I’ve just sat in on defending champ, Padraig Harrington’s, first press conference since arriving at Birkdale, and can report that he looks relaxed and in a good frame of mind ahead of his title defence. Talking of which, he’s trying not to think of it too much in those terms, and rather than getting bogged down thinking about putting up a stout defence, he wants to approach it as another distinctly separate major in its own right – if you get the difference. I did just now as he was saying it but I’m not sure I’ve conveyed it wonderfully well here! He talked extensively about the very fine line between success and failure, and the need to avoid viewing things in such black and white terms.

Far better, according to Padraig, to focus on how well you’re sticking to the processes and tasks you’ve set yourself. Do that well, and you should then – almost indirectly – start getting the results you crave. Sounds like a few sessions on the Rotella couch to me! Anyway, he’s right, and how much better would we all play if we were less concerned with achieving a specific outcome before we’ve hit the first tee shot. I expect the Irishman to put up a good showing this week, especially as he comes into the event hot on the heels of another success in the Irish PGA played over the testing Wicklow links at The European Club last week. He saw off the challenge of a rejuvenated Philip Walton there in testing conditions that will perhaps have provided better preparation for Birkdale than Loch Lomond. Walton, incidentally, is also at Birkdale this week after winning the Local Final Qualifier at West Lancs by three shots.

No mention in this press conference of the wrist injury Harrington sustained at the Irish PGA, so I’m not quite sure what the full story is there. I will endeavour to find out…