A Father a Son and a Victory

By George WhiteJune 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
Padraig Harrington is already back home in Dublin, where his ailing father is fighting a determined battle with cancer. The cancer is terminal, so whatever good that life brings Padraig is tempered by the grim prospects of a father, a son, and a terrible disease gone amok.
Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington hit an emotional high with his final hole eagle at the Barclays Classic.
That said, a little good was visited upon the Irishman this past weekend. He uncorked a 65-foot eagle putt to bump Jim Furyk off the victors seat at Westchester ' the name by which the Barclays Classic is properly known. We can only guess at what joy is being spread around today at the house of Paddy Harrington, Padraigs father.
This one was virtually in the books after Furyk built a three-shot lead on the back nine at Westchester. Harrington, being a realist, figured his winning chances were probably gone. But Padraig isnt so single-minded anymore ' there is so much more to life than just winning golf tournaments.
With my family situation and everything that has gone on in the last couple of tough months, said Harrington, I've been trying to lighten up and enjoy things more.'
Two days after he won the Honda Classic this year his father got the terrible news. Father would survive less than a month, doctors said. It was a devastating revelation to Padraig. But now dad has got to experience another win of Padraigs, and that makes Padraig ecstatic.
He's going to be thrilled, said Harrington. I'm sure he's glad he hung around this long. It's good that he's managed one more win anyway.'
Padraig had missed the cut in his last two attempts on the PGA Tour ' the U.S. Open and the Booz Allen Classic. Harrington, playing fulltime in the U.S. for the first time this year, cant remember ever missing two cuts in a row. But then, he has never had to face a tragedy such as this one before, either.
You know, I'm a strange person - my emotions really dictate how I play, he said. But there has been such an influx of bad news that he has just decided he was not going to dwell on the negatives anymore. He is going to accept the facts head-on, whatever they are, and continue with his life.
If I'm going to go out there and play, I might as well play my best, do my best, he said. And the best thing for me this week was to try and focus on my golf, focus on enjoying it. I always play better when I've got a smile on my face rather than maybe the last couple of months I've been pretty tough. The nature of things that happen, it's easy to get down on yourself.
His father lives just 20 minutes away from Padraig in Dublin. And every day that Padraig has been in Ireland has been another opportunity to see him. Padraig was in the U.S. three weeks before the win at Westchester. Now, theres time once again to visit dad.

I think I was on the phone to my mom (Saturday) and as my wife asked, How is your dad? I said, Do you think my mom is going to tell me?
So I'm obviously looking forward to getting home to see him.
The devastating news caused him to pull out of tournaments in Atlanta and Houston to spend time with his father. And now he is back in Ireland, by Paddys side.
But there were plenty of Irish cheers at Westchester to cause his mind to wander. New York is heavily Irish, and Padraig heard the ole chants at every corner as he played Sunday.
Oh, yeah, he said of the chorus of oles ' that's definitely Irish. You've got the good Irish support there, and I think at the Ryder Cup last time I got, it was sung to me. Usually I'd be involved in singing it to a football team or something like that, so it was appreciated to have it sung to me.
Ever the Irishman, Harrington had to acknowledge the cheers and chants. It definitely makes you step back and say, Oh, you've done something right here, you've done something special.
As he said, hes going to live life, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the personal pain that he feels. And back in Dublin, a father is undoubtedly full of Irish pride.
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