Padraig Harrington could be peaking at just the right time
Looking at the current struggles Adam Scott is going through with his new swing, it’s easy to see why tour professionals tend to go through rough patches before they see the fruits of their hard-earned work on the range.
Padraig Harrington would definitely be one of the balls that falls in that boat. A two-time major champion winner just last year, Harrington has been nothing more than a blip on the radar all season, finishing in the top 25 just three times on the PGA Tour. His FedEx Cup ranking, an abysmal 142nd, is the worst of his career. Needless to say, it’s been a tough year for the 2008 Player of the Year.
Major swing changes have been the biggest issue plaguing Harrington’s game. After yesterday’s first round, Harrington spoke to the Golf Channel’s Steven Sands about the state of his game and admitted that he’s finally starting to see the benefits of the overhaul. Mind you, this is coming from someone who was at the top of the golfing world just last season — and yet he felt like he needed to improve to keep up with the rest of the tour. I’d call that a Tiger Woods mentality.
After months of pain and suffering, Harrington put it together yesterday with a picture perfect round. His 6-under 64 was the only spotless round of the day on a course that measures over 7,400 yards. He followed his first round up with a 1-under 69 that included his first bogey of the week.
There’s only one other player in the field this week with one bogey on his card, and his name is Scott Verplank. The consistency seems to be back in Harrington’s game for the first time all season, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
With the PGA Championship just next week, I’d imagine Harrington is peaking at just the right time to contend for a major championship. While the PGA is generally the easiest of the four major championship venues, it shouldn’t detract from the fact that you still need to be able to grind out holes and be mentally tough for 72 holes. He was able to do it last year at the PGA; there’s no reason why I can’t see him doing it again.
I would have never put Harrington in the top 10 list of players to watch for at the PGA Championship next week prior to his play over the first two days at the WGC-Bridgestone. But given his recent form and the way he’s maneuvering the tough Firestone track, I think it’s time we consider putting his name back in the mix for the last major of the season.