Pádraig Harrington is pictured at the unveiling of the new Development Plan from the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI). Andreas Poveda
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Pádraig Harrington: 'I'm not going into TV commentary just yet'

Ireland’s most successful golfer on his quest to reach the 2014 Ryder Cup from his current world ranking low of 206.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON DROPPED out of the world’s top 200 golfers, on Monday, for the first time since 1996. The three-time Major winner’s run of consecutive weeks in the top 200 was 938. That is 23 weeks longer than Tiger Woods.

Harrington is currently ranked as 206th in the world but he still harbours ambitions of making Team Europe, for what would be his seventh Ryder Cup, at Gleneagles in September.

The Dubliner, who helped launch the Confederation of Golf in Ireland on Tuesday, is back from his latest stint on the PGA Tour. While his ranking peaked at 47 last year, 2014 has seen him miss six cuts from 10 events, with 27th at the AT&T [Pebble Beach] his only finish of note.

“I would feel good about my game but I’ve played quite poorly over the last couple of weeks,” he said. “I’m still happy enough with what I’m doing; I just need to stay patient and do what I’m doing. I need to putt a bit better; I’ve changed a few things with that. I’m just waiting for the right things to fall into place and, once they fall into place, it’s happy days and everything is forgotten.

I am frustrated but it ain’t going to win the battle. I’m going to win it. I love playing the game so I’m not going into TV commentary just yet.”

For all of his optimism, most followers of golf would say Harrington has a better chance of joining Colin Montgomerie in the Sky Sports commentary booth at Gleneagles than being part of Team Europe. Harrington, however, points out that he has previous when it comes to late Ryder Cup charges.

“Is it a realistic target?” he mused. “There’s really only one way for me to make it into the Ryder Cup at this stage and that is winning a Major. That is the simplest [way]. The goals I have for my own game take care of the Ryder Cup.

“I’m not going to get into the [team] by getting top 10 finishes. It isn’t a points gathering competition for me. At this stage, for me, it is to win big. Win so big that I can’t be ignored, either in the points system or the [wildcard] picking. Finishing eighth next week isn’t going to cut it, while it would be a nice performance by me, I’ve got to win it. I’ve got to really set the place alight between now and the cup to get into it. It’s a tall ask but it is not impossible.”

Ryder Cup Golf Harrington was part of the 2010 European team that avenged 2008's defeat on U.S soil. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

He added, “I’m not too far behind the position I was at in 2008, at this stage. I was well out of the team before I won The Open.” When Harrington is reminded that he won the USPGA a month later, he jokes that his third Major win was a nice way to rubber-stamp his selection.

2008, and his elevation to multiple Major winner, must have seemed a lifetime away at the weekend as he packed his bags for home following a second round of 78. “You get into ebbs and flows and when you’re on the downside, nothing falls into place,” he said.

You don’t sort of show up, you’re having a bad hole and you chip in. You see a guy who is on a roll, he’s having a bad hole and he chips in for his par or his bogey. I’d be the one who would chip it and two-putt if for a ’7′. Nothing is falling into place; I’m not getting away with anything.”

Harrington points out that the Zurich Classic, in late April, was the first time in six events that he we was not dicing with a missed cut. “The first 16 holes in the first round, last week, [when I was 3-under], I got away with everything. It was great stuff, I was on a wing and a prayer. But, again, I put myself… I was in seventh place but the spread is so tight in the States that I’m looking at the leaderboard and, two holes later, I’m looking at the cut line… If things were going well for me, I wouldn’t be looking over my shoulder… I just can’t get away from it.”

The tightness of the field, Stateside, has dumbfounded the Irishman. He recalls the Valspar Classic, in Tampa, back in March when nine shots separated the leader to the worst performer in a field of 144 competitors. There is no margin for error. Golfs leading lights, as Phil Mickelson noted at the weekend, are ‘a touch off’ at present and the young, and old, pretenders are winning tournaments. “Shockingly tight,” Harrington calls it.

CGI Launch 04 Harrington is pictured with John Roche, director of golf with CGI, Redmond O’Donoghue, chairman of CGI, and the Brown family Des and Paivi, son Henry and daughter Anna from Knocklyon in Dublin. Andres Poveda Andres Poveda

Harrington will sit out this weekend’s Players Championship at Sawgrass but has committed to returning to America to compete in the Byron Nelson Championship the following week. Described by CBS as ‘the tinkerer of swings’, golf fans may wonder what tweak or innovation [be it weight gain or electrode-pulsing caps] Harrington will pull out next in his quest for perfection.

“I’m always changing,” he remarked. “Every day; all the time. I’m continually trying to change things. There’s always some experiment going on. I was at home doing something three weeks ago. I’m home doing something this week and, when I’m doing it, I think ‘this is the answer’… I’m at my happiest when I’m trying to find out how I can get back to what works. For sure, there is always a new strategy or a new plan.”

He added, “I’m not like I’m leaving any stones unturned for the answer. I’m enthusiastic that I will find the answer. I might not have been too enthusiastic, if you had met me, after I finished bogey, bogey on Thursday night [at Quail Hollow]. I’m enthusiastic but I’ll be that way when I get back on the horse and back on the range.

“I hit shots in the dark on Monday night, I did it on Tuesday night. It’s not dark but twilight. The kids would be gone to bed at that stage so out you go.”

For more on the newly formed CGI, its key objectives and Development Plan for 2014-2020 you can visit

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