Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Padraig Harrington Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame

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Padraig Harrington was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst. Harrington, who even at the age of 52 still works tirelessly on his game and is always striving to improve, expressed his gratitude for the constants in his career: his wife, to whom he has been married for 34 years, his equipment supplier Wilson, whom he has never changed, and his manager Adrian Mitchell. “I feel a deep sense of satisfaction and validation,” said Harrington. The Irishman, who has a total of 21 victories worldwide, including the 2007 and 2008 British Open and the 2008 PGA Championship, joins 19-time LPGA winner Sandra Palmer as the only living inductees into the Hall of Fame. “This really feels like a dream,” said Palmer, who threw both arms in the air as she was introduced to the 29 other members of the Hall of Fame. The posthumously honored members include LPGA great Beverly Hanson, former Open Championship winner and golf course architect Tom Weiskopf and former US Open champion Johnny Farrell. The remaining seven founders of the LPGA Tour – Alice Bauer, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Sally Sessions and Shirley Spork – were also accepted as a group. The other six founders had previously been honored individually.

Padraig Harrington joins a select circle

Harrington grew up in Ireland with dreams of Claret Jugs and the Wanamaker Trophy, not so much the Hall of Fame. Still, he recognized the significance of the award, especially on the PGA Tour Champions, where many of his peers like Bernhard Langer, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Fred Couples are already members. “You look up to those guys and you want to be part of that group,” Harrington said last week. “A lot of the players on the Champions Tour were a bit before my time, so I looked up to them as role models when I turned pro.” For today’s generation of top golfers, Harrington now serves as a role model himself. In honor of Harrington’s induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, 26-time PGA Tour winner Rory McIlroy had words of appreciation for the former star: “He really got this whole Irish golf movement going. Padraig was the one who made us all believe we could do it. He’s the ultimate professional.” Fellow countryman Shane Lowry also paid tribute to Harrington: “He was one of my role models growing up. He was fantastic for golf and fantastic for Ireland. We are very grateful for him.”

The Irishman had his breakthrough in 2007 at the British Open in Carnoustie, when he defeated Sergio Garcia despite a double bogey on the last hole. A year later, he won the British Open at Royal Birkdale and a month later became the first European winner of the PGA Championship in 78 years. In addition to his major victories, Harrington won three more on the PGA Tour, twelve on the European Tour and five in other international tournaments. He played on six Ryder Cup teams and was captain at Whistling Straits in 2021, even though Harrington had no plans to become a professional golfer, as he revealed in an interview with the DP World Tour.

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