He may be a three-time Major winner boasting 31 Tour victories worldwide but Padraig Harrington admits his first foray into over-50’s company proved a real eye-opener, not least when he played in the company of legendary German, Bernhard Langer on his second start.
Harrington, who finished in a lowly share of 55th on his PGA Champions debut at the Constellation Furyk and Friends, followed up with an 18th place result at the SAS Championship.
In truth, they were two underwhelming outings for Harrington, having proved he could still mix it with the game’s best with a string of strong performances on the main tours last year, highlighted by a tied-fourth result at the PGA Championship.
Still, if Harrington felt his game would easily translate to the senior circuit, he was in for a rude awakening, and although he enjoyed the experience, the Dubliner knows exactly what he now needs to improve to better compete this season.
“I loved the experience, loved being out there, but I was shocked about myself,” Harrington told the PGA Champions Tour.
“You know I’ve gone out there – I’m substantially longer than the field, like, substantially longer, and yet I got lapped in the first two events. I just wasn’t with it. I think 18th I finished in the second one and these guys were running by me.
“It was fascinating to me … I’m just not a good enough wedge player.”
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“I played with Bernhard [Langer] and he made me look like an amateur golfer, he’s just that good, but it was a lesson for me.
“For me to try and stay competitive on the main tour, I’ve worked on speed and I’ve worked on length. Last year I led in strokes gained over 200 yards on the PGA Tour but I go to the Champions Tour, I’m hitting 9-iron into 17 at the SAS course and the field are hitting three wood in, and I can’t beat the field.
“So, what I thought I needed, it’s not the case at all. I need to be smart like I would have been in my heyday. I’ve got to be strong mentally. I’ve got to be good with my wedges, got to be clever.
“I’ve definitely strengthened my weaknesses, but I’ve weakened my strengths and that was a big eye-opener for me that if I want to go there and beat these guys, compete with these guys, you know just because you hit it past them ain’t going to do it.
“You’ve got to be very good with your wedges. Very good scoring. I’m still good that I don’t give away many shots on a golf course but it was fascinating to me.
“I’m just not a good enough wedge player.”