As of Saturday, Padraig Harrington was all set to play the BMW Masters in Shanghai this week. But after British Open champion Ernie Els withdrew from the PGA Grand Slam of Golf because of an ankle injury, Harrington (pictured) agreed to fill in.
Turns out, Els couldn’t have done better himself.
“Even if I finish fourth here, I’d be quite confident that I made the right decision to come here,” Harrington told reporters after shooting a 9-under 133 Wednesday at Port Royal in Bermuda to best a four-man field that included U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Masters champion Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley (who filled in for PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy).
For Harrington, the third time was a charm after coming up short in two prior tries at the 36-hole event that typically features the year’s major champions.
“It was unfinished business for me, having lost in two playoffs, it was nice to come back and win it now,” Harrington said. “Yeah, it feels good. I haven’t won in a while, so you know, it’s nice; winning is a habit and it’s nice to do it.”
A three-time major champion, Harrington’s last official triumph was at the Johor Open on the Asian Tour in 2010. The Irishman snapped his two-year slump by shooting a four-under 67 to beat Simpson by one stroke.
“It’s very important to win — there’s no doubt about it,” Harrington said. “It’s exactly like any Sunday. You know you don’t want to mess up and yet you still have to play some good golf.”
Harrington, who earned $600,000 with the win, is hoping to build on the success heading into the upcoming year.
“I believe I’m playing really good golf. I believe that there’s good stuff in my game already, and I believe that there’s other stuff that I need to tidy up,” he said. “I see a lot of good things happening and I do believe that I’m turning the corner. It was pretty tough for me after 2007 and by the end of 2008, it seemed quite easy.
“I do realize with experience that the wins, they don’t come around as often as you think. I do believe I’m going into a nice period in my career now, and I’m looking forward to some good successes.”