Padraig Harrington reckons he’s found a formula that will cure a serious swing bug and put his career back on track.
The Dubliner spent the week working with new coach Pete Cowen at the Englishman’s Rotherham headquarters. And he feels ready now to test out his new swing in next week’s €1m Austrian GolfOpen where a win would boost his Race to Dubai and Ryder Cup hopes.
Desperate for some results, Harrington said: “Pete suggested a solution to something in my swing that’s been bugging me for a few years and I’m really excited about it.
“I’ve been lifting my right shoulder for a long time but he’s found a way stopping me lifting my arms in the backswing and going off-plane.
“It means you will see me with a wider and shorter swing than before and I’m looking forward to getting out to Austria to test it in competition. It’ll also keep me away from the range!”
Harrington badly needs some decent results after slipping 55 places to 78th in the world this year. He’s also a lowly 87th in The Race to Dubai standings and €120,000 outside the top 60 who will qualify for the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
A win in Austria is worth €166,660 and Harrington hopes to make big cheque there and the following week’s Alfred Dunhill Links.
With one eye on the Ryder Cup standings, he said: “I know that I need to improve my position in The Race to Dubai, but all it takes is a win or one strong finish and I will get into the top 60.
“I am also keen to make a start on my 2012 Ryder Cup qualification campaign.”
Harrington took advantage of his trip to the UK to work with his putting guru Dr Paul Hurrion. He jettisoned his trusty Odyssey Two-ball putter during the FedEx Cup play-offs. Yet while he was happy with the TaylorMade Ghost Spider, he believes he gets a better strike with his two-ball and appears likely to return to that model before long.
As the for the belly putter, he confessed that while he has experimented but has no plans to use one in competition.
Believing his putting is the least of his problems, Harrington said: “It just doesn’t feel right to me and if it was coming out today they would probably ban it.
“I have experimented with it but I would have to swallow my pride to use it in a tournament. You can never say never but I think my putting is fine at this stage.”
Harrington’s appearance at the Diamond Country Club will be his first in Austria.
He said: “It’s quite surprising that I have never played a tour event in Austria, but it is always interesting to visit a new country, a new golf course and to see another culture.
“I’m told the Austrian golf fans really get behind their national open, so it will be great to sample the atmosphere they create.”
Harrington, who turned 40 last month, will get a chance to meet rookies Paul Cutler and Tom Lewis in Austria.
The pair turned professional following last week’s Walker Cup win but while Cutler has joined Horizon Sports, Lewis will be in Harrington’s IMG stable and under the watchful eye on the Dubliner’s long-time agent Adrian Mitchell.
While Phil “Wobbly” Morbey will caddie for Cutler, Colin Byrne will caddie for tote the clubs for Lewis. However, the Dubliner won’t be on the bag in Austria and Harrington’s old bagman Dave McNeilly will look after Lewis for one week only.