Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Scottish Open: Harrington claims he still has links to success

Padraig Harrington, who won two of his three majors while Tiger Woods was out injured in 2008, has fallen from third in the world to 57th since then.

But, far from feeling down in the dumps with the Open only two weeks away and no Woods in the field again, Harrington is excited.

For the first time since 1999 the Dubliner is warming up at the Barclays Scottish Open rather than at home and after his first look at the new Castle Stuart course near Inverness he is already sure he has done the right thing.

“I'm here because it's on a links course, but who knows until you get out there yourself?” said Harrington today.

“It's way above expectations —and a great set-up for next week.

“It's fantastic that we get that opportunity to enjoy this style of golf because it's really different to what we are used to and takes a lot of getting used to.

“I cannot emphasise how different it is hitting an iron shot off the turf on a links course rather than on a standard parkland course. Some go further and some go shorter because of the turf.”

Harrington's recent form is nothing to write home about, but he added: “I believe I'm getting there — I'm excited about my game. I'm looking forward to the challenge this week. Obviously if you are not in contention you are thinking about getting your game ready for the Open, but if on Sunday I have a chance this is a big enough tournament that I'd put all my effort into this and forget about next week.

“I've won the Irish Open and the Open. It would be nice to have another one of the home nation titles.”

Meanwhile, Scotland's number one Martin Laird has declared himself happy to be back in Europe — not just for two huge events, but also for a break from wedding preparations.

The US-based 28-year-old, the first Scot to make the world's top 25 since Colin Montgomerie, is getting married in Colorado a fortnight after next week's Open Championship.

“Obviously that's the biggest weekend of the year. You only get married once — hopefully!” said Laird.

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