Born on August 31, 1971 in Ballyroan, Dublin, Pádraig Harrington is an Irish professional golfer who plays on both the PGA European Tour and the US PGA Tour. He is a three-time major winner.
After a successful amateur career, which included winning the coveted Walker Cup with the Great Britain & Ireland team in 1995, he turned professional and began playing on the European Tour in 1996.
In the same year, Harrington won his first tournament at the Spanish Open, but then he developed into a perennial runner-up in the truest sense of the word.
Towards the end of the 1999 season alone, he had four second-place finishes in five events. From 2000, the tide turned and he achieved at least one win a year until 2004.
As a result of this consistency, Harrington placed in the top 10 of the European Tour Order of Merit money list seven times, including two 2nd and 3rd place finishes each. In the 2006 season, he won the Order of Merit, which comes with the presentation of the Harry Vardon Trophy, for the first time.
From 2000 onwards, however, Harrington played increasingly in the USA, mainly in the majors and WGC events, as well as on a sponsorship basis. In 2002, he won his first unofficial PGA Tour event there.
In 2003 and 2004 he was once again runner-up, but in each case in the highest-paying Players Championship. From 2005 he was a regular on the PGA Tour, winning his first tournament, the Honda Classic, in March, followed by his second victory in June.
In July 2007, he achieved the greatest success of his career by winning the most traditional major, the Open Championship (British Open). A year later he was able to defend this title and won his second Major. His third major victory followed in August 2008, at the PGA Championship.
Pádraig Harrington played six times in the European Ryder Cup team and four times in the GB & Ireland team in the Seve Trophy. For Ireland he appeared five times in the Dunhill Cup and ten times in the World Cup.
He was awarded Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour in October 2007 and named European Tour Golfer of the Year in December.
Pádraig grew up in Rathfarnham, as did Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley. The southern suburb of Dublin is a classic working-class settlement. The family of seven lived in modest circumstances in a three-bedroom house.
Together with nine other colleagues, his father founded the Stackstown Golf Club nearby. The men built the course with their bare hands and shovels. Young Pádraig learned to play golf here at the age of four, as did his older brothers.
Determination characterized Harrington, as did his work ethic and abstinence from alcohol. He said of himself that he was the only Irishman who would not drink Guinness and would only have dated one woman.
He met his future wife, Caroline, at a youth tournament in Stackstown. They have been married since 1997. The couple has two sons: Patrick (* 2003) and Ciarán (* 2007). Ronan Flood has worked as a caddie for Harrington since 2004. Flood married Susie Gregan, Caroline's sister, in 2007, so he is Harrington's brother-in-law.
Previous article in this series: Nicholas Alexander "Nick" Faldo
Next article in the series: Martin Kaymer