Florida - Padraig Harrington's press conference earlier this week did not
contain the usual run of the mill material. It contained content relating to
hustling, the yips, what conditions he requires to perform at his best and his
thoughts on 29 second place finishes.
Harrington was asked where he first learned to hustle. His
answer "I learned my hustle competing with my older brother, Columb."
"He is nine years older and I was 14, we were playing for a
pound, which was a lot in those days."
"I've got a little putt on the fifth to go one up. As I'm
lining it up he says 'oh, it's a pity there are no more birdie holes.'
"As I'm standing over the putt, I'm thinking, 'But the par-5 is reachable in two and I'm going to make birdie on that one.'
"Of course I was thinking about the seventh and missed the
putt. He completely put me off and distracted me. That pound note hung in my
mum's kitchen for 20 years. It was the last time he beat me!"
Harrington addressed his recent putting woes. "My putting
has been struggling a bit and that has come back well."
Does he feel he has completely recovered from the yips? "I
don't think you ever fully come back from it, no."
"But certainly feel a lot better on the greens, a lot less
stress knocking on 2- and 3-footers."
"But it has not quite cleared up, but I'm pretty positive
about it all, and I see some good signs going ahead. A lot less work involved
on the greens for me at the moment."
When Harrington was asked if he played better under adverse
conditions he was very open about this topic.
"I need to be hyped up. I need that adrenaline and I need
that buzz at the end of a round."
"I'm always a lot better when I'm afraid, when I'm fearful
and nervous and got that stress on me."
Harrington disclosed his thoughts after finishing as a runner up
29 times in his career.
"People wanted to pigeon hole me into a certain
"But in those 29 second places, there's so many different
"Some of them I lost through bring ahead and relaxing. Some
I lost to hitting bad shots under pressure."
"Some I shot a great round to finish second. Somebody else
holed a putt to beat me and I could do nothing about."
"But all those 29 second place finishes were learning
experiences, and the third and fourth places, you're learning every time."
"From all those experiences, you understand how to read a
situation, and that's the one thing I can do really well now."
"I read the situation very well coming down the stretch. I
can understand what the other players are doing, how they are feeling, what's
likely to happen; who is the threat, what do I have to do; do I need to push on
or is that guy going to come back to me."
Harrington is the defending champion at The Honda Classic. Good
luck with the hustle this week, being nervous as much as you needs to perform,
no issues with the yips and not another second place finish!