Padraig Harrington, two-time winner of the Dunhill Links Championship, has arrived in Scotland with high hopes of topping the European Tour Order of Merit despite suffering from fatigue.
After Lee Westwood closed the gap at the top of the Money List last week, with his second place at the British Masters, the Irishman is by no means assured the title of European No.1.
But with his Ryder Cup disappointment behind him, the British Open and PGA champion, is in good spirits going into Thursdays event.
I always look forward to this tournament. This is my first tournament back in Europe since I won the PGA; since I won the two Majors, he said.
It’s nice to come back and get a lot of congratulations from players and the caddies and different people involved with the Tour. It’s a very nice atmosphere for me to come back to.
I obviously like playing links golf. I like the three courses we play here, all different, but very good in their own right, distinctly different. Ive got a very good partner this week. So everything about this week is ideal for me.
However, a demanding schedule, albeit successful one, has taken its toll on the 2006 Order of Merit champion and he admits to looking forward to the end of the season.
I am fatigued. I’m looking forward to eight weeks off during the winter; to getting some practice and gym work in. I haven’t practiced in three days since the end of last week. I haven’t practiced since before the Open. It’s been a good couple of months really where I haven’t put in any concerted work on my game.
But there was never a doubt that hed made the event that he won in 2002 and 2006, especially with the Order of Merit on the line and with tournaments running out.
I’ve got two tournaments left, this and the Volvo Masters. I think I’ve got to play really well in one of them in order to win this Order of Merit. I want to make sure, obviously if I can win one of the two events, I think that more or less guarantees me the Order of Merit.
I’d crawl over to this tournament, he said. This is one of the most enjoyable tournaments of the year and one of my best opportunities of the year to win. I’m not 100% ready.
I really only get 100% ready for the four Majors. Every other tournament outside of that, there are some sacrifices to be made and you’re not exactly on form, but you try and peak at those four Major tournaments.
The two previous wins at the Dunhill Championship have also been cited as a factor in Harringtons rise to the top and Open success.
The win in 2002 was a big win for me. It came at a very appropriate time and definitely I needed a boost to my career.
I think with hindsight, I’m a better player on links golf and that’s why I’ve won two of these and two Opens.
I think that’s just a fact of the way I was brought up playing golf; that I’ve done well on links golf courses. The fact I play links golf the week before the Open helps in winning the Open.
Current European Tour Order of Merit Standings (Top-10)
1 Padraig Harrington 2,350,556
2 Lee Westwood 2,122,239
3 Robert Karlsson 1,994,436
4 Miguel Angel Jimenez 1,990,609
5 Henrik Stenson 1,773,617
6 Graeme McDowell 1,714,882
7 Vijay Singh 1,632,384
8 Ross Fisher 1,320,740
9 Oliver Wilson 1,227,711
10 Jeev Milkha Singh 1,138,015
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage