Sunday, 29 March 2009

Who says he's gonna settle for three in a row?

Us Irish sports fans had a nice little treat a week ago, as the Irish Rugby team led by BOD himself finally captured a famous Grand Slam victory in the Six Nations. It was a sweet moment perhaps all the sweeter for the fact that it hadn’t happened for the best part of 60 years and Ireland had been on the cusp of achieving it for the last ten only to be continually and cruelly denied. So having got one slam under their belt, Irish sports fans have got a taste for another one – “da paddy slam”.

When Tiger was away, Padraig was at play, popping a few more major titles on the mantelpiece and now he’s strolling into the Masters with the opportunity to become only the third man in history to win three in row. So unlike his compatriots with the oval ball, Padraig probably won’t have too many more cracks at a slam with his wee pimply one.

The thing about this audacious attempt is that strangely it does not seem such an unlikely event anymore. So impressive was Harrington in powering his way to his second Open victory, as was the calm calculated way in which he ripped the USPGA out from under the feet of Sergio last year – memories of both leave you with the feeling that if you were to see Padraig with a sniff of it come Sunday 12th, he’ll be popping a green jacket on.

It’s not like any of us really expected him to kick on after that first Major victory at Carnoustie. So rare had European victories become it was more likely to have been his moment in the sun; the highlight of a dogged determined golfer’s career. But then he has always been famed as one of the hardest workers in Golf and where others may have relaxed, Padraig used it as the spur to get better and used the confidence the win gave him to produce nerveless finishes down the final stretch.

The simple fact is, there is only one man out there you would have more faith in to bag a major these days, and that’s ol TW himself. And it’s not like there are not some encouraging reasons to think it may be on around Augusta.

Harrington has been regularly chalking up impressive putting stats on his Masters visits, if my memory serves me right, he was top of the putters on his first outing there. If he can back that putting game up with his improved long hitting then it could be Paddy looking to emulate TW’s patented Tiger slam soon.

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