A 24-hour trip to Asia wouldn’t normally fill Padraig Harrington with excitement but the Dubliner touched down in Bangkok this morning feeling more enthusiastic about his putting than he has for five years.
The reason is the glasses that he used in tournament play for the first time in Miami last week and while he finished 19 shots behind Tiger Woods in tied 39th, he declared it was the first time for FIVE YEARS that he hasn’t totally misread a putt on the wrong side of the hole.
Harrington hasn’t won a big European or PGA Tour event since he lifted the latest of his three major titles in the US PGA at Oakland Hills in August 2008. That’s a long time to wait for confidence in your ability to read greens but it’s the reality for the world No 54 ahead of this week’s Thailand Open on the OneAsia Tour.
“The glasses? They’re staying,” Harrington said as he prepared to leave Miami for Bangkok via London. “I need the joint (end pieces) moved up (to improve peripheral vision). The original glasses I had were perfect in that regards except for the strength. They are too good. I need a mixture of the two.
“My green reading is definitely better. I still need to trust it a bit more but as the weeks go on I think I will. I think I am closer. There was no read on the wrong side of the hole this week, which is the first time for five years.”
While he holed little, Harrington avoided a three-putt in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral and tees it up at the Greg Norman-designed Thana City Golf & Sports Club bidding for his first tournament win since he claimed the Iskandar Johor Open in October 2010.
He could have remained in the US to play on the PGA Tour but instead hopes to kill two birds with one stone in a OneAsia Tour event that’s co-sanctioned with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.
Not only will he get a nice appearance fee for joining Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley in Asia, he also hopes to get into contention, boost his confidence in his putting and wedge play and win again.
“The whole idea about going to Asia is to get myself into contention,” Harrington said. “I couldn’t be happier with how I am playing but I need to chip better. I hit 350 wedge shots in practice this week. Today (Sunday) they were married in better.
“Not alone did (performance coach) Dave Alred see all those shots, he could tell you where every one was hit to, if you want to know. He has all the records. He likes writing things down. It’s just gathering up information.
Two nights ago I hit 20 out of 25 inside 10 feet and then six out of 25 inside 10 feet over different yardages from 50 to 90 yards.”
Adding to his major haul is Harrington’s prime goal as he heads towards his 42nd birthday in August.
“Outside of family the major mean an incredible amount,” said Harrington, who will remain in Asia for next week’s Maybank Malaysian Open on the European Tour. “That’s what we’re going to be remembered for and I don’t feel like I’ll stop now. Only time will tell whether I will stop and say, that’s great. Or if I win another five I will be happy with eight. Who knows.”