Pádraig Harrington says he’s inspired by Lady Gaga to believe he can win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the second time.
The three-time major winner, 44, admits that like Tiger Woods he looks at anything he achieves for the rest of his career as “gravy” on top.
But he insists that he has to fool himself into thinking he’s still one of golf’s top dogs and outlandish pop star Lady Gaga has provided some madcap inspiration.
He beamed: “I could win this week, no doubt about it. Do I expect to win? I’ve got to stay optimistic and get in all the clichés here.
"I've got to create my own reality and be enthusiastic, passionate and optimistic, and feel like I'm the man, swagger around the golf course, have my ego as big as anything in my own head.
“I think I was reading one of Bob Rotella's books recently and I did like the quote, it's a Lady Gaga quote, that said, ‘She operates from a place of grand delusion.’
“And that's just so important for a sportsman, as well, create your own reality and operate from a place of grand delusion. So that's what I'll try and do.”
Joking about Lady Gaga’s flamboyant dress sense, he added with a grin: “Maybe I’ll come out in the meat outfit this week. Or feathers!”
A win would take Harrington’s career earnings to just under €25m, which is a far cry from what an anonymous European Tour pro said he looked capable of achieving when he made is professional debut in the Smurfit European Open at The K Club in 1995 and missed the cut.
He recalled: “I wasn't prepared. I completely was thrown by not being able to play the tournament golf course on the Wednesday before the event and I went out on the Thursday with a really poor feel for the pace of the greens.
“I remember I played poorly and there was a comment that week, I remember, from a pro, ‘Why is this guy turning pro?’
“Thankfully, I was big enough and strong enough to see my faults that week.
“I think often times, an amateur turning pro, can have his career defined by his first event. If he misses the cut, he feels like he doesn’t belong and that can be detrimental to the rest of his career.”
Harrington only missed the cut by one stroke but he felt miles off the pace, explaining: “Even though I could see my own failings that week, I wasn’t necessarily walking away from it thinking, I’m not good enough. I was saying, well, I've got to prepare better.”
Fast forward 21 years and Harrington can have the last laugh even if he admits that anything he achieves from here on in his career would be gravy.
He said: “I think if you were being realistic, which I don't have to be, it would be the gravy, no doubt about it.
“I don't have to prove anything. Three majors is far more than ‘Why is he turning pro? Why did he bother?’
“I've done far more than I've ever expected in this game of golf. I don’t have anything to prove.
"I play this game because I love it. I'm just fascinated, passionate about it, and just gets me every day.
“Winning is great, and I really do look forward to winning again, but I just love the whole concept of the game and everything about it, and yeah, I’m very happy to be out here.”