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Devil Ball Golf

Former coach not a fan of Padraig Harrington’s swing-tinkering

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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As most golfers know, there's nothing wrong with tweaking your swing to get improved results. Some have found that even the smallest adjustment with your posture or stance, among other things, can sometimes be the difference between breaking 80 or shooting 95.

It's just another reason why the game of golf can drive you crazy at times. Just when you think you've figured things out, you have to make another slight adjustment to take your game to the next level. Plenty of professional golfers have dealt with this issue.

With the exception of a guy like Tom Lehman, most players will change their swing as they progress in their career. But there's a fine line between fixing and taking the swing changes to an unhealthy level. Padraig Harrington is a prime example of the damage that can be done when you tinker too much.

During a period between 2007 and 2008, Harrington won three of six majors and looked primed to take on Tiger as the best player in golf. But a funny thing happened along the way: He wanted to rework his swing ... in the prime of his career.

Apparently, his position at impact wasn't where he wanted it to be. So he started the long and arduous process of tearing the swing down and rebuilding it from scratch. Long story short, he's been unable to find his old game, yet he still continues to rebuild various parts of his game with little success.

Following a missed cut at the Irish Open -- a tournament he won back in 2007 -- Harrington parted ways with longtime swing instructor Bob Torrance, after he talked about wanting to rebuild his swing as he approached 40. It was clearly something that didn't go over will with Torrance.

"He has been going down one road that I think is wrong," Torrance said. "He is determined to go down that road, the wrong one. I said to him: 'You're going down the wrong road, if you go down too far, you won't come back.' You cannot make changes at 40 in golf. You can make them when you are in your 20s but once you get to 40 it is too late."

Those are harsh words from a close friend and ally. I understand Harrington wanting to improve and be a better player, but unlike Tiger Woods, his swing changes have never produced improved results. But he still continues to search for perfection, like a plastic surgery addict looking for the perfect nose.

You hope Harrington wises up and realizes he's going down the wrong path, but if he's really considering making changes at 40, I wouldn't be surprised if he keeps trying to change things late into his career.

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