Testing times these for Padraig Harrington. Under the spotlight at the start of last year’s Open due to a dodgy wrist injury, the Irishman’s shocking run of form has handed eager critics plenty to mull over as he aims for his third consecutive helping of the famous Claret Jug.

Behind the scenes at Turnberry, Harrington has looked jovial and content in practice, although there was a severe look of dejection when the BBC cameras interviewed him prior to his first round. Trying to remain positive, I think was the message…

Taking the opportunity to follow his path on Thursday, where he was paired with former US Open Champions Geoff Ogilvy and Jim Furyk, there was a sense though that Paddy’s game may be running into some form just at the right time.

His driving was steady if unspectacular, and his short game superb. Sporadic would sum up his approach play, but slowly, all the pieces seem to be coming together.

Whether it is of any help being paired with such star quality, the standard of golf from the trio of Major winners certainly dazzled the crowds, and on the front nine, Harrington’s trademark grin continued to cut across his face, even when he didn’t get the luck his play at times deserved.

Ogilvy, despite having a shocker in a bunker on the par-3 6th, look to have his game in shape for the week, and could seriously threaten.

He remains my pick for the week, although I may have a change of heart tomorrow. Hopefully Harrington will still be fighting his corner, too…

Where next?

More Golf Monthly blogs
Blogs from the Open Championship
New equipment reviews
Peter Thomson interview