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The Rugby World Cup reminded Pádraig Harrington of the dangers of peaking too soon

The three-time major winner was speaking today in Dublin.

Image: Tony Dejak

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON IS heading into a nine-week break from competitive golf, which he insists will be crucial in determining how successful he can be in 2016.

Speaking today at the Web Summit at the RDS, Harrington said he’s keen to be involved in both the Olympics and the Ryder Cup next year.

However, having endured a largely disappointing 2015 — in spite of a victory at The Honda Classic in Florida back in March — the three-time major winner knows that he’ll need to be successful in the majors if he’s to have any chance of making either team.

“This nine-week period, it’s such a big part of my year. I’m very focused on what I’ll be doing over these nine weeks. This will hugely determine how I’ll perform next year,” said Harrington, who’s planning to return for the Sony Open in Hawaii on 14 January.

“It’s very much about getting a good handle on this nine weeks. I can’t afford to get this break wrong because I’ll lose another year and I don’t want to lose another year. I want to be competitive next year.”

Harrington also discussed the importance of consistency, pointing out that examples of the dangers of peaking too soon were illustrated recently at the Rugby World Cup.

“I want to plateau for the year. I know that sounds like a long period of time, so maybe a couple of times a year. My year is totally judged on how I do in the majors, no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, peaking can be very dangerous,” Harrington explained.

“You can look at the recent Rugby World Cup; every team that peaked seemed to lose the game afterwards. It’s a dangerous thing, to try and get yourself to peak, unless you’re an Olympic athlete which comes around every four years. Mostly, athletes are talking about trying to sustain themselves.”

The 44-year-old Dubliner also discussed the changing landscape of golf, with younger players like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler now leading the way.

“Certainly, the younger guys are winning without the experience. Twenty years ago, you could afford to be patient on a Thursday. Now it’s a charge right out of the gates.”

Harrington joked: “It’s hard to compete against these young guys. They don’t respect their elders anymore.”

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Paul Dollery

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