Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

History-maker Harrington is out on his own

Padraig Harrington celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning by 4 strokes during the final round of the 137th Open Championship on July 20, 2008 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, England

Back-to-back Open champion Padraig Harrington is today coming to terms with the idea that he is arguably the greatest achiever in the history of Irish sport.

Harrington yesterday wrote a new chapter in his burgeoning career as he clinched the old Claret Jug for the second time in 12 months.

Victory by a clear cut margin of four shots ahead of England's Ian Poulter at wind-ravaged Royal Birkdale has set Harrington apart from any other Irish golfer.

Modest Harrington however claimed that the enormity of his achievements have not yet sunk in.

The 36-year-old concedes: "Things like that will only sink in over the next couple of days. I actually stopped myself while I was on the course from thinking about what it means to win a second Open, defend an Open or to win two majors.

"Obviously winning a major puts you in a special club. Winning two of them puts you in a new club altogether.

"But I didn't get into the consequences and I think over the next week I will begin to reflect on things like that.

"However I'm going to make sure I enjoy the next week and make sure this is what I will do for the next week."

Harrington nearly missed out on the chance to win his second title because of a troublesome wrist injury, but is using that as an excuse for taking some well deserved celebration time off.

"Obviously I can't go to practice so I'm okay for a week at least. This is what winning is about," says Harrington.

"You savour these things and that's what I will do."

Now Harrington who is suddenly third in the world and has secured his Ryder Cup spot, is giving serious thought to his future schedules.

"I have already said earlier this year that my goal is to keep getting myself into contention in the majors. The majors are what it's all about for me," admits Harrington.

"I set my schedule out this year for the four majors and the Ryder Cup. The idea was to try and peak for those four weeks.

"I got myself vaguely into contention at the Masters, not particularly but vaguely. At the US Open it didn't happen but at the Open it happens.

"If I get 50% of a hit rate and get into contention that's two a year and a pretty high rate for most of us mere mortals.

"As much as I try to be a fair Open Champion and play around the world I think the key is not to over play. This year I kept my tournaments down to a minimum."

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