Phoenix football doubt for Harrington?
 Pádraig Harrington kicks into the crowd during last year's final round. Picture via  RTE.ie /Getty Images

Pádraig Harrington kicks into the crowd during last year's final round. Picture via RTE.ie/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson might be struggling to make the defence of his Waste Management Phoenix Open title because of a back injury. But there's no guarantee you'll see Pádraig Harrington booting American footballs into the stand on the 16th on Superbowl Sunday either.

The Wilson golfer did his bit of the Superbowl ball provider  last year, kicking off a tee and from his hands to the delight of the fans at the 16th during the third round.

 Padraig Harrington kicks on Friday in Phoenix last year. 

Padraig Harrington kicks on Friday in Phoenix last year. 

Paired with eventual winner Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker in the final round, he promised himself he'd resist the temptation on Sunday but failed.

"I was kicking balls while they were trying to win the tournament," he recalled ruefully, no doubt looking back to his share of ninth as a bit of a disappointment having opened with a 64 and then shot a 63 on Saturday.

"The gas thing was, I knew I would be kicking footballs on the 16th on the second day. So on Sunday I said, 'Right, it’s the last round of the tournament, you don’t want to be pulling a hamstring kicking balls, so just go easy.'

"Sure enough, when I got there, I had to start hoofing it. I was kicking ball with the place kicker from the Arizona Cardinals."

Harrington doesn't need his performance coach Dave Alred - better known as a rugby place-kicking coach to the likes of Johnny Wilkinson - to teach him how to boot a ball. 

"When you are trying to clear your 18 yard line on a cold winter’s day, knowing that ball s coming straight back at you if you don’t kick it properly, you learn pretty quickly how to kick a ball," said the former net minder.

 Pádraig Harrington kicks with Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely on Sunday last year. Picture Michael Chow /  www.azcentral.com

Pádraig Harrington kicks with Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely on Sunday last year. Picture Michael Chow / www.azcentral.com

He also had his moment of glory on the hallowed turf at Croke Park, even if future Dublin star Dessie Farrell ran rings round the Colaiste Eanna centre-back who would soon turn his attention to golf.

"My last game of football in Croke Park, I scored a 45," he said with a hint of pride. "I would probably miss from 14 yards now."