Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els are the only active players who have won more majors than Padraig Harrington, the affable Irishman whose last three victories on the PGA and European tours are the British Open in 2007 and '08, and the '08 PGA. Three majors in two years is the fast track to the Hall of Fame, but that success put Padraig in a shark tank.
After his Saturday 63 in Scottsdale, Padraig said he spent the years following his major wins explaining why those triumphs didn't lead to more. Why would you change a swing that won three majors? He went from defending titles to defending himself. He says he is only now returning to a healthier equilibrium.
Great golf, Padraig said, is about discipline and patience and, as it relates to him, always about change. Change made him the player who won those majors, and every day since, he has awakened giddy about what change might mean. He pointed out he won the 2007 Open hitting a draw and the two majors in '08 with a fade. He said the expectations that followed those wins were misguided, that an athlete should be judged by his body of work. Two great years should be followed by a few poor ones, he said. I bought it, but if so, a few mediocre years should be followed by a great one. He's due, and there is no changing that.
Brandel Chambleeis a 15-year Tour vet and Golf Channel analyst.
FRED VUICH (CHAMBLEE)
RICHARD HEATHCOTE/GETTY IMAGES (HARRINGTON)