Harrington looking to climb
Short-game key for improved form, says new coach Cowen
Last Updated: 12/10/11 6:09pm
Harrington: Speaks to the press (L) and receives treatment for foot (R)
Padraig Harrington is hoping to continue his climb up the world rankings at this week's Portugal Masters.
The Irishman was as high as number three after winning his third Major title, the 2008 PGA Championship, but had slumped to 84th last month.
That low point came shortly after the Dubliner had ended his 13-year relationship with long-term coach Bob Torrance - father of Sam - after missing the cut in this year's Open at Sandwich.
He's now signed up with renowned British coach Pete Cowen and already there appear to be signs of encouragement after Harrington finished eighth in the Dunhill Links Championship on his last start two weeks ago.
That finish helped him rise to 78th and now Cowen, whose pupils include world number two Lee Westwood, hopes Harrington can kick on and quickly return to the world's top 50.
"He thought he was spending far too much time on his long game, to the detriment of his short game. Padraig won two majors in 2008 with the best short game in the world."
Cowen on Harrington Quotes of the week
"Padraig came and asked me at the Bridgestone (tournament) if I would give an opinion on his swing and what I thought might improve it," said Cowen.
"He thought he was spending far too much time on his long game, to the detriment of his short game. Padraig won two majors in 2008 with the best short game in the world. He felt as though he'd neglected that and when you looked at the stats it proved it. He'd become almost non-competitive.
"He's good at bashing himself on the range and he couldn't understand why he wasn't getting any better," Cowen said.
"Padraig told me he had the wrong feeling with his swing. I then explained how he could get rid of that feeling. I just tried to simplify his action. It was complicated and required massive amounts of time. I felt he needed better mechanics which need less time spent on it.
"We've put a lot more stability on his right side on the backswing so he supports the club better, a simple movement which then needs constant repetition. Then he can make the right action on the through-swing. If you load the swing right, you unload it correctly.
"I've given him a training aid for the range that does that while he's swinging. It's a two-thumb grip put on in a certain way on the shaft. He's now more comfortable with his long game and can concentrate more on his short game again.
"Obviously Bob's done a great job because Padraig's won three majors but we all know that it's the short game that makes the difference in the long run.
"With more time to work on it, he's now capable of getting back to being the best short-game player in the world."
The 40-year-old certainly showed that in the Dunhill where he topped the Scrambling stats, getting up and down 87% of the time when missing the green.
Harrington last appeared in this event two years ago and shot a second round 62 on the way to a top three finish.
There appeared to be more good signs in Wednesday's pro-am when he carded five-under although he also needed treatment for a bruised foot from his physio Dale Richardson.