Padraig Harrington has admitted he is still struggling to come to terms with his astonishing recent success.
Harrington has won the last two major championships, becoming the first European to successfully defend The Open Championship since 1906 at Birkdale and following that with victory in the USPGA Championship at Oakland Hills.
With three major titles to his name, the Dubliner is still a long way from catching the injured Tiger Woods (14) or Jack Nicklaus (18), but he has surpassed the achievements of European greats Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal.
“When I look at the guys who I put up on a pedestal as I was growing up, now I have more majors than them and it startles me a bit and shocks me a bit,” said Harrington.
“I wouldn’t necessarily feel that comfortable as maybe I should in that sort of situation. I’ve won more majors than those guys and they were my heroes. That’s a hard one. That’s probably the toughest one to get to grips with.
“If I was to catch Seve (Ballesteros) at five or Nick (Faldo) at six, it would be something that I’d have to get my head around and that’s going to be one of the tasks; to believe it and to go ahead and do it.”
Even Ballesteros and Faldo failed to win more than two different major titles - Ballesteros claiming three Opens and two US Masters, Faldo three of each – and Harrington admits: “A Grand Slam is a different kettle of fish.
“I’ve won two of the four. Yes, if I was going to win another major, I would like it to be one of the other two, but I’m not going to be picky.
“I’ll settle for just winning The Open every year. That would do okay.”
Harrington has not played since winning only half a point for the second Ryder Cup in succession and admitted he is tired after an exhausting season.
But he insisted nothing would have stopped him from attempting to win a third Dunhill Links Championship this week in Scotland, a victory that would almost certainly see him end the year as European number one again.
“I would be better off with a break but I would never not be here. I’d crawl over to this tournament,” added Harrington, whose only other counting event towards the Order of Merit will be the season-ending Volvo Masters at Valderrama.
“This is a week that I really do enjoy. The golf courses (St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie) are set up very well for me.
“These really suit me while Valderrama doesn’t necessarily suit me. So if I want to win the Order of Merit, it’s got to be this week to perform.”