I suppose it's only proper that, during the tournament on the weekend of St. Patrick's Day, an Irishman pulled the fangs out of the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. In fact, Padraig Harrington birdied all three holes in the Snake Pit on his way to a course-record 10-under 61. It was his lowest round ever, according to this USA Today piece.
I'm always interested to hear what Paddy says, simply because he's such a thoughtful person. What was his assessment of the round?
"I played nicely."
It's funny, but it's typical Paddy. He doesn't deny that he played well -- he pointed out what he did well, what he did poorly, and where a little (lot of) luck came in -- but he told GC that he felt he sabotaged himself by starting to think about shooting 59 fairly early in the round.
I love this section of the USA Today piece:
Did anyone see a 61 at Innisbrook?Paddy's been struggling for quite a while, ever since he started making changes to his swing after winning 3 majors. Charlie Rymer showed some stats that indicate Paddy may have made the changes to help him get into contention more often. But does this score mean he's 'back'?
"I did. I watched it," said Geoff Ogilvy, who played alongside Harrington. "On the first tee, I didn't see 61. But after you see it done … the only really, completely unreasonable birdie was on the 17th. There was never any stress."
That birdie putt on the 17th was from 75 feet, and Harrington said it looked good for the last 15 feet.
But if there was one putt that reminded him how everything was falling his way, it was the 6-foot birdie on the 16th, atop a crown in such a way that Harrington wasn't sure which way it was going to break. He guessed right.
"You're really guessing at which way it's going to go, but on your day, it goes the right way," he said. "I guarantee you there will be a lot of players having a frustrating day, telling you they hit it exactly where they wanted and it missed."
With a wedge into 15 feet on the last hole, he had no doubt.
"When it's your day, I could have turned my back on the hole and I would have holed the putt on the last," Harrington said. "That's just the way it is when things are going for you."
I don't know. What I do know is that I like his resilience. Paddy doesn't let problems with his game get him down... at least, not for long. And now it looks like his hard work may be starting to pay off.
Not for the snakes, though. I'd advise them to steer clear of the Irishman this weekend.
The photo came from this page at PGATOUR.com.