Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A lot of people are asking, "What's going on with Padraig
Harrington?" Yes, the two-time defending British Open champion has not
been playing up to his normal standards (which are unbelievably high).
But as one of his team of coaches, I can tell you that Padraig is just
fine. Last week, he won the Irish PGA Championship for the
third time in a row, hopefully a good omen for this Open at Turnberry. Truly
elite players have a different way of thinking and that might be what
makes them the best. Once they reach the pinnacle of winning a major,
their focus changes. Instead of victory satisfying their hunger, it just increases the desire to win more. Major champions often
change their games, so that they can win all of them. This is
what Padraig is doing. He clearly understands what has to be done to
compete in all four majors, and he knows it may take some time. However,
the only reason for his recent poor form is his short game. Padraig won
three majors because of his incredible short game, not his
ball-striking. While working on swing changes, Padraig neglected his
short game and as a result has not scored well. He has worked hard the
past three weeks on bringing his short game back, and he is optimistic
about this week's Open Championship. Padraig says the rough at Turnberry
is as tough as he has ever seen, and for a Irishman and links
specialist to say that should be a warning to everyone. Padraig is a
happy man right now and keep in mind that he's the youngest of the three
competitive players with three major victories (Phil Mickelson
and Vijay Singh). Even though Padraig is not quite where he wants to be
with his full swing, his short game is returning to form and nobody
putts better on links courses. Don't write him off yet.Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Dave Phillips is co-founder of the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif., and is one of Padraig Harrington's team of coaches.

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