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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Padraig Harrington’s 5 best moments as he makes Golf Hall of Fame

Padraig Harrington is a memorable name in the world of professional golf. The Irishman will be inducted into this year’s Golf Hall of Fame for his illustrious career.

He turned pro in 1995 and joined the PGA Tour in 2005. Harrington has amassed 6 PGA Tour wins, 15 victories on the European Tour, six runner-up finishes, two third places, 31 top-5s, and 56 top-10s. He made the cut 225 times in 343 starts, which means he played the weekend 65% of the time.

Not to mention, the 6-time PGA Tour winner was on four winning Ryder Cup teams for Europe.

Harrington is also a three-time major champion, having won the 2007 Open at Carnoustie, the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale, and the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.

He paved the way for many Irish golfers. Rory McIlroy noted that Harrington’s major championship run opened many doors.

“Pádraig was the one who made us all believe that we could do it, that we could follow in his footsteps and win major championships,” McIlroy told the Irish Golfer.

“If anyone talks about Pádraig, he’s the ultimate pro. He has hit way more balls than I have in my life and I will never catch up to him. He loves golf; he loves everything about it, he loves trying to improve.”

The 52-year-old is a notorious range rat who will try anything to improve his golf game. Harrington has begun sharing tidbits and drills on the range on his social media channels to help the average golfer, too.

So to honor Harrington, we have reflected on his top 5 best moments from his Hall of Fame career:

Ryder Cup, Padraig Harrington, PGA Tour

Photo by Rebecca Naden – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

5: 1999 Ryder Cup debut performance

Harrington qualified for his first Ryder Cup in 1999 at Brookline, one of the most famous iterations in history. He contributed a respectable 1.5 points from.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Harrington were paired for the opening round of matches. They claimed a half-a-point against Davis Love III and Payne Stewart.

In Saturday’s foursomes, he and Jiménez played together again, but they fell to Tiger Woods and Steve Pate 1 Up.

On Sunday, he beat Mark O’Meara 1 Up in single matches, bringing Europe’s points total to 13-10. Harrington thought he holed the winning putt because Jose Maria Olazabal was 4 Up when he finished his match.

However, Justin Leonard would eventually build a massive comeback and holed a massive putt on 17 to secure an American win.

While Harrington did not help Team Europe win that year, it would begin a very successful Ryder Cup tenure for him.

Ryder Cup, PGA Tour, Padraig Harrington, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson

Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

4: 2004 Ryder Cup, beating Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson

The fourth best moment of Harrington’s career came in 2004 when Team Europe beat Team USA on their home soil. They won at Oakland Hills in Michigan, and Harrington was one of the team’s best performers that week.

He ranked eighth in the world then, and one of the week’s biggest highlights came when he and Colin Montgomerie took on Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

Woods and Mickelson were paired together for the first time but were no match for Harrington and Montgomerie. The European duo defeated the heavy-hitters 2 & 1.

Harrington earned four points in five matches that week as Team Europe destroyed Team USA 18.5 to 9.5.

PGA Tour, Padraig Harrington, Champions Tour

Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

3: Harrington’s latest PGA Tour champions’ Hoag classic win

Harrington already has seven Champions Tour victories under his belt, but his latest at the 2024 Hoag Classic Newport Beach was one to remember.

He went 63-67-69 to win at 14-under and triumph by one stroke over Thongchai Jaidee. Miguel Angel Jiménez finished in third at 12-under.

His ride in the mini Aston Martin made this dramatic victory one to add to this list. Although he has won plenty throughout his career, how he celebrated made this one memorable.

A double-bogey on 16 during the final round caused him to trail Jaidee and Jimenez by one shot. Harrington drained an incredible 20-foot birdie on the par 3 17th to sit tied for the lead with one to play.

He finished strong on 18, but his celebration was the best part. Harrington gave one of the best fist pumps as the ball fell into the hole.

He also drove the mini sports car around the Newport Beach Country Club to celebrate. It was a great moment for Harrington, who showed off his personality after another incredible victory.

PGA Championship, PGA Tour, Padraig Harrington

Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

2: Padraig Harrington’s 2008 PGA Championship victory

His third major championship was a massive moment for Harrington. He won the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills with a final 3-under score.

That was good enough to beat Sergio Garcia and Ben Curtis by two shots.

This victory also marked his second consecutive major of 2008 after he won his second straight Claret Jug.

Harrington became the first European in 78 years to win the PGA Championship. He was also the first Irish golfer to win this major championship.

Padraig Harrington, Open Championship, PGA Tour

Photo by Cathal Noonan/INPHO via Getty Images

1: Back-to-back Open Championships for Padraig Harrington

Harrington’s back-to-back Open wins are hands down the best moments of his career.

The Irishman also took down two heavy hitters to get those two majors. In 2007, at Carnoustie, he came from behind to defeat Sergio Garcia in a dramatic playoff.

Harrington came from six shots back when a sensational eagle on 14 allowed him to take a one-shot advantage. He made a double-bogey on 18, and Garcia made a bogey himself, which put a playoff on the table.

He birdied the first playoff hole to beat Garcia and raise his first Claret Jug.

The following year, Harrington defeated Greg Norman to win back-to-back Open titles. He almost did not play because of a sprained wrist, but he did the unthinkable and defended his title at Royal Birkdale.

Harrington was tied for second and two shots behind Norman, who held the lead on Sunday. However, Ian Poulter proved to be the biggest competitor that day. The two Ryder Cup stalwarts traded blows, but Harrington made an eagle on 17 to put Poulter to bed.

He is the last to win back-to-back Claret Jugs after Tiger Woods did it in 2005 and 2006.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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