Magazine article The Spectator

Paddy Power

Magazine article The Spectator

Paddy Power

Article excerpt

You can't help feeling for Sergio Garcia.

At Carnoustie last year, he lipped out on the last hole to throw away an Open title which had seemed his on the last day.

And who was waiting for him at the play-off?

Why Padraig Harrington of course. And when Sergio lined up his second shot on the fiercely hazardous 16th at Oakland Hills, the US PGA title was again his for the taking. He needed to par the last three and the gutsy Spaniard's first Major was in the bag. He opted for an insanely ambitious drive to the right of the flag and the ball bounced back into the water. Title gone.

And who was waiting to pick up the pieces.

Padraig Harrington, natch.

Now the most successful European golfer of the century, and currently the most successful big-ticket golfer in the world with three of the last six Majors, is our very own Padraig Harrington (I'm using 'our very own' quite loosely there of course). The speed of his transformation from good journeyman pro to world-beater is awesome. And it's a good job he's Irish too. In his early career he was a tournament runner-up a jaw-dropping number of times. Had he been English, we'd have slaughtered him for being the nearly man. As he wasn't, the press in his homeland recognised how good he was. And Harrington was left alone to get even better.

He's done it with a vengeance. His coach Bob Torrance (Sam's dad) says he's the hardest working golfer he's ever known. The other day they went to the range at 10 a. m. to work on a few shots. They left 12 hours later. On the back nine at Birkdale in July Harrington's concentration was awesome as he saw off first Greg Norman then a late mini-surge from Ian Poulter. But I have never seen anything like Harrington's epic focus at Oakland Hills. Again on the back nine, you could almost see into his soul through the burning intensity of his eyes. …

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