Harrington has high hopes

Padraig Harrington is eager to perform at the Irish Open at Royal County Down, which tees off in May.

The Irishman finally got back to winning ways at the Honda Open last week following a nearly seven year win drought. Before the watershed victory, Harrington’s last win came at the 2008 PGA Championships.

The veteran battled past America’s Daniel Berger on the second hole of a playoff last week Sunday. The win has understandably boosted his confidence as he prepares for what he calls his ‘fifth major’.

“The Irish Open is my fifth Major and always one of the first events on my schedule, for obvious reasons,” the 43-year-old told europeantour.com

“Whilst it is always a special week for me, this year will be interesting as it’ll be the first time I’ve played at Royal County Down as a professional, so I’m really looking forward to getting there and seeing how the course has been set up.

“The last time the Irish Open was played in Northern Ireland, at Royal Portrush in 2012, it was a huge success and I was glad to be in the mix on the final day. The crowds were similar to a Major and generated a great atmosphere, and I’m sure it will be well attended again at Royal County Down.”

The event is hosted by the Rory Foundation, a philanthropic effort set up by Rory McIlroy that supports a variety of children’s charities around the world.

Aside from the world number one, the tournament has attracted a whole host of superstars, including four time Major Champion Ernie Els, eleven time European Tour winner Sergio Garcia, former world number one Lee Westwood and upcoming talent Rickie Fowler.

“It’s great to see Rory involved and supporting the tournament, and it looks like it’ll be one of the strongest fields the Irish Open has ever had,” added the three time Major winner.

“It’s shaping up to be a great week and I look forward to being part of it.”