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Padraig Harrington looking to focus on majors

World number eight Padraig Harrington is banking on a different mental approach to achieve a breakthrough at this year's major championships.

The 33-year-old Irishman, who has never finished higher than joint fifth at a major, believes he has held himself back in the past by thinking too much about the future.

"In previous years, I've always been working towards some goal down the road, trying to get my game ready for next season," he said in an interview in the March issue of Golf World magazine.

"I don't want to do that this year. I'm ready with what I've got. "This year, I want to play golf for now, rather than for the future."

Harrington, who tees off in his first tournament of the year at the Malaysian Open on Thursday, completed an accountancy degree before turning professional in 1995.

Not surprisingly, he is known for his analytical approach to the game and he likes the look of this year's major venues.

"The (British) Open at St Andrews is probably the easiest one for me to win," he said. "And I'm becoming a little bit more consistent at Augusta (venue for the U.S. Masters) as well so we will just have to wait and see."

No European has won a major since Briton Paul Lawrie's victory in the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie, but Harrington believes that will change soon.

"It's only a matter of time," said the Dublin-based Ryder Cup player. "Europe has been through a barren spell and I think you will see a whole load of us contending and, hopefully winning, over the next few years.

"And it will make it easier on us if there is more than one European in contention," added Harrington, who has the perfect temperament for the majors with his never-say-die attitude and renowned scrambling ability.

"In the past, all the focus has been on only one guy, and that's a lot of pressure to deal with. If there are lots of you, it deflects the attention a bit."

The consistent Irishman, who produced top-10 finishes at the first three majors of 2002, accepts a little bit of luck is also needed along the way.

"If you look at the last couple of years, especially at the Open, there have been some quite surprising winners," he said, referring to the British Open wins by American outsiders Ben Curtis, in 2003, and Todd Hamilton, last year.

"That's because it's definitely much easier to win one when you can go under the radar.

"If you are in the top five all week, the press keep asking you if you are going to win.

"If you can play the first two rounds without being asked that question, then it is easier to finish it off."


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