THE opportunity to turn a disappointing season into a great year will be all the motivation Pádraig Harrington needs as he bids to leapfrog Tiger Woods on the way to season-ending FedEx Cup riches in America this week.
Harrington heads into the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, having vaulted to sixth place in the FedEx Cup standings with five top-10 finishes in his last five starts. All each of the top five above him in the standings, led by world number one Woods, need to do is win the $1.35 million (€900,000) tournament to be guaranteed the winner of the FedEx Cup and with it a $10m (€6.7m) bonus.
Harrington, meanwhile, must win and hope Woods finishes third or worse. But after such a poor start to 2009 as he sought to implement swing changes in the wake of his Open and US PGA victories last year, the Irishman said he was just looking for a victory to round off his end-of-year rebound.
“Obviously I could turn around a year, really, this week,” said Harrington, who missed six halfway cuts in his first 13 US starts this year.
“The last couple of weeks have been good. I’ve been pushing for a win, and obviously this would be a big week to get that win. We’ve turned what was less than an average year up until, say, August into a great year.”
Despite not winning a major for only the third season in a 13-year professional career, Woods said those victories in his first campaign back from an eight-month absence due to reconstructive knee surgery were a testament to his consistency.
Meanwhile Harrington has agreed to compete in next month’s Portugal Masters. “I have always enjoyed my time there and it is one of those destinations where we are always presented with a great golf course,” the Dubliner said.
The tournament, which offers prize money of €3m will be held at the Oceanico Victoria course in Vilamoura from October 15-18.
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