To complete the hat-trick, Harrington will have to win over an Ailsa course on which he’d never set foot until Wilson Staff’s now-annual media day in May, despite its relative proximity to his Dublin home. He explains that as an amateur he was so busy competing  he simply had to focus on the golf courses he would be playing. “As a kid I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford the green fee,” he adds by way of a reminder that the Harrington bank balance hasn’t always been in quite such rude health. When I suggest lack of course knowledge might prove a hindrance come July, he counters me firmly but politely, “I don’t think there’s anybody who’s played this golf course competitively that’s going to be in contention. So there’s no disadvantage there.”

Preparation for the last two Opens has followed a fairly set formula – the advance course recce in May, then competitive outings in the two preceding weeks, including the quieter backwaters of the Irish PGA at The European Club rather than the high-profile Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. Given that this plan has borne such tasty fruit, Harrington is understandably adopting a similar approach this year. He also happened to win both those Irish PGAs, and although anxious to avoid the word ‘superstitious’ admits, “it is ritual and indeed essential to me now. It’s great that I can say it’s essential to me and yet nobody else does it!” Most, of course, can’t because they’re not members of the Irish PGA. But playing links golf the week before The Open makes perfect sense, and Harrington is quick to say that if the Scottish Open were to return to the coast, he would play in that. For now, though, the Irish PGA provides his perfect links warm-up. “It works well because it is a relatively low-key event,” he agrees. “I know I’m going to be in contention and that helps you stay a bit more patient. The hardest thing in professional golf is that on days when things aren’t quite going for you, you think you have to really push on. Sometimes you push too hard and it doesn’t happen. But I know that as long as I don’t lose the head I’m going to be in contention there – so just stick with it and you’re going to have a great chance of winning. That’s more like the attitude to have in a Major because I know in Majors the scoring won’t be as good as in normal events, so it should be easier to stay patient and hang in there.”

But despite his schedule working so well, there are some concerns about building absolutely everything around golf’s four big ones. “There is a little bit of an issue,” Harrington concedes. “Why have such an emphasis on four Majors? I should have an emphasis on everything. What some of the guys in my team have been saying is that I’m damaging some of my ability to win the Majors by not taking a domineering position in regular events. If you don’t scare the opposition in a regular event, how can you expect to do it in a Major? They feel that I’ve let that go a bit. After I won the USPGA last year, there would have been a lot of guys that wouldn’t have necessarily wanted to be coming down the stretch with me, but six months later I’m not intimidating too many people.”