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Harrington and McIlroy mixing in the top circles

By Karl MacGinty

You know you've arrived in golf when you're invited to party with the US President at the White House - or to lunch with Jack Nicklaus at his golf club.

Padraig Harrington is relishing his opportunity to meet Barack Obama on St Patrick's Day, while Rory McIlroy described sitting down for a private tete-a-tete with Nicklaus last week as “an unbelievable experience”.

With three Major titles to his name, Harrington's bona fides are well-established but no matter how far he's travelled in golf, the 38-year-old admitted he's excited by the prospect of meeting Obama.

“It really is something different,” he said. “President Obama is one of the most charismatic people of the world; also one of the most powerful. It's always fascinating to meet these people and see what they're like — to get the chance to make your own judgement.

Rory McIlroy joins Harrington and Graeme McDowell in the CA Championship at Doral today.

Like the Dubliner, he's not fired on all cylinders in 2010 but played with enough flair and freedom at The Honda last Sunday to suggest he's fully recovered from recent back problems.

Yet ‘patience' was the keynote of his ‘summit' with Nicklaus, which McIlroy described as “the best 90 minutes I've spent in a long time”.

“One of the reasons I'm working with Dr Bob Rotella is to try and be a bit more clinical in finishing off at tournaments,” he said.

“And Jack was probably the most clinical of them all. It was great to talk to him.”

Belfast Telegraph


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