Pádraig's 50 shades of grey
 Pádraig Harrington

Pádraig Harrington

Pádraig Harrington doesn’t just think he can win a major at 44 - he reckons he can do the business at 50 too.

After watching 46 year old Phil Mickelson take Henrik Stenson down the stretch in The Open, he sees no reason why he can’t become a four time major winner with half a century on the clock

Asked if he could see players contending regularly for majors into the 50s at some stage in the future, the 44-year old said: “Well, I believe I’m going to do it. 

“Phil ain’t slowing down in terms of his physical ability to hit the golf ball. I'm not slowing down. So as long as we don't have those barriers people were perceived to have years ago. 

“Phil doesn't think he's old at 46. There's not a chance he does. Guys were retiring at 32 and 34 just before I started playing golf, and it's not like that at all. 

“More and more guys are fit and strong, coming up to their 50th.”

Harrington finished tied 36th on three over after coming back from a bad start to post a one over 72.

He doesn’t have the energy he had when he was 24. But he hits the ball as far as he did when he won is first major nine years ago.

He conceded: “You can't hit as many balls, for sure. But that's not necessarily good or bad. That can work in your favour at times. You might be able to play as many tournaments.

“Travel is lovely now. Never have a problem. The front of the bus is never so bad!”

As for his golf, Harrington wasn’t beating himself up because he felt he had prepared well and simply didn’t make the putts.

He said: “I did everything I could coming into this to get it right, so I have no regrets whatsoever. 

“If I panicked on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and took myself out the game Thursday morning, I'd be disappointed.

“To be honest, it's been a long time since I've played a major that I would have a regret that I didn't get my preparation right. I did this week. I can't second-guess that.”

Harrington got off to a slow start with a bogey at the par-five fourth and a double bogey seven at the sixth leaving him well down the leaderboard.

But he rallied well with a two at the Postage Stamp eighth and another birdie at the 16th for his 72.

“I didn't score very well for a lot of this week,” he said. “I hit the ball well. Did a lot of things good. Mentally I was a lot better. I've been positive about my game for a while now.”

Glancing at the scores as he finished, he said: “It would be hard to be 12-under par, I’m certainly not saying that. But a few under par wouldn't have more than a break here or there.”

Darren Clarke, 47, rolled back the years as he tied for 30th on two over after a closing 70 that was just his fourth round under par this year.

Clarke said: “I played nicely. Disappointing to bogey the last there, but missed just my second shot in. But I played nicely. So all in all, pretty good.”

Clarke is more worried about his European Ryder Cup team and seeing Stenson battle for the Claret Jug.

Before dashing away to catch the ferry home to Portrush, he said: “Henrik’s been knocking on the door for such a long time. I saw his record on television briefly, and h how many seconds and thirds in majors he has. 

“So he's been knocking on the door a long time. Henrik's a wonderful player. He's been playing very well for a long time, and if he was to win today, that would be great.”