Pádraig Harrington ‘an inspiration’ after his heroics in Florida

Fellow PGA Champion Keegan Bradley says Pádraig Harrington’s double Honda Classic success is inspirational to everyone competing on the PGA Tour.

Pádraig Harrington ‘an inspiration’ after his heroics in Florida

Harrington ended a seven-year victory drought earlier this week in capturing the Honda Classic in a play-off at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

Bradley won the PGA Championship in 2011 three years after Harrington and while he missed the cut last week the American with the strong Irish heritage was delighted for the Dubliner.

“I was really happy for Pádraig as he’s such a great guy and it was just great to see him win,” said Bradley.

“It’s a surprise he hadn’t won on the PGA Tour since winning his PGA Championship and I’m sure he has thought he would have won out here again before Monday but then it’s not easy to win out here as it’s such a fine line between winning and missing cuts. And his win is inspirational to all of us and it proves again a win out here can happen in any week and Pádraig’s victory gives a lot of us good hope.”

Harrington was in near tears during Monday’s presentation ceremony and revealed afterwards he shared dinner on the Sunday night at the local Thai Kabuku restaurant with Shane Lowry and Birr’s Stephen Grant, the former Shamrock Rovers winger now competing on mini tour’s in the States.

And Lowry, who returns to competition in this week’s $9.25m WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral, spoke fondly of his relationship with Harrington.

“I was playing golf in West Palm Beach on Sunday and we’d arranged to meet Pádraig for dinner that night but when we saw Pádraig’s score Stevie said to me: ‘Woah, he will want to go to dinner now’, and I said of course he will,” said Lowry.

“He never once talked about winning and just said he’d putted badly, missed a few short putts. But then we came come down here to Doral on Monday to practice, and all the way down the lads were texting me when Pádraig starting making four birdies in a row.

“We were in the bar here and you should have heard the roars from the two of us when he holed the putt on 18 to get into the playoff … because I couldn’t believe what he did on 17.

“And it’s now one of the best stories in quite a while. I played with him in Pebble Beach and he won’t mind me saying he wasn’t playing that great. He was driving it pretty poorly. He was getting it around the golf course. So to go and win a on a golf course as tough as that really shows some character.

“We are all so happy for Pádraig and the win meant a lot more to Pá.

“I know it’d have meant a lot to (Daniel) Berger because it’s in his home place but it means much more to Pádraig’s career than it does for his.

“It is career-changing, fantastic. Pádraig’s been great to me, just hanging out with him. I mean, just hanging out with someone like Pádraig Harrington! I’m just lucky I’m from Ireland and get to hang out with Pádraig, Graeme and Rory, there’s three of the best golfers that have played the game in the last 20 years!

“And with the rugby team beating England on Sunday, it’s nice being a Paddy!”

World No.1 Rory McIlroy bounced back to his winning ways capturing Monday’s Seminole Golf Club ‘Pro-Member’ outing at Juno Beach in Florida by two shots with a sizzling nine under par 63.

McIlroy and Seminole playing partner Jim Pinkham combined also the win the team event with a net 61.

Fellow four-time Major winner Ernie Els, who played in the same group as McIlroy, remarked: “Rory was just on fire and it was an effortless 63.”

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