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Padraig Harrington looking to reverse fortunes
July 27, 2011

Padraig Harrington goes in search of a second Irish Open title in Killarney tomorrow, hoping that his work with one of golf’s best-known gurus can pay off for him just as it did for Darren Clarke.

American mental coach Bob Rotella was given some of the credit for Clarke’s amazing Open triumph two weeks ago, but he was actually staying with Harrington while at Sandwich.

The Dubliner, winner of the Claret Jug in 2007 and 2008, missed the cut and has now fallen from third in the world to 64th.

But he has been working on his game ever since, and feels in better shape now.

“I have been struggling with my putting for the last few weeks and just couldn’t put my finger on the problem,” said Harrington on his website.

“We (Harrington and Rotella) worked on it before the tournament started and I thought we had figured it out, but it still wasn’t working.

“On Saturday evening we talked about it again, did some work and I believe that we hit the nail on the head.

“Ultimately it came down to the fact that I hadn’t fully committed to my preparation and so I was still trying to figure out what I was doing over the ball.

“I wasn’t trusting my reads and so when I stood over the ball I was still trying to figure out where I was going to hit it.

“Once I got this clear in my head it felt so much better. It was very disappointing to miss the cut, but I feel that the work I got done over the weekend will pay big dividends in the coming weeks.

“Even though I did some practice over the weekend I did get to watch pretty much all of Darren’s last two rounds.

“He played superb and was the deserved winner. It is great to see him back in the winner’s circle – I don’t think there is anyone that is not delighted to see him join the major club.

“It’s not like Bob told him anything that he didn’t tell Darren a hundred times before, but you’ve got to love the fact that it worked for one and not for another. That’s the nature of the game. I know one thing for sure, he will really enjoy the celebrations.”

Clarke is also at Killarney and so are Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, the last two winners of the US Open.

The trio are, in fact, the only members of the world’s top 50 in the field at a tournament where the prize money has been slashed in half to £1.32million following the withdrawal of telecommunications company 3, title sponsors for the previous three years.

Harrington, a first home winner in 25 years in 2007, would have won again last year but for a brilliant performance from England’s Ross Fisher.

After a course record 61 in the second round Fisher came under pressure from Harrington’s closing 64, but shot 65 to win by two.

He too has struggled this season, though, and is now only 63rd on the world rankings.

Fisher partners McIlroy in the first two rounds, while Clarke is with Shane Lowry, winner of the title as an amateur two years ago.

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