Journey to the Open by Padraig Harrington
Release date: 15th November, 2007
Publisher: Bantam Press
Our Price: £10.49
You Save: £6.5 (38%)
Journey to the Open
4sportsbooks.co.uk price: Â£10.49, saving 30% on rrp
You didn't need to be a golf fan to appreciate the sporting drama which gripped millions of people watching on television and thousands more present when, on 22 July at Carnoustie, Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia slugged it out, toe-to-toe, for the right to be called Open champion.
Having finished with what turned out to be a gritty two-over par six, Harrington uses the book's prologue to describe his feelings immediately after his round had finished. Standing adjacent to the final 18th green embarrassed and dejected, he felt as though he had let a perfectly good opportunity to win a major slip through his fingers. Replaying that last hole over in his head, he proclaims disgust at his poor decision-making, although he pays tribute to the calming influence of his caddie, Ronan, who reminded him, in what sounds like a one-sided conversation, to retain his focus and to be professional.
Nonetheless, despite his caddie's apparent buoyancy, that double-bogey six appeared to have handed the initiative to Sergio Garcia who, one hole behind, required merely a par four to lift the famous claret jug for the first time and claim his inaugural major. But competition golf is capable of applying immense pressure on players and it transpired that Garcia too carded a final hole six, setting up a four-hole play-off.
This time, Harrington wasted no time seizing the initiative, taking a two-shot lead at the first, one he would not relinquish, thus becoming the first Irishman in sixty years to claim golf's most coveted trophy.
A book celebrating his success might have been anticipated, but this is something a little different. Harrington could have cashed in further on his Carnoustie victory, but instead, his publishers have assembled a team of respected Irish journalists who each write about different periods in his golfing life. While that might not sound unusual, Padraig Harrington will donate all royalties from the book to charity. Many people will feel such a gesture is the sign of a true champion.
This is not a conventional biography, but a collection of well-crafted essays which start in 1976 and cover the ensuing thirty-odd years as Harrington makes his way through the amateur game (appearing in three Walker Cups) before turning professional in 1995. There were no exemptions for the likeable Irishman: he earned his European card through the Qualifying School and his first victory came in only his tenth start as a pro.
Like many Europeans influence by Seve Ballesteros' infectious enthusiasm, Harrington has a great affinity for the Ryder Cup, a competition in which he has played four times. There's a lovely anecdote from the 2002 competition at the Belfry which reveals as much about Harrington as it does about Colin Montgomerie; the Irishman considered his principle role to be that of a jester when playing a fourball with the Scot on the second day "to keep him in good spirits". And there amateur golfers were believing it was all about being 'in the zone'.
At 128 pages, this is a relatively short book, although its pages are over-sized, and one fancies any future official autobiography will draw heavily upon Harrington's post-Open thoughts. For now, golfers will want to absorb it contents in an effort to garner an understanding of Harrington's enormous mental strength; one thing they will learn is that occasionally, the good guys do win.
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