Padraig Harrington let a video team follow him. It’s worth your 3 minutes

Padraig Harrington hits his tee shot on Saturday on the 18th hole at the Country Club of Virginia.

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His biggest regret? It was not endings, but one of the means to them. 

His practice rounds? Macro. 

His range time? Micro. 

Ahead of this week’s Dominion Energy Charity Classic on the PGA Tour Champions circuit, Padraig Harrington let a video team follow him for a hole at the Country Club of Virginia, and it’s filling. It’s worth your three minutes. Harrington, a three-time major champion and last year’s captain for the European Ryder Cup team, is also a giver, and the takeaways were many. 

How Padraig Harrington plays practice rounds  

Shared by the Champions social media team, the video starts with Harrington and caddie Ronan Flood on the tee. They are flipping through yardage books. 

“Three-10 playing 298 front of green,” Flood says.  

“A lot will depend on when we get down there what’s long left,” Harrington says.  

Flood agrees.  

“Quite a tight angle, but we’ll go for it,” Harrington says.  

Flood agrees again. 

“Can you see that white?” Harrington says, pointing out a target.  

“I can see the white thing through the yokes, yes,” Flood says. 

“Hit it and see,” Harrington says. 

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He hits. 

“Beauty, isn’t it? OK, we’ll see when we get down there,” he says. 

There’s a point here. On the cart ride to the ball, he dishes on his practice rounds. 

“I’ll get a feel for the course,” he says. “I might not get every hole covered. But I get enough shots through the 36 holes that I play that will cover all the shots I see during the tournament.”

How Padraig Harrington uses his range time   

His ball behind a greenside bunker now, Harrington goes over his tee shot. 

“It’s farther right than we thought, that’s for starters,” he says. “It’s that — you think it’s a bit short of the bunker.”

He adds more.  

“I learned it’s very reachable for me. The angle is a bit tough, but in all likelihood, I will be going at the from the back tee if I can get around it. To be honest, I was trying to hit a big, hard tee shot, where it turns out, it’s really just a strong cut is going to do it. I concentrate on the shape more than anything else.” 

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At this point in the video, Harrington pitches over the bunker, and his ball goes about 20 feet past. But he is not discouraged. 

He dishes on how he uses his range time. 

“I was trying to catch it reasonably clean because it was into the grain, but I definitely got it on the bottom groove,” Harrington says. “This is what you do in a practice round. You hit a few shots and you go, oh, I wasn’t quite comfortable. And then you go to the range and find the same shot and practice it. 

“You know, if I don’t feel like I can hit it clean, I’ll then practice to hit it like a flop shot, like a bunker shot, and take grass with it and just take everything with it basically. So I definitely know that now I need to go to the range and find a shot for this week in that situation.”

What is Padraig Harrington’s biggest regret?  

The video then ends with Harrington missing a putt, and a partner making one. There’s a friendly exchange.

“Can I make a suggestion?” Harrington asks.. 

“Just go to the clubhouse now. Your day is done.”

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But maybe our biggest takeaway from the video came halfway through. Standing in the fairway after his drive, seemingly unprompted, Harrington talks of his biggest regret.

The cliche way of saying it is the whole marathon-not-a-sprint thought, but Harrington delivers it more deeply. 

“With hindsight, the one thing that I would say I would look back at my whole career is I stressed too much about Thursday. Whereas if you’re going to win tournaments, you should be trying to prepare for Sunday, not Thursday.” 

It is not a throwaway line.   

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.