Padraig Harrington has been plying his trade in the professaional ranks for 23 years and who knows how many golf balls he has hit in competition over this period let alone how many golf balls he’s hit in practice.
And that practice would include for many, many years leaving the comfort of his Dublin home and in the deepest depths of winter to brave the elements and work on his game.
But the now 46-year old is mellowing. He likes being at home wih the family and there’s really no need to don five layers of clothing, mittens and woollen hats in his off-season.
Perhaps it is why Harrington has struggled in recent new seasons to ‘get going’ but there is clearly no relaxation in front of the fire when it comes to his determination.
Harrington this week returns to Riviera and the Genesis Open where he fired an opening 67 a year ago en-route to a share of 39th place.
Harrington’s first priority will be to ensure his plays all four rounds after having missed the cut in both his Tour starts so far this New Year.
“Heading into any new season you’d like to get all the right breaks and play all four rounds, and hopefully play well enough to be in contention,” he said.
“But I just haven’t done that this year in having the right preparation, and the reason for that is that it’s taken me all of this time to get into a new season. I’ve enjoyed the break since Paddy and I played in the Father-and-Son, but I now also like to spend more time at home with the family.”
“Years gone by I’d have been out in the cold of winter practicing but I’m too soft for that now and I don’t bother. Look, I’m in grand condition and I just need to do my preparation and get things right and I’ll be fine.”
Indeed, a year ago Harrington had visited an L.A. specialist seeking yet another opinion of a nagging shoulder concern he had been carrying since the October 2016 Olympic Games.
And after travelling last year from L.A. to Florida where he missed the cut in the Honda Classic, an event he’d won twice before, Harrington went home to have the shoulder operated on.
No such concern this year.