Rotella backs "hard" Harrington to win more majors

Pádraig Harrington is tough as nails and ready to produced one of the greatest comebacks of all time.

At least, that’s the view of his mental guru Dr Bob Rotella, who reckons the Dubliner is such a hard man he will come back stronger than ever from the biggest slump of his career.

Harrington has slipped from third to 234th in the world and failed to win in Europe or the US since he captured his third major nearly six years ago.

But Rotella is convinced that the tough times can make you even tougher and he's sure we haven't seen the last of Harrington, insisting: “The thing about Padraig he’s so upbeat no matter what, he can deal with anything. 

“Some reporter told me Tiger was the toughest character he’d ever seen. I said no, he’s really confident and really good but we’ll find out if he’s really tough if he ever goes through a real struggle.

“You don’t find out if a guy’s tough if every week he’s in the top five. To be a great sportsman, you’ve got to go through it, and if you go through it, can you handle it?”

Harrington has been through the mill in recent seasons, even suffering a bout of the putting yips.

But Rotella, the man who helped him win those three majors, sees Harrington’s resilience as key.

He said: “He’s got that grit about him, that’s for darned sure. You know, it’s a resiliency, a love with bouncing back and with fighting. It’s almost like that’s a real kick.

“The world notices it but a lot of times you’re trying to show yourself you’re tough enough to deal with it. That’s kind of a kick too.

“I was just talking to him earlier and said that’s why you’ll come back and you’ll be on top again and be on top for a while and he’ll probably win one of these (Majors) again.

“He’ll win when he’s ready, and he’s kind of inching there. When he really decides I’ve got everything where I want it and now I’ll let myself play golf.

“I mean, you see it in every sport. Everyone would like it to be a straight line but I think there’s a side to him that loves it being slow and gradual. It think it makes getting there that much more enjoyable.

You don’t find out if a guy’s tough if every week he’s in the top five. To be a great sportsman, you’ve got to go through it, and if you go through it, can you handle it?
— Dr Bob Rotella

“He likes it all to make sense at some level and when it all makes sense, it clicks and he’s on a run.”

Rotella compares Harrington to a boxer who can take a punch compared to one who can’t.

“I saw a special about Mike Tyson,” he said. “He was showing himself putting his gloves on and walking out with his entourage. He was talking about how scared he is.

“He said I’m looking like I’m okay but I’m scared before I climb in the ring. But when I step through the ropes, I suddenly become invincible. Then he talked about getting knocked out.

“One of the advantages of guys like Padraig, who have been through ups and downs, is you learn how to deal with it.

“Whereas a guy like Tyson never lost, so as soon as he gets knocked out, he has no idea how to deal with it.

“Padraig deals with it very well. I think you’ll see it in a lot of guys who develop later and have worked their tail off. They have that strength and resiliency and it’s  something they’re really proud of.

“At lot of times it builds that inner resolve. It’s something that makes you want it more. You’re forced to have to study it more to have to get there.”