Let's say you've reached the absolute pinnacle of your career. You've won one of your career's biggest awards not once, but twice in a row. You're primed and pumped to become an immortal in your chosen field, not just a Hall of Famer but an all-timer. So what do you do?
Why, burn it all to the ground and start over, of course.
In 2008, Padraig Harrington was coming off wins in both the British Open and the PGA Championship. (Yes, a certain someone wasn't in the field. Quiet, you're messing with the flow.) Everything seemed set up for the big Irishman to take his rightful place among the game's all-time greats.
And then he decided to monkey around with his swing ... and everything went into a tailspin. He went over two years without a win, and fell into irrelevancy as names like Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy stepped up to fill the vacuum. Now, as the Irish Examiner (via Dogs That Chase Cars) notes, Harrington continues to tinker:
He has changed his choice of grips, weakened his grip, lowered his hands on the club, altered his routine for practising putts and changed his ‘trigger’ which, for him, was two big ‘waggles’ before he hit his shot ... The hope is that Harrington’s decision will dilute a habit that had been distracting him as he stood over the ball and produce a swing that grows in accuracy without sacrificing length with his driver and long irons.
Oh sweet heaven. This is turning into the golf-swing version of that old polar bear game. (Want to play? Think of anything but a polar bear. Anything at all except a polar bear. Can't do it, can you?)
Harrington tees it up this week in Abu Dhabi with a host of other champions, but freely admits that he won't be in the swing (ha!) until a few weeks from now, at the very least. And after a year in which he missed the cut in three majors, he hopes that everything will be in sync by Augusta.
If not, well ... we know what happens next, don't we? Back to the laboratory!