Padraig Harrington wanted to be the player others feared facing in a playoff

Harrington wasn't content with simply participating; he wanted to dominate

by Sead Dedovic
Padraig Harrington wanted to be the player others feared facing in a playoff
© Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport

Padraig Harrington, an Irish golfer, has left a huge mark on the world of golf. He began his journey in the golf scene at a young age and over time, he has achieved notable success. Opinions about him vary, but the majority agree that positive opinions about him prevail. What sets him apart is his passion for golf, and his desire to be remembered as someone who loved golf above all else.

Harrington's love for golf has never been in question. From the very beginning of his career, his dedication and passion for the game were evident. Unlike some other athletes, Harrington was not motivated by money or awards. Instead, his passion for the sport guided him through all the challenges and triumphs he experienced.

One of Harrington's greatest achievements is his three victories at major tournaments: The Open Championship in 2007 and 2008, and the PGA Championship in 2008.

“What would I like to be remembered as a golfer? I hope to be remembered as someone who was a competitor, as someone who loved the game of golf, loved the rules, the etiquette. These things don’t get you into the Hall of Fame. Being fastidious about rules is not going to get you into the Hall of Fame,” said Harrington, as quoted by Irish Golfer.

Harrington never wanted to be an average golfer, nor did he strive for mediocrity in any aspect of life. His intention was always to be at the top. What is particularly interesting is that Harrington aimed to instill fear in his opponents. His desire was to strike fear into the hearts of his opponents and make them afraid to play against him. This speaks to his desire to be stronger than the competition and to mentally assert his advantage. It seems that he succeeded in this, judging by his career.

From the beginning of his golfing career, Harrington set his sights high. He wasn't content with simply participating; he wanted to dominate. This mindset was crucial in his career. The Irishman understood that golf was not only a physical battle but also a mental one, and he was determined to dominate.

“My peers will remember me as a hard worker who got the most out of his game, who was a real tough competitor. I’d like to be the guy who that you don’t want to play against in a play-off.  That guy “You know what? I’d rather not be in a play-off with him as he’s likely to do anything to win. Somebody’s who’s prepared to really compete and dig deep.”- he continued.

Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington© Ryan Young/Getty Images Sport

Harrington's approach was always geared towards winning majors, feeling a sense of destiny driving him. He described himself as a doer, someone who thrived on competition while maintaining fairness. Harrington saw himself as a tough competitor, always striving to be even tougher, yet keen on playing by the rules and letting his performance speak for itself.

Harrington revealed what his greatest desire was: to continually progress and become better, much better than his peers. Interestingly, up until that point (24 years), he hadn't played professional golf, which set him apart from other golfers. His career took a different trajectory, but despite all obstacles, Harrington never gave up. The progress he made as such a young golfer is truly exemplary for everyone, showing that it's possible to build a career no matter when you start.

“It became very evident that’s what I wanted. I’d an insatiable desire to get better, at all levels whatever I was going. As amateur I was always better in my pool. I much preferred dominate in my own area. I didn’t play pro golf until I was 24, which was incredibly late. I was only interested in winning where I was at.

When I turned pro, that success manifested itself when I through ’99 and started winning again, making Ryder Cup teams. The next progression was winning majors and it became….I obviously paid attention a lot.“

Padraig Harrington on Phil Mickelson's speech

Learning from Phil Mickelson's winners' speech in 2012, Harrington realized the importance of setting multiple major wins as a goal. He understood that aiming for a singular major victory could potentially become limiting. Deep down, Harrington had aspirations for two or three major wins, wishing he had aimed even higher, perhaps at 5, 6, 7, or 8. 

He feared the burden of winning just one major, observing how it could weigh down a player's career until retirement. Harrington recognized that while a single major win is an achievement that can never be erased, it could also become a barrier to enjoying the career fully until after retirement.

Harrington succeeded in his goal, winning three Majors. This put an end to his career and showed the world that he was a golfer worthy of respect. He also made his mark in the Ryder Cup, as well as on the European Tour. Winning Majors is extremely difficult alongside such great names.

Padraig Harrington