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Pádraig Harrington reveals major boost taken from home win

Pádraig Harrington reveals major boost taken from home win

Pádraig Harrington won a fourth Major Championship last weekend at the U.S. Senior Open but he admits he may not have won any had it not been for his triumph on home soil 15 years ago.

Pádraig Harrington

The Irishman already had ten DP World Tour titles to his name when he arrived at the island of Ireland's national open in 2007 and within 15 months of beating Bradley Dredge in a play-off, he had won back-to-back Opens and the US PGA Championship.

His dramatic one-shot triumph over his opposite number as Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker on Sunday proved that at the age of 50, he still has the instincts to get the job done on the biggest stage but, ahead of the 2022 Horizon Irish Open, he admitted that steel may have been forged at his home open.

"I'm not going to say it was a stepping stone but the reality, when you look back, it probably was," he said of his 2007 triumph.

"You've got to win the events. You've got to start winning events first and foremost but then, once you start winning, you have to win bigger events and Irish Open may be even bigger than a Major in terms of stress.

"Just so much you have to manage in an Irish Open week. That's kind of the same with the Majors. As you guys know when you go to a Major, the amount of players who just don't bring their games because of what's going on, how they get distracted and the stress of it.

"I found that a big problem with the Irish Open for years. So around 2006, 2007, I started to get a handle on that and no doubt that handle was what helped me win the Majors."

Harrington would have been a fan favourite at Mount Juliet Estate regardless of his result at Saucon Valley Country Club last week and has played this event every year since 1996.

And while he admits the excursions of a senior Major across the Atlantic means he is not at his freshest in County Kilkenny, he still intends to enjoy the experience with the fans and fight for a 16th DP World Tour title.

"It's great to be back after a win," he said. "Great to have won on the Champions Tour. I've gone out there for that very reason, to win, rather than play regular events and finish top 10 kind of thing.

"It was important that I got across the line. It was definitely an added bonus I got my first win in a Major tournament, particularly the USGA, U.S. Senior Open.

"It is a very nice way to go about my first win and obviously brings a nice bit of buzz out of it, enjoyment and it was very exciting coming down the stretch with the crowds.  

"The whole golf course last week, it was a big test of golf. Definitely suited my game for sure, I knew I would be competitive on it but obviously that's not enough to win a tournament. You've got to go and do it. To get across the line was very nice, very exciting.  

"Coming here, the crowds, it was a nice atmosphere with people congratulating me. I'm sure it will be like that for the rest of the week.  

"It can be tough being at your home open, especially if you don't play well or you're in the middle of the pack and things aren't going so well, you feel like you're letting down the fans.  

"My own case, I'm obviously tired coming in here. I hope I get a good start, feeling so flat after last week, but I'm going to enjoy it and wave to the crowds because I won last week."

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