Pádraig Harrington and Darren Clarke are in the Country Club of Virginia for the Dominion Energy Charity Classic as the Charles Schwab Playoffs get underway with this the first in a three tournament stretch.
Harrington enters the week second in the Schwab Cup standings after the conclusion of the regular season with double points on offer starting from Friday.
Senior Open champion Clarke realistically needs two wins from these three playoff events if he is to upstage leader Steven Alker and take home the Schwab Cup. Clarke is currently in 13th place at the end of the regular season.
Three-time major champion and US Senior Open winner Harrington is going for the gold in what will be his first PGA Tour Champions playoff experience.
“Yeah, it’s interesting. You know, I’ve seen my first playoffs ever, so trying to figure out how it works. To be honest, they’ve done a good system here. There’s five of us at the top and I don’t think any of us can win unless we win one of the last three events. I think it really comes down to who plays the best over those next three weeks. Obviously somebody outside those top-5, they have a chance, too, but they might take two wins, but for the top-5, probably one win would get it done.”
The Dubliner lost ground on Alker last week after a poor display of ball striking culminated in a mediocre 25th place finish. It was a surprising dip in form for Harrington who has been stellar from tee to green for most of the season but he hopes to have ironed out his swing to tackle a course that suits his eye.
“Yeah. Look, for me, you know, I lost my ball-striking a bit last week. That’s the first time in probably three, four months that I’ve had to really work on my swing and think about it. I hope I got through it and I hope I’m ready to go tomorrow.
“I like the golf course, I think it suits me. Maybe I don’t know it as well as some of the other guys who have played before, but for me, I’m going to go out there like every other round of golf I play and do all the cliches, play one shot at a time and see how it goes, try and keep my — try and stay patient. They are all cliches, but they do work at the end of the day. You know, try and enjoy it. Possibly the ultimate thing is realize that, as I said, if it doesn’t go well this week, there’s two more goes. Even if you fall behind over the next two weeks, it will come down to the last week. Everybody has a chance with double points the last week.
“The key is to not do too much. I’m not worried have I done enough, I’m worried have I overdone it.”
Harrington tees off alongside Alker and Jerry Kelly in the final group while Clarke will enjoy the company of Relief Goosen and Alex Cejka.