Harrington reinforces his Major drive

Padraig Harrington plays his appraoch to the 15th in the final round of the Masters. Padraig Harrington is convinced he will go on to win even more majors after crossing a massive mental hurdle at the Masters.

The Irish ace made his first big move up the world rankings for two years when he tied for eighth behind Bubba Watson at Augusta to jump 16 place to 80th.

But what pleased him most was the mental calmness he showed in the heat of battle and the quantum leap he’s made with his putting despite a luckless final day on the greens.

Believing he has finally turned the corner after three years of struggles, Harrington said: “I actually do think this is a watershed week.

“Not physically because I didn’t hit the ball as well as I had in recent weeks. I was nowhere near on the same form.

“But I was much better mentally this week than I have been for a long time. I’d say I could take that forward and I could be in a very good place for the rest of the year.”

Harrington is totally convinced that his hard-working philosophy and determination to improve will pay off in the end.

Criticised for changing his swing, he insists that staying the same is a recipe for disaster.

After his 68 on Saturday, he said: “I try and get away from trying to justify anything.  I am who I am.  

“I’ve spent my whole life trying to get better; changing to get better and continually working to get better.  That’s my makeup.

“If I wasn’t in contention here this week, I’d be the same person. Come Monday, you can guarantee I’ll be working on something no matter what happens tomorrow.  

“That’s the nature of the game.  You have to be trying to go forward in order to try not to go backwards.

“You might get away with a year or two, but you know, the history books are littered with guys who played well for a year or two and disappeared.

“It’s very, very hard to keep it going forward and my nature is to keep working at it to do that.”

Now 40, Harrington knows that golf is a game of peaks and troughs and he’s now on the upward curve again.

All he needs now is a win and he’ll be gunning for victory in this week’s RBC Heritage at Hilton Head

He said: “Over the years I’ve probably had several occasions in my career where I’ve been working on things and then come out of that phase.

“Normally though it starts with a win and not eighth place in a Major, so I’m still looking for that win.”

Harrington hadn’t contended in a major since he imploded with a quintuple bogey eight at the short eighth in the final round of his 2009 US PGA at Hazeltine.

He eventually tied for 10th there but then missed the cut in five of the next eight majors before bouncing back to life last weekend

His resurrection started on Saturday when he went on the attack late in the day and birdied five of his last six holes.

His putting has been driving him to distraction for the past three years but he appears to have conquered his demons on the greens and knows that he can add to his major collection.

Harrington said: “I’ll be happy if I play like that every Sunday at a Major because you’re going to win plenty of them if you play golf like that.

“I feel like I was in a very comfortable place this week. I hadn’t been putting well but I hit a lot of lovely putts and I’m going to take a lot of comfort away from this week. There have been a lot of memorable things.”

He missed six birdies putts on Sunday and still laughed off his only three-putt of the week at the 72nd hole.

It led to a double bogey six that cost him $56,000 and a chance to finish alone in seventh.

But he reckons it could stand to him in the future if he ever has a putt to win the Masters.

He beamed: “Maybe one day coming down the 18th I’ll have to hole that same putt I three-putted today and I’ll know it’s quick.”

Asked if he would be beating himself up for those missed birdie chances, he said: “Not in the last. I definitely think I could easily have got to 10-under par but, hey, I didn’t. I’m not worried about that.

“I don’t have to prove anything. My week will come. I’ve got three more of these this year.

“I definitely think I was very comfortable on the golf course this year, so that augurs well for future Masters.

“Outside of that, I have been playing well but not putting it together. I do feel this week I found myself in a very nice place mentally. There’s good things in me going forward.”