking - he’s now 71st. But we thought we’d ask him a few questions that didn’t involve the yardage of that five iron to the 12th or the nuances of his latest swing change.
What’s your greatest extravagance? Would it have two engines and wings?
The jet is not an extravagance - that gets me to work. My greatest extravagance…. Extravagance is spending on something you don’t need. No, it’s not the [Aston Martin] DB7, my wife bought that. Maybe when I bought my first car, Mercedes SL500 in 1998. I still have it. I love it. Great car. Know why? Because whenever I get into it, it goes. [Unlike the DB7].
What virtues do you most admire in a man or a woman?
Honesty, and responsibility. Is responsibility a virtue?
On what occasions do you lie?
On what occasions do I lie? When it’s appropriate.
When in life were you happiest?
All the time. I am happy all the time. [Most probably a lie]
What qualities do you most dislike in yourself?
What’s your greatest strength?
Emm… I think optimism.
What would your dying words be?
If you had to make a musical instrument out of a vegetable, what would you do?
Well, if I wanted to make a flute, there was a courgette taken from my garden recently that would have comfortably done the job. It was 16 inches. I didn’t grow it personally. My kids grew it. You were probably hoping I was going to say cello, weren’t you?