I’m ready to play best golf of my career, says bullish Harrington

The masters should look out. The game's forgotten champion believes he is about to play the finest golf of his career and is ready to remind everyone of his major qualities at Augusta next week.

Padraig Harrington has a seven-under total here at the Shell Houston Open to back his claims. Doubtless the eyeballs will roll at this statement from the Irishman, who has made a habit of uttering the baffling. The latest is that, regardless of the three major titles he won in the 13 months from the 2007 Open, only now will his purple patch begin.

"I possibly am golf's forgotten man but that's not a bad thing because I believe I'm going to play the best golf of my career going forward," said Harrington, who turns 40 in August. "I've had a lot of closure in the understanding of my game recently. This is the best place I've been in the last 20 years."

A 69 left Harrington two off the early second-round pace set by Chris Kirk. After five birdies on his outward half (he started on the 10th) he admitted "falling asleep" with three consecutive bogeys. No matter, an eagle on his penultimate hole awoke him. A driver, five-iron to 15 feet and his renowned putting stroke did the rest. Harrington has won only one top-flight title since the USPGA in 2008, but the mojo is clearly back. The question must be: is the consistency?

The next two days will be telling. As they will for Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood. Last year's one and two at Augusta went head-to-head again over the first rounds and with a 70 and a 72 respectively go into today's third round level on four-under. They both had to bow to the brilliance of the other member of their group, Anthony Kim. The defending champion's 64 hauled him to eight-under.

It will take a big effort for either Mickelson or Westwood to prevail, but both have greater motivation that a mere Masters tune-out. Westwood needs a top two finish to replace Martin Kaymer as world No 1, while all Mickelson needs to top Tiger Woods in the rankings for the first time in 14 years is a top-36 finish.

Woods is already aware he will no longer be rated a top-five golfer. England's Paul Casey is guaranteed to leapfrog above him and Europe must now wait to see if for the first time in the 25-year history of the rankings they will boast the top five in the world.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links