Harrington hones method of finding trouble-free swing

Things are a little different at the Dunhill Links Championship, a pro-am event played over three courses, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and the Old Course. While spectators will be admitted free for the first three days, one punter has paid more than £8,500 to be allowed to play alongside the professionals inside the ropes.

The fee forked out by an Irish-born businessman from Atlanta, Georgia will go to a charity helping to restore historic buildings and monuments in this ancient university town. Nothing sums up the tournament better.

Great fun, we are told constantly, for the pros and the amateurs, but completely unwatchable as the celebrities, anonymous in woolly hats and waterproofs, take six hours over their rounds. At least, the amateurs have been told in no uncertain terms to pick up if they are out of a hole.

The serious element is that there is an enormous pot on offer to the professionals, with £490,000 to the winner. With the top eight on the order of merit present, the field is strong and those trailing behind Ernie Els, £350,000 ahead of Darren Clarke at the top of the list, could do with a victory to mount a challenge in the closing weeks of the season.

In terms of the Ryder Cup qualifying, it is still early days but a sizeable cheque even at this stage could help a lot. Europeans have hardly covered themselves in glory in the last few weeks with the first three qualifying events won by South Africa's Els and Retief Goosen, and K J Choi, of Korea.

Padraig Harrington, who has not won since May, is the defending champion and bamboozled his audience yesterday over whether it was better to practise like a madman during the week of a tournament, the Irishman's usual modus operandi, or to saunter up to the first tee with barely one creaking warm-up swing, which is how the couple of golf writers who have been invited to observe the action from rather closer quarters than usual will doubtless prepare this morning.

A year ago, Harrington arrived here straight from the Ryder Cup and, like his team-mates, was in no fit state to go to the driving range. "It might work one week but can you do it again?" Harrington queried. "Up to now I've been obsessed with how I'm swinging the club to the detriment of individual tournaments. The whole intention is that in time I will be like Colin Montgomerie in having a low-maintenance swing."

It is to be hoped that Harrington is referring to the old Monty and not the Scot's highly variable swing of this season. But there is a cunning plan involving the Dubliner's wife and baby son, Patrick. "My wife will laugh at this but the idea is if I do the work now, I won't have to as the family grows up and I won't have as much time."

Shaun Micheel, the latest unlikely major winner at the USPGA, has only ever seen links golf at the end of a cathode ray tube, so this week represents a huge learning experience. "I've watched the Open on TV probably every year but it is hard to appreciate this type of golf until you get on the first tee," said the likeable American, who is accompanied by his father, Buck. "Carnoustie really beat me up yesterday. I'm used to hitting the ball and seeing where it lands. Here you are aiming at bunkers, gorse, cranes, clocks. It's just different golf for me. It's fun."

Micheel's life has become so busy that after two weeks at home he was looking forward to getting back on the road. He will return to Britain for the World Match Play at Wentworth but his most bizarre decision was whether he would appear in Playgirl. "Look at me, that's not going to happen," he said.

News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
business
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?