Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Golf Irish Open

I can't defend Mickelson's actions at US Open, says Harrington

 

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland.
Keith Duffy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Duffy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy's father, Gerry McIlroy, centre in white, on the 11th fairway. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 11th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Thorbjørn Olesen on the 11th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 11th green. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy with his caddy Harry Diamond on the 10th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy's mother Rosie and wife Erica at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy teeing off the 2nd at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy teeing off the 8th at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Brian McFaddenat the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Enda Kenny and Jihad El Sibai take part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy on the 1st tee with Tony McCoy, JP McManus and Dermot Desmond at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy on the 1st fairway at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Keith Wood playing in today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Padraig Harrington playing in today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the fairway with Tony McCoy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Tony McCoy takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. JP McManus takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Wood takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Wood takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Graeme McDowell takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy practices before the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 1st tee with his Tony McCoy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy signing autographs for fans at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Darren Clarke teeing off the 1st at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Golf fans enjoying the fantatic weather at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Graeme McDowell takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy practices before the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

By Brian Keogh

Phil Mickelson may not be at a pristine Ballyliffin in Donegal this week but Padraig Harrington knows there's no chance of his pal suffering a repeat of his US Open "moment of madness".

The Dubliner is in his element on the Glashedy Links, where judicious use of irrigation has allowed a tinge of green to linger, giving the European Tour options when it comes to controlling the way the course plays in drought conditions.

Having watched the US Open on TV, Harrington saw the mayhem that followed when Shinnecock Hills became almost unplayable and Mickelson hit a moving ball on the 13th green out of frustration, and believes the time has come for the USGA to give up their obsession with par.

"It's the first time I have sat out a Major and questioned whether I wanted to be there," Harrington said. "Does that make sense to you?"

As for Mickelson, Harrington just wishes his pal had pleaded temporary insanity rather than trying to justify his actions.

"As bizarre as the incident was, I think it would have been simpler for him just to come out and say, 'It got to me and I made a crazy error of judgment'," Harrington said.

"You don't want to defend the indefensible, which is what he went about doing. It would have been simpler for Phil to just put up his hands and say, 'The place got to me, a moment of madness, I'm getting old', and we all would have accepted that.

"But it wasn't a nice thing to see. It shouldn't have happened. I wouldn't advocate it being allowed to happen again, and if necessary, there needs to be a rule change.

"He could have taken a stroke and distance and would have been putting for two shots less, so it wasn't a clever thing."

As for the USGA's obsession with a level-par winning score, Harrington believes it's time for them to move on.

"There are too many good players in golf now for anybody to set a course up to keep us at level par without going over the edge," he said. "You have to focus on four to eight under par."

What the winning score will be in Ballyliffin is anyone's guess, but Harrington is in heaven playing links golf in Mediterranean-style weather on his first trip to Donegal and truly believes the bookies have got it wrong by making him a 66-1 chance this week

"It looks like this course just came into being rather than was designed, which is the beauty of it," he said. "If there's ever a course that sums up the Wild Atlantic Way, this is it."

Harrington is trying to get himself mentally ready for The Open and his return to Carnoustie, but for Graeme McDowell, it's all about putting his lost clubs nightmare behind him so he can win his place in the field in a fortnight's time.

The Portrush man (38) spent "an immensely stressful 36 hours" waiting for his missing clubs to arrive in Manchester, pulling out of Final Qualifying at St Anne's Old Links on Monday night before racing to Ballyliffin, where he played a hurried nine holes with a borrowed set yesterday.

His clubs were scheduled to arrive in Dublin at 10pm last night before being sent to Donegal by courier in time for his 7.30am Pro-Am tee-time.

And he's hopeful that armed with his own sticks, he can seal his place in The Open by winning one of three spots on offer at the Glashedy Links this week or, failing that, in next week's Scottish Open.

"Some people were upset that I didn't try and qualify," he said, defending his decision to "pull the ripcord" on Final Qualifying. "If it had been my last chance saloon, I'd have tried to qualify.

"But playing 36 holes with new clubs at a tricky course with just three places, I didn't feel the odds were in my favour... I had to pull the plug."

Insisting he can put it all behind him and focus on his first round date with Spaniards Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello tomorrow, he added: "Yes, I can park it. I feel I've closed the book. Mentally, I'm in prepare mode for the Irish Open."

Paul Dunne is keen to put himself on the Ryder Cup radar.

"I still think I'd have to win twice," Dunne said of his chances of making Thomas Bjorn's team.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph