Does Grinding PGA Tour Champions Help Padraig Harrington’s Game? He thinks so

SAN ANTONIO — With a 68 in the opening round of the Valero Texas Open on Thursday, Padraig Harrington found himself with Matt Kuchar for the lead on TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course after the first wave of players was through. This is his third straight week of action, following back-to-back starts with the PGA Tour Champions.

So why is Harrington grinding? Why is he hopping from one event — and one tour — to the next?

The three-time Major champion has an interesting answer – he believes competing with other 50-year-olds drives him and gives him more confidence against younger fields.

A key difference between the tours is that the 72-hole PGA Tour events cut the field in half after two days, as opposed to the 54-hole no-cut champions events.

“I love playing on the Champions Tour and it has really helped my game to no end,” said Harrington. “I’m out there and I’m like, oh, I think I’m playing better. So I’m coming, I’m playing three European Tour events this year, this is my third PGA Tour event and I think I’m better, let’s go and see if I’m really better out there kids.”

And it’s not like his results have fallen off with his extended play.

Harrington finished tied seventh at the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, Calif., and then added a T-5 at last week’s Galleri Classic outside of Palm Springs. And he has also achieved respectable placings on the DP World Tour.

“It’s nice to show some form,” he said. “I had a reasonable chance of winning the first one at DP World earlier this year. Yes, it’s nice to get a good result today. It was a bit bumpy to get there, but to lead at any stage on the tour isn’t a bad thing.”

Harrington is of course aware that there will be consequences. His body isn’t recovering as quickly as it used to and with the changeable weather wreaking havoc on tee times, he’ll likely have a late start on Friday and need to make up some holes on Saturday.

He insists he’s up for the challenge.

“I’m going to spend a few hours in the physio truck,” he admitted. “The only thing I’m worried about is I’ll probably have to play 26, 27 holes on Saturday. After walking 18 holes there isn’t much I can do. My leg, it’s actually my leg, it cramps up quite a bit afterwards. Yeah, look, I’ll find out, don’t worry. All those things, you’d always find a way to deal with them.

“While I would pay attention to that, I don’t think it will hold me back.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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