Since winning the PGA Championship, his second major of 2008 and third overall, Padraig Harrington has been MIA on the leader board. He didn’t qualify for the 2008 Tour Championship, won only a half point at the Ryder Cup, and in 13 starts since the PGA, he has missed five cuts and not had a top 10. A notorious tinkerer with an amazing work ethic, Paddy has fallen into the trap that so many do after great success — trying to improve technique to fix something that isn’t broken.
Major championship titles should come with a warning label: THIS IS NOT A LICENSE TO CHANGE YOUR SWING. I fell into that trap a couple of times in my career. The first was after my first tour victory and then again after winning my first major. For reasons I still can’t explain, I suddenly felt as if I had to play perfect golf. I’m now a major champion. I must do better. What you really need to improve then is your time management. Winning a lot, and especially winning majors, leads to a loss of personal and practice time. There are more demands from media, sponsors and charities.
Padraig is a great guy, and I sense he has a tough time saying no to these new opportunities. Sure, he wants to get better as a golfer, but he has to find the time he needs and work on the things that made him one of the very best on the planet the last couple of seasons. If he takes a look back, he’ll see that nothing is really broken.