Harrington clears mental hurdle to return to winner's circle

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 02, 2015 3:01 PM

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida (Reuters) - Padraig Harrington's drop down the rankings ended with a playoff win over Daniel Berger at the Honda Classic on Monday, the Irishman keeping those barren days out of mind during a thrilling final round.

"I was not allowing my emotions to get away with me," said Harrington, who had not won on the PGA or European Tour for nearly seven years. "I never once considered how important this win is to me

"I'm playing on invites, I got an invite this week.

"That changes everything for the (next) three years. I'm back at the Masters. There are lots of things this does, world ranking points, but I never considered that all day.

"I was very much in the moment."

That mental focus is something triple major championship winner Harrington says was missing for spells during his winless years.

"I think I got in contention three times since 2008," said Harrington. So I really have struggled, as a lot of people who win major tournaments do, to live up to them, play up to them.

"I just got very intolerant of my mental game, my focus. It was never swing related, all focus related and I just got frustrated with it and found it very hard to really separate from the bad shots."

"There is no doubt there were low points in those years because in 2008, 2009 I was very much in the penthouse. I wasn't quite down to the doghouse but I wasn't far away from it."

Harrington said a key positive thought for the day came from his wife regarding his putting.

"I was talking to Caroline and she just said to me as I was heading out - "remember, if you had a putt, you wouldn't ask anyone else to hit it for you"," said Harrington "To be honest I wouldn't.

"Maybe I would for a drive or two, but for a putt I wouldn't."

(Reporting By Simon Evans. Editing by Steve Keating.)