Paddy Harrington Talks Tiger and More

by Jeff Skinner

The May issue of Golf Magazine is a great read this month.  Eamon Lynch has The Golf Magazine Interview with Padraig Harrington and he is his usual candid self.  Few golfers offer such honest opinions on any and all subjects.  His candor has made him one of the best interviews in golf and he doesn’t disappoint in this chat with Lynch.

He’s focused on winning more majors.

After your first Open win, at Carnoustie, you told me your goal was multiple majors. Now that you have three, what’s the goal?

It hasn’t changed. Four of us have three majors, and then you’ve got Tiger, so it’s a big step to get to four. The focus is to win the two that I haven’t got. It’s a question of setting myself apart. At the end of your career you’ll always be judged on winning majors.

Amazingly Paddy brings two different sets of clubs to each tournament.

You use different clubs for majors than for regular Tour events?

I’ve carried two sets of irons to every tournament for eight years. Out of two-inch rough, there’s a 40-yard difference between how far my 7-iron with sharp grooves and my 7-iron with normal grooves will go. I’ve gone to every tournament for the past eight years, had a look at the rough, and decided which set of grooves were going to be most effective that week.

He had thought Tiger and he were friends but realized that’s not the case.

Do you consider him a friend?

Tiger would often say “Paddy’s a friend,” and I’d say, “Tiger’s a friend,” but this is surely not the case if I didn’t know what was going on. He’s very personable and he’s one of the guys I look forward to playing with. But I could be going to a game or to a nice restaurant and would often say to another player, “Do you want to go?” But you’d never say it to Tiger — you’d assume there’s too much hassle in it for him. Because of the demands on him he’s alienated from the rest of the players.

He says Tiger will have to live with his choices he made.

You said you have no sympathy for him.

It’s a very personal matter, but it’s right for it to be in the public domain. If you want everything that goes with being a professional sportsman, well, that’s what goes with it. That’s part of our life. I don’t have sympathy for the fact that he made his choices and he has to live with that and take responsibility for it.

Paddy pulls no punches and he talks, Monty, Faldo, grooves and more and in his own modest way says he’s not the greatest Irish athlete.

You were just voted Ireland’s greatest-ever sportsman. Would you have voted for yourself in that poll?

I’m delighted to receive it but I wouldn’t get hung up about not winning. My sport is high profile and I’m in peoples’ minds. Let’s face it, the greatest Irish athlete is probably a Special Olympian. Is it a popularity contest or an achievement contest?


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