If given the choice between adding a fourth Major to his trophy cabinet or winning the Ryder Cup, European Captain Padraig Harrington would choose the latter, though he’s not finished dreaming of more Major success just yet.
“I would choose The Ryder Cup as captain right now,” Harrington said, the decision evidently less Sophie’s choice and more a straightforward one.
“Going from three to four majors, it’s nice. But adding a winning Ryder Cup Captain, that’s something big in my career and would add to it, no doubt about it. Right now, I would definitely take The Ryder Cup [winning] captain. And after September, I’ll say, I’ll take two more majors after that!”
Ever the optimist, Harrington was in flying form during his pre-tournament Irish Open press conference at Mount Juliet, discussing his own playing ambitions in the coming years as the 49-year old teeters on the brink of Champions Tour qualification.
“You know, speaking about this, there’s no doubt that, not a regret, but a mistake, was trying to stretch myself too thin on two tours as it is playing The European Tour and the PGA Tour over the last number of years,” he said.
“I think a third tour, the Champions Tour, could even make it worse. It’s just hard to compete when you’re not playing as many events as the other guys, and I’m maybe stretching it out too much in each tour. Yeah, so I have to think about where I am at.
“But if I was still competitive on the main tours… I kind of also feel if you go to the Champions Tour, you’re not coming back. It’s a different competition. I don’t think you’re going to come back to the younger guys after being out there.”
Harrington also believes that if he’s to give himself the best chance at fulfilling that niggling Major ambition and matching Phil Mickelson’s epic PGA win at 50, then sticking with the young guns on golf’s main tours is the only way to keep sharp enough to ever make the dream a reality – not that he’s too worried about reality.
“Oh, I dream of it. Who cares about reality? What gets me up in the morning is another Major,” said the three-time winner.
“What gets me out practicing, the reason I work so hard at this game is another Major. Sometimes, maybe I should be considering the steppingstones to another major and just competing well and finishing Top-10s and making cuts even and progressing that way.
“But that really doesn’t do it for me. The chance of winning a Major is everything. You know, that’s what gives me a buzz, and to be honest, there’s not many things that would change my resume when it comes to golf. There’s not something that would really change what I’ve done. Even winning another Major isn’t that big a deal, from three to four. But it’s something I dream about. Maybe winning a Ryder Cup would be something that I can put on and add to my resume there.
“But outside of that, there are very few things that get you excited in golf when you’ve had success, and I do think Jack Nicklaus was the best one, when things started to tail off for him, he said he didn’t feel the butterflies on the Thursday. You need that excitement and pressure and enthusiasm, and majors kind of still do that for me. I dream about it, whether it’s a reality or not, who cares? It’s what I focus on and that’s all that I need for my motivation.”
Harrington was amongst the early starters on Thursday at Mount Juliet and is three-over par through five holes and struggling at the time of writing.
- Full scoring HERE