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Home Change is constant for Harrington while others are off limits

Each and every year the challenge remains the same for Padraig Harrington. To become a better player. He packs an impressive resume, three majors to his credit already. But he wants more and he’s doing everything he can to accomplish that.

“Every year I make changes. Every year. It's what gets me out of my bed. I'd have given up this game a long time ago if I was just trying to stay still,” Harrington said at the TPC Scottsdale, where he is making his first start of the 2013 PGA TOUR season and his first ever start at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. “Every year I'm trying to figure out how to get better. Every day I'm trying to figure it out, every year I'm trying to figure it out. I just kept changing; that's what I do, and I'll keep changing. The only thing I know is to keep evolving and keep changing.”

Harrington acknowledged his evolution has seen some interesting twist and turns since he first turned professional. “By the time I made it through Tour school, they had an orientation week on the European Tour in January, and from January to the tournament, maybe a month later, I went from only hitting a pull-cut off the tee to hitting a big huge draw and hit it about 40 yards further and was really happy. I hit a big sling-hook. That's just who I am. I'll keep evolving and try to find something new,” he stated with the grin of a Cheshire cat. “I won in 2007 hitting a draw all the time, I won in 2008 hitting a fade predominantly. I make big changes all the time.”

Harrington showed up in Scottsdale wearing glasses, which prompted inquiries into his new look, which actually continues on his theme of evolution. “ I started working with some eye people during the winter, last year. Basically I have 20/20 vision without glasses,” he revealed. “These obviously improve my vision and reduce a bit of fatigue. I've had four laser surgeries, and as I said, I have 20/20 vision,” he continued. He remains a bit of an enigma as his vision suggests the last thing he needs are glasses. Yet, the Irishman explained the method to his sometimes madness.

“The likelihood is you won't see the glasses, but I'll probably wear them just for fatigue and that. I didn't putt very well last year, and I needed to do something about it. I lost my confidence in reading the greens essentially. So it was pretty easy to figure out that it was my eyesight that was giving me, I really did lose my confidence last year. That was essentially it. I second-guessed a lot of reads, and ultimately then hit a lot of tentative putts,” he said. “ I spent a good bit of the season working on my putting stroke, trying to fix the tentative putts, but the tentative putts were really coming from just my lack of commitment and doubt of my reading of the greens rather than anything else.”

While Harrington might classify himself as a work in progress in terms of his ongoing swing changes and recently with his lack of confidence on the greens, one aspect of his game never seems to have come into question. He’s resisted the temptation to tinker with his equipment, specifically the brands he uses to earn a handsome living.

“There's lots of reasons for changing equipment at different times. But whatever equipment you have, you've got to have absolute belief in it. You've got to believe you have the very best equipment at your disposal,” he explained. “I've been very lucky in that sense. Wilson irons have won the most amount of majors. They make a superb iron.  They're very focused on their players. They have small number of players, and so that means if any one of us goes to them and says, we'd like this, they can actually do it. They can actually move production and make sure that the club is focused on their players. So they will move mountains for me and do anything I want necessarily. They produce a great iron, but they tend to produce an iron that the player likes first and then sell it to the public rather than necessarily producing a club that the public likes and trying to make us play it,” he continued. 

“They concentrate on the TOUR player because they know that's where they're at. Luckily on top of that I've got the freedom to play the Titleist Pro V1x, the best ball in the game, no doubt about it, which is a great variability for me, to be able to put that ball into play. You know, that's the great thing, great thing for me,” he emphasized, “I have enough maneuverability and Wilson have always allowed with the ball and things like that, so it gives me an advantage. I feel like I tee it up with the best equipment you can have.

But every player has got to feel that way. You can't stand on the tee box thinking you can give away anything. It's tough out here to win. You don't want to give up one inch, so you've got to have that belief, and as I said, Wilson and Titleist, what two better brands could you ask for? I'm pretty happy when I tee it up that I've got the equipment to go out there and win tournaments,” he said. Which leaves him to concentrate on his perpetual swing changes!