Well it is a new year and it is the same old Padraig.He is sticking to his routine of not coming back into Golf until February and then hopes that he will have all the kinks ironed out for the Masters in early April.This is after he has taken his long break over Christmas and New Years to be with his family, something that I would not begrudge anybody.
It is Padraig’s stated position that he now measures himself by his major wins and his career will not be judged on if he has won,ten,twenty or fifty touraments.All that will matter will be the Majors.At present he has three Majors which has him in a very high-ranking in terms of the history of golf.Only eighteen others have won three majors and only twenty-five have won more than three.Taking into account that Majors have been completed for, for over one hundred years that is an impressive achievement.
Padraig is only in his mid thirties so time is not an issue.With the current fitness levels that Padraig keeps himself to he will be competitive for another ten to fifteen years.You only have to look at VJ Singh and Kenny Perry to see how the older players are more competitive and even the one-off success of Tom Watson last year shows that golf is not as age sensitive as other sports.
Taking all that into account can not stop the nagging feeling that Padraig’s fans feel.Playing my golf in Cork and talking to fellow golfers when you speak about Padraig the comments are very polarised they either love him or don’t have a good opinion because of his attitude when he is interviewed on the subject.He seems very detached from his fans.We would all like to be sitting in front of the TV on Sunday nights, watching Sky’s super coverage of golf egging on Padraig, but he plays in such fits and starts that you have no continuity.
I have nothing but respect for what Padraig and his wife Caroline have achieved.Taking a good golfer and turning him into the most focused and dedicated golfer in the world after Tiger.Not many can make that leap, not many have the mental strength to bring themselves to the position of number three in the world, his highest ranking.I know that I would personally give anything to have achieved a fraction of what Padraig has already done and will continue to do until his ambition is sated by success.
Nobody knows better than Padraig and his team what makes him tick and by looking after his playing schedule and his training routine, how to get the best out of him.We fans cannot know or pretend to know better, but there is always a nagging doubt.I feel that this year is going to be no better than last year despite Tigers absence, if the rumours are true, that he got hammered by Bernie Madoff.To lose that amount of money will not help a player to focus on the job at hand no matter how focused you are.
I would have to say that I hope to have egg all over my face at the end of the summer and Padraig has the Claret Jug back on the kitchen table to put ladybirds in when ever he wants.To win the Open in St. Andrews is the pinnacle for all golfers.Adding a fourth Major this year would still not quell the rumblings in the long grass as for some reason Irish people do not universally love their sporting heros as they should.Like Roy Keane, Padraig does cause polarisation and that will not change because of the begrudger in us all.