Pádraig Harrington might’ve proven himself a prolific winner on the PGA Champions circuit but the 51-year old will again be trying his luck against younger opposition at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The swift-swinging Dubliner still has eyes on an under-50’s prize and arrives to the $20m event in Bay Hill looking for more after bookending his Honda Classic bid last week with rounds of 72 for a T60 finish.
Playing for almost 10 times the money that he would’ve been contesting had he competed on the Champions Tour in Tucson this week, Harrington has snapped up a sponsor’s invite to an event where he made the cut in 2022 in an eventual T42 finish.
One benefit of plying his trade on the Champions circuit means Harrington doesn’t have to worry about halfway cuts. The 54-hole no-cut over-50’s format has been a pleasant reprieve for the now four-time Champions Tour winner who hopes to adopt a similar freed up mentality when competing at regular tour events like this week at Bay Hill.
“It’s nice not to have the stress of a cut,” Harrington explained.
“Even the couple of events I played on the European Tour, even the first one where I finished fourth, at one stage on the Friday I’m like, ‘What’s the cut going to be, where am I?’ and when you start thinking like that you just hit a brick wall.
“It’s amazing how hard it is to play when you’re thinking about the cut and you’ve got to get that out of your mind, which the Champions Tour, again, we don’t have a cut; 54-hole golf is not 72-hole golf. That’s very obvious.
“It’s a big difference having a cut line. A lot of pressure, a lot of stress in that cut line, and it doesn’t matter how good, what you’ve done in your career.
“Professional golfers have this silly thing in our heads that we don’t want to miss cuts. We don’t want a weekend off. Who in the world doesn’t want to have a weekend off?
“Professional golfers, we just all get uptight when it comes to the cut line, much more so for me. I could be chasing down the lead and it wouldn’t bother me whatsoever, but if I’m on that cut line, I’m like, ‘Oh, you don’t want to mess that one up.’”
“It’s freed up my golf somewhat, and hopefully I can take that to the regular tour. Physically I’m very capable.”
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