Pádraig’s positive thinking

Pádraig Harrington didn’t allow himself to plumb the depths of despair during what he admits was the worst year of his career in 2014.

Pádraig’s positive thinking

How he kept his sanity is something all handicap golfers could learn from and they’ll get that chance to ask him when he puts on a charity clinic — “An Evening with Pádraig Harrington” — at The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on January 20.

All the proceeds will be split between his charitable foundation and the ISPCC with Ticketmaster waiving their fees for the €45-a-ticket chance to pick up some pearls of wisdom from the three-time Major winner.

How he battled through the season in which he failed to qualify for the Masters or the US Open, lost his PGA Tour card, slithered 206 places to 337th in the world, failed to qualify for the European Tour’s Final Series and missed a career record 13 cuts, is something only Harrington can explain.

“You have to be active in being upbeat, in smiling, in believing you’re lucky,” he said at The Gaiety yesterday, still hopeful that he can win one of the three events he’ll play before Christmas on the PGA Tour and in Asia.

“All these things are very important on the golf course.

“You never want to get sullen, you never want to be looking down at your feet, hands on your hips… The sub-conscious mind takes everything as black and white so if you’re smiling, it believes you’re happy.

“I have mantras about being myself, being happy, being lucky, staying optimistic.

“I have one called LOCH – it stands for Lucky, Optimistic, Carefree, Happy. I have lots of those little things. You have to remind yourself to stay upbeat.”

A recent resurgence in his putting has Harrington feeling optimistic about his chances of winning a seventh Ryder Cup cap at Hazeltine in 2016.

He’d love to be captain himself one day but he believes Darren Clarke should get the job next time.

“I would have to say I am supporting Darren, absolutely,” said Harrington, who’s prepared to wait for a chance to captain. “I think he deserves it. He’s been a big star in Europe for a long number of years, he’s done a lot for European golf through the end of the 90s, early 2000s and I think he’ll do a good job.”

Harrington, still just 43, sees brighter days ahead thanks to the improvement in his putting. It wouldn’t be hard after 2014.

“Terrible,” he said of his season. “Didn’t perform well at all. Most weeks I got the worst out of the week rather than the best out of the week… That’s relatively easy to change now that I am starting to putt better.

“But performance-wise, it was the worst performance I’ve had in my career, no doubt about it.

“I can go back to 2012 and that might have been a bit more disappointing because I played the best golf of my career and putted the worst, there was a big disparity in my game that year. I didn’t think I could get worse than 2013 but I did — 2014.”

Looking on the bright side, he’s regained his trust in reading his putts

“I am putting lovely,” he said of recent form that has brought little in terms of results but a lot in terms of confidence.

“I am, touch wood, five rounds without a three-putt; which I probably haven’t done since 2011.”

The key?

“I went from thinking I was having trouble reading greens to saying to myself that I would never ask anyone else to read a 10-foot putt to win a tournament. So ultimately, whether I get it right or wrong, I’m my own boss and I will do it right more often than not.”

Battling high expectations is a problem the three-time major winner has to resolve but he’s got no end of theories and tips on how to play the game and can’t wait to share them on January 20.

“Look, I love the game of golf,” he said. “This is why I am doing the clinics. I want to tell everybody about the game.”

Joking, he added: “In the past I’ve charged six figures for this! I wouldn’t be charging six figures now but anyone who turns up at this, I’d be shocked if they’re not blown away by what they learn.

“Whether they’ve played golf before, a beginner or an elite player, they’ll improve their knowledge of golf, and be motivated and excited about going to play golf.

“Last time I did this, it took me six weeks to recover I got so buzzed.”

Tickets for “An Evening with Pádraig Harrington” from €45, go on sale from 9am Monday, Nov 3 from Ticketmaster. Tel: 0818 719 30024. www.ticketmaster.ie

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