Harrington feels something special is possible: "I am playing great"

Harrington feels something special is possible: "I am playing great"
Pádraig Harrington

Pádraig Harrington

Super positive Pádraig Harrington believes there’s no reason why he can’t become a triple Open champion at Troon.

The veteran, 44, is always upbeat about his game but he’s more convinced than ever that he can become the oldest Open champion since pal Phil Mickelson won his first Open at 43.

Asked if he felt “in his heart” that he could claim his third Open title and his fourth major here, Harrington said firmly: “More so than just in my heart. I am playing great. 

“I can see the good things in my game are much better than ever. There is a bit of a mental weakness at times, but physically I am probably better than I have ever been.

“And the putting has turned around, so I don’t see anything that is going to stop me.” 

After winning The Open in 2007 and The Open and the US PGA in 2008, Harrington lost his way on the greens. 

But stormed back to win on the PGA Tour last year before leading the Open in the final round at St Andrews.

Three birdies in the first five holes gave him the lead but he then lost a ball in the gorse at the sixth, ran up a double bogey six and never regained his momentum.

Twelve months on, he believes he’s playing better than ever and with psychologist Dr Bob Rotella by his side, he knows he has the mental resolve to go the distance and claim major No 4.

Believing he has an edge over the field as a links specialist, he said: “Playing on a links golf course, I definitely have an advantage. Shots come naturally to me on it. 

“A lot of players, even though they know how to play the right shot, and know what the right shot is, they will second guess themselves when they are playing it. 

“But for me, it is what I am used to and what I am familiar with. It is not that I find it easy all the time, but I don’t second guess myself as much as other guys.”

After showing signs of form for the past two weeks, he added: “I am very happy with my game.

“Physically I have been hitting the ball very well and I have started putting better. 

“Mentally I need to kick into a different gear for sure if I am going to win this. But I am working away with Bob Rotella and hopefully that will make the difference.”