|Appointment: Thursday to Sunday 1-4 July Highlights on BBC One NI: Thursday 10:35 p.m. BST; Friday 10:45 p.m. Saturday and Saturday 10:30 p.m.|
Padraig Harrington believes his duties as European Ryder Cup captain are contributing to the resurgence he hopes to sustain at this week’s Irish Open at Mount Juliet in Kilkenny.
Harrington, 49, shared fourth place at the PGA Championship of the United States last month as Phil Mickelson, 50, became the oldest major winner in golf.
“Maybe the Ryder Cup is a good distraction,” said the Irish veteran.
“It means I can’t do as much training, which is probably not a bad thing.”
Speaking on the eve of his national open, a typically thoughtful Harrington said most Ryder Cup captains were “pretty much retired” when they took on the role.
“I’m kind of half and half – kinda waiting to hit this Champions Tour,” added the three-time major winner, who turns 50 on August 31.
“I almost live in two worlds. There’s a bit of me that plays golf and a bit of me that is all about the Ryder Cup.
“It’s working well right now. It’s really busy.”
“I can really take advantage of it and let it go”
Having won the Irish Open in 2007 when he triumphed at Adare Manor, Harrington says he can participate in this week’s event “with my chest swollen and really enjoy it and let it go.”
“In my golfing sense, because I won it, I don’t have to win it again.
“I know I’m playing a little better if I’m not that stressed out so you might as well work with that and enjoy whatever is going on with the event.”
As this week’s event plays out on a course in a park, the European Ryder Cup skipper believes he will be part of an ideal preparation for the Open Championship on the Royal St George’s routes in two weeks .
“I play the Renaissance [Club] at the Scottish Open next week which is good golf for links and there is no doubt in my head that the Open is coming in two weeks. Everything is designed for that. “
When asked if he could deliver another blow to the old Golf Brigade by triumphing at Sandwich, Harrington admitted that Mickelson’s sensational victory at Kiawah Island made him think another major title could be. possible.
“I have always taken pride in trying to do what other people wouldn’t think or try to do all my life.
“Phil winning and me knowing Phil and knowing Phil’s game in depth probably helps when you see someone else doing it, it makes it more real to you.
“Maybe there’s a bit of a crossover with Phil where I feel like it’s possible and you can do it.”