Padraig Harrington on mindset, party tabs and loneliness

It’s easy to forget that professional golfers are real human beings with real thoughts running through their heads. Luckily, guys like Padraig Harrington are candid enough to share real insight on those thoughts from time to time.

 

The three-time major winner joined Irish talk show host Ray D’Arcy last week and said reading sports psychologist Dave Aldred’s book, ‘The Pressure Principle,’ helped keep him on an even-keel to win the Portugal Masters last month.

 

“The language, what you’re saying to yourself out there on the golf course, try not to make things so absolute,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of times golfers will think, ‘If I hit a golf ball out of bounds, I can’t win.’ That’s not true. … I hit four golf balls in the water (in Portugal). I three-putted three times. … I was very mindful of how I was stating things (in my head). What I saw from that was my physical posture change.”

 

That speaks to an overall mindset Harrington tries to maintain throughout every round.

 

“You don’t have to act like you own the place, but you’ve got to walk around and in your head, you’ve got to believe you’re the man,” Harrington said. “Your ego has to be there. … You don’t necessarily have to be obnoxious about it, but you’ve got to believe in yourself.”

 

You also have to change the way you think about things like luck.

 

“You have to remind yourself to smile. You have to remind yourself you’re lucky. If I hit it down the fairway on the first hole and it went in a divot, I could go, ‘Wow. I’m lucky it’s in a divot on the first hole and not the 72nd hole.’ … But you have to work on it.”

 

Anyone who has ever picked up a club knows that’s much easier said than done, but it’s a unique and interesting way to consider those bad breaks on the course. And in those pressure-packed moments, like Harrington’s 3-and-a-half foot putt to win the tournament, sometimes you just have to fake it.

 

“Going up to it, the greens were bumpy,” Harrington said. “They’re soft, lots of heel prints, I’m the last guy to putt on it. It’s downhill, it’s outside the hole. Everything you wouldn’t want from a short putt. Of course you don’t want to miss it in the spotlight, but I kept telling myself, ‘Every time I watch a guy win in a tournament he taps that putt in on 18 from 3-and-a-half feet.’ And I just had it in my head, ‘Well, that’s what’s going to happen today.’”

 

It’s easy to forget that professional golfers are real human beings with real thoughts running through their heads. Luckily, guys like Padraig Harrington are candid enough to share real insight on those thoughts from time to time.

 

The three-time major winner joined Irish talk show host Ray D’Arcy last week and said reading sports psychologist Dave Aldred’s book, ‘The Pressure Principle,’ helped keep him on an even-keel to win the Portugal Masters last month.

 

“The language, what you’re saying to yourself out there on the golf course, try not to make things so absolute,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of times golfers will think, ‘If I hit a golf ball out of bounds, I can’t win.’ That’s not true. … I hit four golf balls in the water (in Portugal). I three-putted three times. … I was very mindful of how I was stating things (in my head). What I saw from that was my physical posture change.”

 

That speaks to an overall mindset Harrington tries to maintain throughout every round.

 

“You don’t have to act like you own the place, but you’ve got to walk around and in your head, you’ve got to believe you’re the man,” Harrington said. “Your ego has to be there. … You don’t necessarily have to be obnoxious about it, but you’ve got to believe in yourself.”

 

You also have to change the way you think about things like luck.

 

“You have to remind yourself to smile. You have to remind yourself you’re lucky. If I hit it down the fairway on the first hole and it went in a divot, I could go, ‘Wow. I’m lucky it’s in a divot on the first hole and not the 72nd hole.’ … But you have to work on it.”

 

Anyone who has ever picked up a club knows that’s much easier said than done, but it’s a unique and interesting way to consider those bad breaks on the course. And in those pressure-packed moments, like Harrington’s 3-and-a-half foot putt to win the tournament, sometimes you just have to fake it.

 

“Going up to it, the greens were bumpy,” Harrington said. “They’re soft, lots of heel prints, I’m the last guy to putt on it. It’s downhill, it’s outside the hole. Everything you wouldn’t want from a short putt. Of course you don’t want to miss it in the spotlight, but I kept telling myself, ‘Every time I watch a guy win in a tournament he taps that putt in on 18 from 3-and-a-half feet.’ And I just had it in my head, ‘Well, that’s what’s going to happen today.’”

 

aid Harrington: “Most Europeans who have struggled in the U.S. have struggled because they’re lonely over there. It’s a very lonely place. … Everything’s so convenient. In the States you can get in your car, drive down the road, you can see a restaurant and you know exactly what experience you’re going to have in that restaurant and for what price. Everything about it you know, whereas in Europe, you better ask somebody where there’s a good restaurant because you could get a bad restaurant. You have to talk to people. We share cars in Europe. You stay in lovely, different hotels. In the States you could actually stay every week in the exact same room. Pick a Marriott, you could stay in the exact same-looking room every week of the year. It might be convenient, but it actually ends up as being very lonely.”

 

This is why we listen when Harrington speaks. He’s one of the funnier guys in professional golf, but throughout the laugh track there is usually some really interesting perspective from a real human being.

 

Padraig Harrington, pictured at the 2016 Scottish Open.