In the last 60 years, only four golfers have completed the rare achievement of back-to-back victories at The Open Championship to get British Open Fame: Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, and Padraig Harrington. Golf and British Open 2023 fans can buy British Open Tickets from our website.
Three of the guys made an immediate impression on the main stage. Trevino won on his fourth major outing at the 1968 U.S. Open – before using the Claret Jug for the 1st time at just the third effort. Watson was triumphant on his debut British Open appearance in 1975. And Woods marked his initial major as an expert with an amazing runaway triumph in the 1997 Masters.
But, Harrington’s two victories at Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale in 2007. And 2008 was rewarded for his perseverance and hard work and prolonged pursuit of glory. When the Irishman first had significant success, he was 35 years old and in his 12th season as a professional.
Some players would have been impatient with such a wait. But Harrington was more than okay with taking baby steps to the top of the game thanks to his early experiences.
“I now encounter children who lack basic skills at 12 or other ages. For me, that was unique,” stated Harrington.
“When I was 15 years old and playing for Ireland, I never took a lesson. I was chosen, you were accepted into a coaching program, and that was the first time in my entire life that I had a formal lesson.”
The patience of Padraig Harrington
In his early teen years, Harrington was far from a scratch handicap. But his competitive nature and ambition to get better were unmatched. He gradually advanced toward the standard expected of a professional golfer.
“I had a 32 handicap when I was 13 years old. I had a 14 handicap when I was 14 years old. I had a nine handicap when I was 15 years old. When I was 16 years of age, I had a five handicap and when I was 17 years of age, I was one handicap,” Harrington confessed.
“I like competing and winning. I completed the task. Being competitive meant going out there, which happily I was able to do I was never. Ever able to skip out of that level because I was always competent at succeeding at my level, despite being in a little pond.
I didn’t compete in a professional golf match until I was 24 years old and a pro. I never participated in one as a novice. It was all about playing at the level I was at and attempting to win there. Since I didn’t compete in senior amateur competitions until I was 18 years old and out of junior golf.
“I always overachieved at the level I was at. I would so triumph in junior contests held inside and outside of my club, but only at my level. Never did I move up a level. The one quality my father constantly commended in me was patience. It was always about making improvements gradually.”
Padraig Harrington Career:
Harrington went on to have a successful amateur career as he continued to hone his abilities. Representing Great Britain and Ireland in either the Walker Cup or St Andrews Trophy for five straight years from 1991 to 1995. The 151st British Open Championship fans can buy British Open 2023 Tickets from our website.
He also understood that he was more than capable of routinely defeating his opponents in one-on-one combat.
“The Home Internationals and the European Championships were our two major competitions, and during his six years of international competition, he never dropped a singles match.”
“Since I usually played at the top of the order, I could beat the greatest, the very best of all the other countries. I was defeating their top athletes.”
Harrington decided to seek a professional career in the game after this string of successes. Yet in keeping with the methodical technique that had been successful when he was younger, he took his time and continued to play as an amateur for a number of additional years before finally joining the paid ranks at the end of 1995.
He claimed, “I made the decision to go pro because I could defeat the amateurs who were becoming pros.”
“I didn’t believe I was competent. I reasoned that I would defeat them if they believed they were competent. As none of the top players from 1990 to 1995 defeated me in singles, I decided to give it a shot.”
Harrington’s goals were modest even when he ultimately went pro at the age of 24. Even Harrington, who started his career on the European Tour, thought it was unlikely that he would ever win consecutive British Opens.
Harrington at High School
“I attended Tour High School. I made it to the last round and came in 17th. That amazes me,” he said.
“My objective as a professional golfer was to place between 50th and 100th (on the Order of Merit) year for, oh, five years, just to be a journeyman pro. To get out there, play for five years, and have a successful career would have been a success for me.”
Instead, it quickly became apparent that Harrington was capable of comfortably exceeding those goals.
Harrington received a significant lift from a strong performance at the FNB Players Championship in difficult circumstances in just his second professional competition and first start of the 1996 European Tour season.
“He cited his attendance at a Challenge Tour tournament in Nairobi as the reason he received a last-minute call-up to play in Durban on the European Tour.”
“I believe that three or four of the guys who were in Nairobi declined the invitation. I accepted it, traveled to Durban, and showed up there pretty late on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I went about my usual business and practiced for 12 hours. I had pretty awful shaking all night because I was so severely dehydrated, but fortunately, I had a late tee time, so by the time I arrived at the golf course, I was mostly fine.
“Like many young professionals, I had just purchased a new set of golf equipment. I had to play with them for the entire week because they couldn’t be bent and were four degrees too upright. Therefore it’s easy to see how things could go wrong.
British Open Fame
Despite being ill and using these clubs to hit the ball as poorly as possible, I managed to make the cut.
I earned £1,480 and placed 46th. I immediately called my mother and exclaimed, “You cannot believe that. Padraig had a poor game, placed 46th, and took home £1,480. They are basically giving it away!’ And because I felt at ease, it was undoubtedly the most important time in my professional career.
“I’ve observed a lot of talented amateurs show up at professional competitions, perform admirably, and miss the cut before concluding, “Oh my Goodness, I have to alter everything to be a pro. I experienced the opposite. I showed up, thought I played horribly and felt like everything was against me, but I was still selected. I felt like I belonged and that I could succeed.”
Padraig Harrington 1996 Season:
If that performance was a promising beginning to the 1996 season, Harrington’s situation quickly changed for the better. His first professional victory at the Peugeot Spanish Open came after three straight top-10 performances in April and May. The Dubliner, who waited before getting professional, was soon leaving quite an impression.
He continued, “I believe that at the end of the day, I made six consecutive cuts, then I made three top-10s, and then I won, all based on just feeling comfortable.”
“The most crucial factor for any amateur who wants to become a professional is that they have a great start, feel like they belong, and have confidence in their abilities.”
Over the following ten years, Harrington would go on to win an additional 11 titles on the European Tour and PGA Tour in addition to a number of runner-up finishes, steadily establishing himself as a major force.
Yet it wasn’t until 2006 that he truly felt prepared to experience significant success. Eticketing.co is the best website to buy all Golf Events and British Open Tickets.