Don't write off Padraig Harrington at British Open
A lot of people are asking, "What's going on with Padraig Harrington?" Yes, the two-time defending British Open champion has not been playing up to his normal standards (which are unbelievably high). But as one of his team of coaches, I can tell you that Padraig is just fine. Last week, he won the Irish PGA Championship for the third time in a row, hopefully a good omen for this Open at Turnberry.
Truly elite players have a different way of thinking and that might be what makes them the best. Once they reach the pinnacle of winning a major, their focus changes. Instead of victory satisfying their hunger, it just increases the desire to win more. Major champions often change their games, so that they can win all of them.
This is what Padraig is doing. He clearly understands what has to be done to compete in all four majors, and he knows it may take some time.
However, the only reason for his recent poor form is his short game. Padraig won three majors because of his incredible short game, not his ball-striking. While working on swing changes, Padraig neglected his short game and as a result has not scored well. He has worked hard the past three weeks on bringing his short game back, and he is optimistic about this week's Open Championship.
Padraig says the rough at Turnberry is as tough as he has ever seen, and for a Irishman and links specialist to say that should be a warning to everyone. Padraig is a happy man right now and keep in mind that he's the youngest of the three competitive players with three major victories (Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh). Even though Padraig is not quite where he wants to be with his full swing, his short game is returning to form and nobody putts better on links courses. Don't write him off yet.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Dave Phillips is co-founder of the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif., and is one of Padraig Harrington's team of coaches.