Former champ Padraig Harrington this week celebrates a 21st PGA Championship declaring ‘experience is not all it’s cracked up to be’ as he seeks to unlock the door on a second Rodman Wanamaker Trophy.
Harrington made his PGA Championship debut in 1997 at Winged Foot and three months later he and Paul McGinley teamed to deliver Ireland a World Cup of Golf victory at this week’s host venue at Kiawah Island.
The Dubliner then won the back-to-back the 2008 Open and PGA Championships and teed-up in 2012 at Kiawah Island to share 18th place behind fellow Irishman Rory McIlroy who stormed his way to a record-setting eight shot success over the windswept course laid out alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
Harrington, along with McIlroy, are among a small handful returning to Kiawah Island nine years on and to a golf course that has been stretched 200-yards further than in 2012 to now measure 7,846 yards, the longest golf course in the 169-years history of the four men’s majors. Not that it bothers the now 49-year-old Harrington who was asked if past experience will provide comfort this week.
“People often ask in a general term about experience. Well, as you gain experience, you lose innocence,” said Harrington. “I suppose if you drew a graph, there’s a crossing point of equilibrium where you have some experience and a certain amount of innocence and enthusiasm.
“As you get a little bit older and you get all this experience, on paper people might think you get better with experience, but as I said, you’ve seen a few things that you know in your game that you probably never wanted to see, so you kind of lose that little bit of, I suppose, innocence.
“It’s not everything it’s cracked up to be to have experience. I know I’ve played 21 times in the PGA, and to be honest, when you come to a great golf course like this and you look back, you realise how many different types of tests we’ve had at the PGA over the years.”
Harrington also revealed he is also close to naming a third European Ryder Cup vice-captain, not that he’s informed the particular ‘player’, but the smart money is on fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell to join already appointed Robert Karlsson and Luke Donald.
“I must admit I’ve just mentioned at the European Tour that I will be looking to announce my next vice-captain very soon,” said Harrington smiling “I haven’t told him that. I have to give him the news that — most of my vice captains are players, and players who potentially could have made the team”.
Harrington will contest the 103rd hosting of the championship in the company of former winners Phil Mickelson and Jason Day over the first two days.
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