Heavy Mettle


When the PGA of America presents the Wanamaker trophy to their champion at Hazeltine next week, they should consider also offering a back brace… and maybe a dollie. Poor Padraig Harrington hasn’t been the same since hoisting the hefty hardware last year.

Of course, there's no real connection between that heavy lifting and Paddy's lackluster year in 2009. Rather, it's been the Irishman's heavy (and heady) overhauling of his game with the help of his swing coach Bob Torrance, that has affected his current season.

Tuesday at his press conference at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Harrington discussed the rebuilding of his swing -- a goal that had weighed on him for years before his back-to-back majors in 2008. However, it was a goal that he had not fully-committed himself to accomplishing until after his Oakland Hills victory.

'I was trying to change something in my downswing... I've been trying to change it for the last three years, but it became the priority over the last eight months, ' said the Dubliner.

'I've been two and a half years trying to sort out the problem. But I definitely got to the bottom of it and I'm happy about that.'

And with that burden lifted, the three-time major champion, sat in the media room at Firestone C.C. Tuesday and talked about another weighty issue -- that of lifting the portly PGA Championship prize.

“You cannot believe how heavy it is. I was genuinely shocked by the weight when I picked up.”

Weighing in at a robust 44 pounds, the Wanamaker is a substantialy-sized accolade. Compare to Lord Stanley’s Cup at 34 pounds, and hockey players don’t seem so tough, eh? But, as a sportscaster once quipped about carrying the Cup, holding that metal memento is nothing after your mettle has just been put to the ultimate test in a world championship: “When you win it, it is but a feather.'

And Harrington apparently felt the same way about the Wanamaker.

'On the high that I was on, I was capable of lifting 44 pounds. But it was a little bit of a shock.'

'Holding it for ten minutes for pictures,' Harrington continued, 'every time I'd switch sides, people would think you're switching sides because you're showing your sponsor. But no, I'm resting.'

Forget swing doctors, PGA Championship winners need chiropractors.