Pádraig Harrington embarks on a 19th full season in the professional ranks at the Volvo Champions event in Durban this week bidding to recapture former glories.
Like the majority in the elite 36-player field, Harrington could not have wished for a better format to begin a new season than the no-cut and guaranteed prizemoney tournament.
“This is a great event to come to as you’re guaranteed four rounds of competitive golf and the opportunity of basically finding where your game is. It’d be nice to play well but at the end the week, you’d like to have a semblance of getting your game back to where it maybe was at the end of last year.
“I hit the ball as well as I could at the end of last year. I was hitting the ball quite nicely when I practiced up at Sun City but so far this week my alignments are all out. I’m all askew. You could stand on a range and you’ll adjust your alignment and hit the shot over and over but it’s only when you get on the golf course that you’ll see the difference.”
Harrington’s spiral down the rankings means he has set himself new targets in 2014 as he attempts to regain his status as one of the game’s top stars. He is currently 134 in the standings.
“I used to go into a new year with a New Year’s resolution but now it’s pretty straightforward and that’s just go and win. There’s other secondary issues. I could do a lot with moving up into the top-50 in the world and I need to have a very big year to make the Ryder Cup team. Also, I’m not in Augusta and I’m not in the US Open so it’s going to be a tough year to get my number of events up on both tours. I have to play an awful lot because I’m not into the Accenture Matchplay and the Cadillac at Doral. It’s the first time ever I’ve faced this situation since I became a member of both Tours and that was back in 2005.”
Joining Harrington this week along the shores of the Indian Ocean are Darren Clarke and Michael Hoey.
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