Padraig Harrington working harder than ever
Padraig Harrington has the silver claret jug from winning the British Open. What he doesn't have is complacency from winning his first major and, strangely enough, the confidence he figured would come with his victory at Carnoustie.
The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will be only his third tournament in the last 10 weeks, although he is working harder than ever to refine and slightly retool his swing. The Irishman does that every year, and being a major champion didn't change that.
"You would think winning a major would mellow you," he said. "It's done the opposite to me. It's made me even more obsessive. There's a huge incentive to push on. I don't think I have that attitude of some guys who are trying to prove they deserved to win it. But I certainly have the attitude that I really want to win another.
"It would have been nice to chill out and take some of the glory of it all and be confident. But that's not the way my system works."
Harrington at the very least rivals Vijay Singh as the hardest-working man in golf, and this offseason was no exception. He figures that's one reason he came down with shingles toward the end of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship three weeks ago.
He also was exhausted from giving so many interviews in Ireland toward the end of the year. He spent that time to reflect on his playoff victory at the British Open, but the start of 2008 had him looking forward.
What he realized was that a player shouldn't truly appreciate winning a major until he retires.
"I would have thought it would have given me the confidence to be happy where I am," he said. "It hasn't at all. It only made me want to work harder. I had a swing that won a major, but there's no element that wants to stay the same as the guy who won the major at Carnoustie, which is odd. I think that's peculiar in my psyche."
Then again, Harrington might be in good company.
He believes Tiger Woods winning the U.S. Open by 15 shots at Pebble Beach in 2000 was as good as anyone could play. Still, it wasn't long after Woods had captured his sixth major in nine starts that he began rebuilding his swing again.
"If he tried to stay still, it probably would have gone away. He had to try to keep working on it," Harrington said. "I would say that as long as he's doing something, he feels like he's moving forward.
February 6, 2008