Padraig Harrington (Getty Images)
Padraig Harrington is relishing the atmosphere at Crans-sur-Sierre as the Irishman returns to Switzerland for the first time in 13 years to tee up in this week’s Omega European Masters.
The Irishman last played this event back in 2000, but is clearly enjoying his return to the stunning mountain venue.
“Clearly it is right up there as the most beautiful venue we play tournament golf at around the world,” Harrington said. “It is a beautiful place, let alone the golf course. Secondly, it always has a great atmosphere here.
“The course is in the centre of the town and everyone seems to be into their golf here. You walk around the town and there are three caddie carts outside the pub because they haven’t made it home. It reminds you of home because a lot of links courses at home are like that and the clubhouse is nearly in the town and everyone, even if they don’t play, are involved.
“Here you can’t go ten yards without seeing a poster for the event. Every shop window has clubs and balls in it. It really is a nice atmosphere. I’m staying in a golf hotel and it is stunning, with stunning views. There is a putting course in front of us and I am going to have a game against my caddie - the big match of the week! It really looks difficult too; there is a volcano hole and I don’t know how you play it!”
While the three-time Major Champion is enjoying matters off the course this week, Harrington knows there is plenty of work to be done on it after five years without a European Tour title.
And the 42 year old feels he has a good idea of what is required if he is to end that run.
“Two six unders and two two unders would be pretty close,” he added. “It’s really hard. There are some short holes, but there is a lot of difficultly around the greens.
“The condition of the course is immaculate and there is a substantial difference in the quality and condition of the course from back when I played it.”