Pádraig Harrington's calm demeanour hides a ruthless killer instinct that has made him one of the best golfers in the world. Few players have had such a meteoric rise to stardom and even fewer have worked as hard as Harrington to achieve it. The Dubliner has been devoted to constantly improving his games since he first knocked some balls around the Stackstown course his dad helped to build.
By the end of the 2008 season, at the age of just 36, Harrington had more majors to his name than greats of the game like Greg Norman, Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer. He ended that season winning two grand slam events in succession – something no European has ever managed. Despite a wrist injury he managed to retain the claret jug for his second ever major and just three weeks later he followed that with a dramatic win at the PGA Championship.
During that win at Oakland Hills Harrington was coolness personified. In the final three holes – possibly the biggest of his career – he sank three huge putts, including one over 18 feet, to see off the challenge of Sergio Garcia and Ben Curtis. His remarkable year won him the PGA Player of the Year award – only the second European ever to win that accolade – as well as sealing fourth spot in the official rankings.
In addition to his three majors, the Irishman has won 11 other European Tour titles, five Irish PGA Championships and two PGA Tour titles. In 2006 he reached the pinnacle of golf in Europe – winning the European Order of Merit from Paul Casey at the last event of the season. His second place at the Volvo Masters – secured thanks to an incredible 35ft putt at the 16th - was enough for him to overtake Casey. Consistently top-class performances in the following two years saw him crowned European Tour Golfer of the Year two years running.
As well as his remarkable performance in the individual game, Harrington is an accomplished team player and a veteran of five Ryder Cups, three ending in European victories. All this is a far cry from when Harrington first turned his back on a career in accountancy to follow golf full-time. When he turned pro in 1996 he was a late starter who saw himself capable of surviving on the European tour. That he has done so much more is a testament to his dedication and who knows what else he could achieve.