“I’m not joking with this: I would prefer to win here than finish second at a PGA Tour event. You know, winning is winning, there’s something about it,”
Padraig Harrington insisted prior to the start of Constellation Furyk and Friends.
It’s not the trophy Harrington wants. It’s not even the money. It’s the feeling winning brings. It’s the adrenaline rush before the victory and the satisfaction afterward. The only way to get it again is to win one more time.
“It’s a nice place with your golf when you’re going into Sundays with a chance of winning,” he added. “You know the pressure’s on, you know you’re alive and it’s exciting.”
Getting that feeling is what drives most golfers over 50 to play PGA Tour Champions. It’s probably what drives Tom Brady to come back for another season. Or as I always say when people ask why older professional golfers keep playing: Nobody applauds when they walk across the living room.
"“The fact of the matter is putting yourself under pressure out there and having to hit the shots when people are watching, when it counts, is what’s exciting.” “If somebody tells me ‘well done’ for finishing 17th last week, I’m raging with them.” – Padraig Harrington"
Since joining PGA Tour Champions a year ago, Padraig Harrington has won three times.
Yet it seems like he still approaches it hungrily; like he’s never seen the victory circle.
He gets no enjoyment from a 20th-place finish. Or a 10th. You can tell by the way he talks about it that he’s not interested in middle-of-the-pack finishes. Don’t congratulate him with a nice finish comment unless he won.
“If somebody tells me ‘well done’ for finishing 17th last week, I’m raging with them,” he admitted.
However, as a first-year on PGA Tour Champions, he is pleased with his performance.
“I hoped for this. There’s no doubt about it,” Padraig Harrington said about his debut season.
"“It but it has been everything I wanted. I’m saying I set my standards and hopes quitehigh, so it has lived up to that.”"
And winning, he thinks, has given him a better chance to win again on the PGA Tour. According to Harrington, one of the hardest things is to consistently have a chance to win tournaments, to hang around at the top of leaderboards with a chance for victory.
“You need to be in contention a lot to improve as a player,” he noted.
Padraig Harrington is still trying to win another time on the PGA Tour, preferably before April because that would get him into the Masters.
He’s already in the U.S. Open because he won the U.S. Senior Open. As a past champion, he can still play the PGA. And similarly, as a past champ, he can play in the British Open.
Winning on PGA Tour Champions, he thinks, has made him sharper for PGA Tour events when he does play them. He has five victories that count on the PGA Tour, but three of them are majors, one isn’t played anymore, and the remaining one is The Honda Classic. It’s possible he could get a sponsor exemption as a past champ.
What Padraig Harrington has learned on PGA Tour Champions, he thinks, can help him win on the PGA Tour.
"“Being on the Champions Tour has helped me, not realize, I always realized it, but ithas helped me commit more to being — realizing that how I’m thinking is much moreimportant than how I’m swinging a golf club.”"
PGA Tour Champions, he thinks, gives the 50+ set a second wind, a second chance.
“We can walk around and pretend that, you know, remember the past in some ways and pretend that we’re the same and as good and really enjoy the idea of trying to win and hit a great shot when it’s needed,” Harrington said.
For this week, he’s focused on overcoming Timuquana CC and 78 other players. Then he will look ahead to the rest of the season with an emphasis on winning the Schwab Cup.