Of course one player who will be hoping the weather turns the nasty side of brilliant is defending champion Padraig Harrington. Padraig is that rarest of beasts, a star who tends not to act like a star. Personable and amiable, intelligent and aware, he fits into that ‘decent bloke’ mould perfectly. He has his flaws naturally, stubbornness once he gets an idea into his head being one of them, sidestepping the PGA Championship at Wentworth another, but he is approaching this Open with what appears to be the correct attitude.
Last year in Southport he deflected attention on his then defence by playing up a wrist injury and thus playing down his chances of victory. He likes to fly in under the radar and though this is no longer possible it is still what he will try to do.
Like all the other main contenders he has not played Turnberry much. For Padraig the first time was in late May and, apparently, he was not disappointed. “It’s a super course. It’s lived up to my expectations,” he said before briefly analysing the challenge now to be laid before him. “There are not a huge amount of opportunities out there, but a lot of steady holes with difficult par threes.
“From what I’ve seen on television and hearing what other people had to say I knew it was a great course and I really like what I see. I am well aware that Peter Thomson was the last man to win three Opens on the bounce but I feel that I’ll be in with a chance because I have control over my own preparation and if I get that right then I can be in contention.”
While Harrington is already assured of a seat at the game’s top table after winning three Majors in fewer years, a hat-trick of Opens would move him closer towards the epicentre of this elite dining group. Can he do it? Of course he can. Will he do it? That is less likely for apart from a growing group of younger rivals there is the renewed and reinvigorated presence of Tiger Woods to consider.