Padraig Harrington (born 31 August 1971) is an Irish professional golfer. He has won tournaments on the European Tour and the PGA Tour. He won the 2007 Open Championship, in which he defeated Sergio García in a four-hole playoff by one stroke. In doing so, he became the first European to win a major since Paul Lawrie won the same tournament in 1999, at the same venue (Carnoustie in Angus, Scotland). He was crowned the European Tour Golfer of the Year for 2007. He was voted Irish Person of the Year at the People of the Year Awards in 2007.
Harrington was born in Ballyroan, Dublin, Ireland. After a successful amateur career, including winning the Walker Cup with the Great Britain & Ireland team in 1995, Harrington turned professional later that year, joining the European Tour in 1996.
His first victory came quickly, in the 1996 Peugeot Spanish Open, however it was not until 2000 that he discovered the winning touch, and he had at least one win on the European Tour each year from then up to 2004. He has finished in the top ten on the European Tour’s Order of Merit seven times, including second places in 2001 and 2002 and third places in 2003 and 2004 and eventually won the Order of Merit in 2006. In 2007, Harrington won the European Tour Golfer of the Year award.
Harrington’s 2006 European Order of Merit win came after a titanic battle with Paul Casey and David Howell which was won on the last hole of the last event. Sergio García bogeyed the 72nd hole in the season ending Volvo Masters to give Harrington a share of second place which earned him enough money to leapfrog Paul Casey to 1st place on the Order of Merit.
From around 2000, Harrington appeared with increasing frequency in the U.S. at the majors and World Golf Championships events, and as a sponsor’s invitee. He won his first professional event in the U.S. at the Target World Challenge, a non-PGA Tour event hosted by Tiger Woods in 2002. In both 2003 and 2004 he was the runner up in the prestigious Players Championship, and in the latter year he won enough money on the PGA Tour as a non-member to earn an invitation to the end of season Tour Championship. He took membership of the PGA Tour for 2005 and in March he won his first PGA Tour official money event at the Honda Classic in a sudden death playoff. Later that June, Harrington snatched the Barclays Classic from Jim Furyk with a spectacular 65-foot eagle putt on the final hole of the final round for his second PGA Tour win.
Harrington has spent a considerable amount of time both in the top ten of the Official World Golf Rankings (over 200 weeks between 2001 and 2008) and as the highest ranked European golfer, his best ranking being sixth. He has also played for Europe in four Ryder Cups; losing in 1999 but winning in 2002, 2004 and 2006.Harrington has also won the par-3 contest at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Harrington has been married to his wife Caroline since 1997 and has a son, Patrick, born in 2003. Their second child, Ciaran, was born in November 2007.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Padraig Harrington”.