Padraig Harrington, winner last time the British Open was held at Royal Birkdale, will be teeing off with a very interesting swing this week.
Harrington told reporters he’s trying to focus on getting his right side through the ball and that the motion is necessitated by “trying to keep up with those young guys.”
Here’s a look at the 45-year-old’s action, which features a left-foot pickup during the backswing and a pronounced right-leg walkthrough after impact. Shades of Gary Player, perhaps.
Padraig Harrington's new swing pic.twitter.com/EHB04kKAH1
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 6, 2017
A few things are worth noting: One it only matters what’s going on at impact, and Harrington is technically sound at that point in the swing. Two: lifting the left foot takes some pressure off the back, which isn’t a bad thing when you’re 45 and have hit as many balls as Paddy has. Three: As Harrington himself says, the walk-through helps him get to his right side better without having to continue turning from a bent-over position.
All in all, it’s an excellent approach for an aging golfer, especially one dealing with flexibility and back issues. For the average man of his age, it makes a heckuva lot more sense to try to swing like Padraig Harrington rather than, say, Jason Day.
Also, while many in the Twitterverse find Harrington’s motion objectionable, it’s by no means the most bizarre swing we’ve seen on tour. Heck, Bryson DeChambeau won last week with an extremely non-traditional swing. You’d think that would keep the critics at bay.
But consider these swings if you think Harrington’s is outside the real of anything we’ve seen on the PGA Tour.
Four-time European Tour winner Eamonn Darcy
Champions Tour dynamo Jim Thorpe
11-time winner Miller Barber
And of course, Jim Furyk
So before you criticize the two-time British Open winner, remember his new motion is rooted in some solid thinking, and it’s far from the most radical method of striking the ball we’ve seen at the professional level.