Harrington: 'World Golf HOF induction gives me satisfaction and validation'

Harrington: 'World Golf HOF induction gives me satisfaction and validation'

Ireland's Padraig Harrington says being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame gives him a great sense of "satisfaction and validation."

Harrington has won three major championships: the Open Championship in 2007 and 2008 and the PGA Championship, also in 2008. He was also a member of six consecutive Ryder Cup teams between 1999 and 2010.

The Dublin native joins the likes of Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods, and many other famous golfers in being inducted into golf's prestigious Hall of Fame.

He is also the third Irishman to be inducted, after Christy O'Connor Sr. (2009) and Joe Carr (2007), who were also inducted in previous years.

Speaking this week about his induction, the 52-year-old expressed his delight at being included alongside the greats of the game.

Harrington also explained his reasons for loving golf and claimed the test of mental challenges was one of the reasons he loved the sport.

"Emotionally, it brings me a deep sense of satisfaction and validation to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Harrington during his acceptance speech.

"As a player, you get inducted into the Hall of Fame based on your golf results. So yes, I won three majors, numerous events around the world, and I played six Ryder Cups, and that's what gets you into the Hall of Fame. But there is a story behind it. So, what's my story?"

"Firstly, I'm not sure whether I loved the game or whether the game loved me because it was truly great to me.

"I loved the fact that it was never meant to be a fair game. It was always meant to be a test of skill and mental fortitude. I loved the rules; I loved the etiquette; I loved the competition. Probably ultimately, I loved the meritocracy of it—that you're out there on your own, no one else decides your fate, and it's up to you to get it done."

Harrington has won many titles during his career, but the wins that stand out are his victories in the 2007 and 2008 Open Championships.

The veteran golfer explained how special his relationship with his caddie, Ronan Flood, was and admitted that he wouldn't have won the 2007 Open without his help.

"On the 72nd hole, after I hit my second shot in the water, it was the first and only time I've ever been on the golf course where I felt embarrassed and wanted to give up. I really thought I'd thrown the door open," he added.

"However, Ronan stuck to his guns and started into the clichés: "It's not over yet," "one shot at a time," and so on.

"I think he took the four iron off me pretty quickly because I'm not sure I wouldn't have had a swing at him with it!

"But we kept walking, he kept doing his job, and he got in my head. I walked up to take my penalty drop, and by the time I played my fifth shot, I hit it like a teenager. I was right back in the zone.

"I told this story for months afterward about how my caddie didn't give up on me and how he believed. It took about three months, I think, before he was in the room and heard me tell this story. He let me tell it, and he stood up at the end and acknowledged that while he'd said all those things, he also thought I'd lost the feckin' open!"