Frustrated Padraig Harrington wishes he was “young and fearless” like Rory McIlroy. But he’s praying that his massive slump will end soon and that he doesn’t miss the bus in his golfing career - as predicted by sacked coach Bob Torrance.
Torrance predicted disaster ahead when the Dubliner sacked him last year, insisting: “He has been going down one road that I think is the wrong one and he is determined to go down that road.
“I said to him, if you go down too far, you won’t come back. You cannot make changes at 40 in golf. You can make them when you are in your 20’s, but once you get to 40, it is too late.”
Harrington was 69th in the world when he fired Torrance during last year’s Irish Open. But has since slipped to 90th and tees it up in the Transitions Championship in Tampa today desperately searching for the kind of fearless confidence that has made McIlroy world No 1.
After closing with a nightmare 79 in the Honda Classic and failing to qualify for last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami, Harrington said: “My game has never been better. It is just waiting to happen. But I am getting a bit frustrated at times.
“The game of golf is like a lot of sports - it is swings and roundabouts.
“You have spells when you are not on your peak form and then when it does happen, it happens easily. It all comes at once, like buses.”
Harrington’s putting from three to five feet was disastrous in Palm Beach Gardens but he’s adamant that his problems are all about patience, not on the greens.
He said: “It is tough to wait with patience and it is tough to stay confident when the results aren’t happening but it is all there together and it is just a question of it turning around one week on the golf course.
“I am not putting as well as I have putted in the past but fundamentally there is nothing wrong with my putting.
“I am swinging the club really well and I am just waiting for it all to happen.”
He badly needs a string of results to have any chance of qualifying for September’s Ryder Cup and insists that it could all turn around quickly.
Harrington said: “You have to be patient and when you get a win, all of a sudden you get another win on the back of it and things come easy.
“Putts that you missed last week start to go in and all of a sudden you are holing those eight footers for par and moving on and making birdies.
“It is a strange game that way. You just have to be very patient, do the right things when it’s not working out for you and when it does go for you, just run with it.”
Harrington spent last week practicing in Florida and even had a game with former world tennis No 1 Ivan Lendl.
He misses being at the top of the game at a time when McIlroy is world No 1 and so many European players are playing well.
He said: “Rory has got everything going at the moment and he has got the little bit of momentum which you have to have, that confidence.
“It is nice to be young and fearless.”
McIlroy could lose his No 1 ranking if Luke Donald wins in Tampa this week.
Meanwhile Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey, Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane and Simon Thornton are in Spain for the Andalucia Open Costa del Sol at Aloha.