Pádraig Harrington to revive charity Golf Shows

Pádraig Harrington will put on three charity Golf Shows again this winter. Picture: Fran Caffrey www.golffile.ie

Nearly 10 years after raising €225,000 for the Asian Tsunami Relief Fund with three charity Golf Shows at Citywest, Pádraig Harrington plans to revive the format this winter.

The Dubliner, 42, will almost certainly put the money raised into the Pádraig Harrington Charitable Foundation, which was founded in December 2004 to help deserving causes all over Ireland.

"I am going to do my charity clinics again this winter," Harrington revealed this week. "I have to sort the detail out but there will be three clincs and all the money will go to charity. 

"It's more likely I will put the money into my Foundation, which I tend to give to smaller individual things.

"I am an ambassador for several charities and I give those bigger organisations the opportunity to use me to help raise funds. But with my Foundation, the funds are used for smaller things such as buying a school bus and things like that."

When Harrington did his three Golf Shows in early 2005, he had just had the 26th and 27th runner up finishes of his career and was ranked sixth in the world.

"I've got used to it," he said, recalling finishing second behind Miguel Angel Jimenez in Hong Kong and Tiger Woods in Woods' Target Challenge.

"But that's golf. I will get a run where I will win all around me. People will throw tournaments at me.

"Everything that has happened to me over the years will happen in reverse. I know that will happen. There will be a period when I will do no wrong."

He was proved right. He won twice each year from 2005 to 2008, capturing three majors in 13 months.

Interestingly, his Golf Shows co-incided with the demise of Seve Ballesteros' golf game and another swing change for Tiger Woods.

On Woods he said: “Tiger hit the ball superbly in 2000 but he could swing the club better. The swing he had was more than effective but he is so keen to improve and be the ultimate golfer.

“If I was doing something wrong I would change my swing no matter how well I was hitting the ball. You have to take a step backwards to take two steps forward.”

As for Ballesteros, he felt that the Spaniard simply lost the hunger to be the best after 20 years at the top.

He said: “For most of the great players 20 years is burnout out time. They don’t wake up in the morning nervous. You have to be nervous and have the adrenaline to play great golf.

“I grew up watching Seve and if he hit one in the trees he would run off the tee and run down into the trees.

“He would be looking at all angles how he could cut draw and hit this thing and make birdie. He was so excited being in the trees he just loved it. He used to laugh at other pros just chipping out.

“Now Seve hits in the trees and he has ten practice swings trying to work out why he hit it in the trees. Twenty years ago he couldn't care less why.

“Now he is more concerned about the swing. It is a change in mentality. A good golf coach can tell everybody how to swing a golf club. You can’t tell Seve how to swing a golf club."

Harrington has complained of similar feelings in recent years, admitting that he no longer has the same fears or tensions in his game.

After more than three and a half years without a win, he's outside the world's Top 200 but it remains to be seen if he can regain his mojo.

The golfing gods often reward good karma so perhaps this new charity drive will mark the start of late flowering in Harrington's career and raise some much needed funds for some very good causes.