Paralysis by analysis.
Many say that's been the problem for Padraig Harrington in his long quest to reclaim his world-beating form.
Harrington himself accepts the diagnosis.
But his swing coach is also taking some of the blame. Speaking with the British press this week, Pete Cowen [right] made this blunt admission.
"It's my fault. I made one comment which he took to heart," said Cowen, a respected instructor who started working with Harrington last year. "Padraig doesn't just want to be a great player, he wants to be a great ball striker. He was hitting a pull-cut which was great for him, but he wanted to hit it more solid so I told him he was opening his shoulders too quickly. It was just a throwaway line, but I wish I'd never said it. Whatever it took, at whatever cost, he was going to sort that. When you're making changes you need your short game to be red hot to cover it. But unfortunately it hasn't been."
A relentless tinkerer, the 42-year-old Harrington bears only faint resemblance to the player who claimed three majors in 13-month span. He has not won a full-field event since 2010, and after missing the cut at the KLM Open last week, he dropped out of the list of top 60 players who qualify for the European Tour's Race to Dubai.
His woes are yet another reminder that golf's famous demons don't discriminate.
They can haunt the world's best players in the same way they bedevil the rest of us. Photo: Getty Images