Harrington primed for US Senior Open defence after main tour outings

Ronan MacNamara

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Pádraig Harrington feels playing in the PGA Championship and US Open on the main tour will give him a competitive edge as he looks to retain his US Senior Open title.

Harrington is braced for narrow fairways and thick rough at Stevens Point in a test that might be more akin to a traditional US Open than LA Country Club was and he believes that combined with his length off the tee will help him.

“The tougher the golf course, the more I like it. The heavy rough, it’s not playing as heavy as L.A. Country Club, but it’s heavier than Oak Hill was at the PGA.


“I played Oak Hill at the PGA this year, and I didn’t drive it particularly straight, but I only — I never had to layup for the week. I went for every green out of the rough. So I never had to chip out. I don’t think I’ll get away with that this week. I think there will be plenty of chip outs,” said the three-time major champions who tees off with Darren Clarke today at just after half two in the afternoon.

“Some of that’s due to hazards in the front of the green, so you might take a chance of trying to run one up. Clearly, you’re not going to do that here. I think it’s a big, strong, tough golf course.

“Yeah, it does suit me. There’s advantages off the tee here. I can carry the bunker down the 1st on the left-hand side. Because of that, like if I hit a good drive on the 1st, it’s a drive and a gap wedge. All the players have to play out to the right, and we’re hitting a long iron or certainly a mid-iron.

“So there are advantages on the golf course. But like a lot of times with golf, even if you have an advantage, you still have to play the best golf. If I play to my strengths, great, I’ll be right there at the top of the leaderboard. But if I don’t play to my strengths, then it just doesn’t work out, but there is an advantage for sure.”

The Dubliner feels not only has he got a physical edge over his competitors but playing the US Open a fortnight ago will give him a mental edge over the field.

“Like I’m kind of used to it, aren’t I? You know, kind of used to the disaster of maybe a difference of one yard into the rough and you’re struggling.

“I think the pain emotionally here will be on some of the shorter holes. There’s a few holes that are 3-wood and 5-wood off the tee, but if you miss those, the penalty is severe.

“So you kind of — you’re playing safe off the tee, but you miss it and you really feel bad about yourself. At least if you miss it with a driver, in some ways, well, I was going for it.

“Yeah, I think that always plays into a major tournament, that you’re being tested physically, clearly, but you’re also being tested mentally, emotionally out there. Can you handle what would seem like bad breaks.

‘There will be a lot of players that you’ll hit a shot this week — I remember every player, if they hit a shot that’s hanging onto the edge of the fairway, every player in their head mentally sees that ball kicking onto the fairway.

“No player has ever seen that ball mentally kick into the rough. So when it does what it’s supposed to do and kicks straight and goes into the rough by a yard, that’s going to be a mental test because it can be — it feels like the difference of two shots because you think, oh, I would have got — I would have hit my wedge from the fairway, but the fact I chipped up and under 80 yards and didn’t get up and down and made 5, it’s amazing how it’s not two shots, but it feels like it.”


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