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For just $2,200, you can own this original oil painting by Mark Baker of Padraig Harrington.
For just $2,200, you can own this original oil painting by Mark Baker of Padraig Harrington. (Courtesy of The Street Gallery)

Padraig Harrington: 18 reasons to jump on the Irishman's bandwagon

William K. WolfrumBy William K. Wolfrum,

As 2008 began, there was only one male golfer that mattered - Tiger Woods. Some golf experts even went so far as to exclaim in a burst of hyperbole that Woods could finish 2008 unbeaten. And while Woods was unable to keep up his unbeatable pace, he still brought home four victories, including a dramatic and inspirational win at the U.S. Open.

Ah, but that was so long ago and so much has changed. Having limped off the golf course directly to knee surgery, Woods has announced he won't even be picking up a golf club until 2009 and has now dropped out of the 2008 picture. At first blush, one would imagine that Tiger's disappearance from the PGA Tour would effectively end the venerable tour's existence.

Luckily, the worst-case scenario has been avoided thanks to an Irishman. By winning the last two majors of the 2008 campaign, Padraig Harrington has stepped up his name and his game to become golf's shining star. Not convinced that Harrington is The Man? Well, here is a full round of reasons why now is the time to appreciate Europe's best golfer.

18 reasons to love Padraig Harrington

1. His name. Let's face it, Tiger Woods would be diminished if his name was Norm Flossburg. For a gofer from Ireland, the name Padraig Harrington jumps out at you. It's the euphonic Irish version of "Shaquille O'Neal."

2. Of course, "Padraig" is the Irish name for "Patrick."

3. His win at the PGA Championship was a bonanza for golf punters as bookies reportedly lost about $10 million.

4. He has had a hand in the Olympics, as Irish boxer Kenny Egan still talks about a conversation he had with Harrington.

5. Feel like disrespecting Harrington? No sweat, the starter at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational has now twice forgotten to introduce the Irishman as the reigning British Open champion.

6. He's moved up to No. 3 in the world golf rankings, threatening to overtake Phil Mickelson.

7. He is hearing the drumbeats for the 2008 Player of the Year award.

8. He hasn't read a newspaper or magazine article about himself in a decade.

9. He's a distant cousin to failed NFL quarterback Joey Harrington (who has two career aces on the golf course to go along with 85 career interceptions).

10. He's lobbied European Ryder Cup boss Nick Faldo to include Colin Montgomerie on the 2008 team, doing his part to make life better for those who live to mock Monty.

11. Sir Alex Ferguson, coach of champions Manchester United of the English Premiere League, has told his players to look to Harrington for inspiration in defending their soccer title.

12. He is the only player to have been partnered with Tiger Woods in a tournament five or more times and outscored him.

13. If he could, he'd putt in tournaments without his left shoe. Really.

14. An oil painting of Harrington done by artist Mark Baker is selling for $2,200.

15. He makes Sergio Garcia's life miserable.

16. He's married to his childhood sweetheart and his brother-in-law is his caddie.

17. His new book, Padraig Harrington's Journey to the Open is available at his Web site, with all proceeds going to the Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation.

18. If he wasn't a golfer, he'd have been an accountant.

And on the 19th hole

19. Following his first British Open championship in 2007, he did Ireland proud by drinking Guinness from the Claret Jug.

William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Painting

    Wong wrote on: Aug 26, 2008

    This Mark Baker guy obviously hates Padraig...