‘I think I can do it’

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‘I think I can do it’
Alex Livie

Padraig Harrington will tee it up in the Open Championship on Thursday at the age of 50, but has not given up hope of picking up his third Claret Jug.

It was 14 years ago that Harrington won the most recent of his three majors, the US PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. That followed an Open win at Royal Birkdale earlier in 2008, as the Irishman dominated golf.

His passion for the game is as strong as ever, but there are only certain courses he can compete on as he lags behind the younger players in terms of length.

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However, Phil Mickelson won the US PGA at the age of 50 in 2021, the legendary Tom Watson came close to winning an Open at the age of 59 in 2009 – and Harrington is taking heart from those displays.

Links golf is suited to Harrington’s style of play, and he feels he can contend on the Old Course next week.

Harrington said: “If I could win an Open at the home of golf – I won’t say I’d retire because I wouldn’t – but it is that sort of feeling that you’ve accomplished everything you could in Open golf, to win at the home of golf.

“I don’t have a barrier of 50 years of age. In my head the only barrier I have to winning tournaments is a little bit of nerves, how I manage my mental side. So, it’s not a physical side that’s an issue.

“Every time I tee it up I think it’s going to be the week, I think I can do it, and it’s probably – at my stage – a little easier to win a major than it is to win a regular event because everybody else is going to be feeling it as well.

“Tom Watson proved that it’s certainly possible. I’m sure there’s been others. Phil has done it.

“Obviously when it comes to a Links golf course, it’s even more of a chance, St Andrews too.”

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Despite looking forward to the 150th Open, Harrington expects a tough test.

“They’re going to protect that golf course,” he said. “It will be a very trying week mentally – very, very trying.

The weather is set fair for the week and amid suggestions from Jordan Spieth that it could be too easy, Harrington expects officials to use every trick at their disposal to make life tough for the players.

“Those pin positions are going to be difficult because nobody wants to see the home of golf with particularly low scores,” Harrington said. “There are literally acres of greens.

“They’re going to pick some pin positions that look like, wow, I didn’t even realise there was a green over there! They’re going to mix and match them.

“They’re going to really put it up to us and use the imagination of the golf course.”

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