Like most married men, I find a certain degree of truth in the “happy wife, happy life” cliché, and life, as another cliché goes, is all about compromises. As a result, when I find myself at home on a Sunday afternoon with golf on the telly, I’ll often mute the volume. “It’s a compromise,” I’ll say, pretending that I really do want to listen to the musings of Mark Roe.
Image from Golffile.ie
Not that he’s all Sky Sports have to offer, but golf is a visual sport and I can follow it just as well without them.
One unusual quirk that Sky and the European Tour are testing out at the moment is mid-round interviewing. I’ve listened to quite a few now, and while offering something different, there is little fear that the back pages need ever be held to accommodate them.
That is until Sunday just passed.
Mid-way through a conversation that will now never be finished, I cut my wife off mid-sentence by lunging for the remote control and turning the volume up beyond what’s acceptable in the absence of large crowds and alcohol.
The reason? There was Tim Barter, walking off the ninth tee-box, and holding a microphone in front of Padraig Harrington.
Harrington has been accused of being a lot of things throughout his career. Overly methodical is one, overly obsessive is another, but one thing that Harrington will never be accused of is being even remotely boring.
Anybody who listened to the two or three minute interview as they walked up the ninth fairway, and then switched channels before the day’s conclusion is no golf fan, and barely credible as a sports fan.
If the eyes are the gateway to the soul, Harrington’s are practically inviting you to drive in. Blazing with an intensity that he has become famous for, Harrington described to Barter in detail of the perilous shot he was faced with from the trees on the seventh, why he chose the riskiest option, one that he concedes very few players would have agreed with and exactly how it feels to be contending in the white heat of battle on a Sunday afternoon.
It was engaging, it was honest, and it was anything other than just paying lip service to the microphone. But of course, with Harrington, it was never going to be any other way.
There is a sense of theatre surrounding Harrington that never ceases to amaze. Having been fortunate enough to watch him up close and in person, his concentration levels never seem to waver, regardless of how well or how poorly he is playing.
And when he is playing well, as he was on Sunday, then just sit back and watch the drama unfold, because win or lose, viewers are in for a rollercoaster ride. But that’s just the way he is.
Think Carnoustie in ’07 and the incredible up-and-down to save double-bogey on the last hole before winning in the playoff. Think Honda Classic in ’15 when he double-bogeyed the par-3 17th after hitting his tee shot into the pond, bounced back to birdie 18 to force another playoff, then stood back on the 17th tee, with the same club in hand, and knocked it stiff. Think Portugal Masters last year when, with par being good enough, he was so far right of the final green that double-bogey became a possibility, before the old magic short game rescued the situation.
Unfortunately for the Dubliner, the most in-form player in the world at the moment had another incredibly in-form day. No fault to Justin Rose however, but he doesn’t do drama quite like Padraig Harrington.
But hey, try telling that to my wife.