The Loop

The Loop

Rotella Says Harrington Sprain Pays Off

July 20, 2008

SOUTHPORT, England--The fact that Padraig Harrington sprained his right

wrist probably was the best thing that happened to him last week en route to

winning his second straight British Open. That's what Bob Rotella,

Harrington's sport psychologist, would have you believe, even if it is with

the benefit of hindsight.

Standing beside the 18th green at Royal Birkdale moments after Harrington

finished a final-round 69 for a four-stroke victory, Rotella agreed with

the idea that the distraction of the injured wrist--suffered when Harrington

swung a club into an impact bag during a training session the previous

Saturday--allowed the 36-year-old Irishman to focus more on the process of

hitting good shots, even if it curtailed his pre-tournament practice


"He just decided to take it as a blessing," Rotella said after Harrington

learned it wasn't something that he could injure further by playing: " 'I'm

not going to over-practice. I'm not going to over-prepare. I'm not going to

get worn out in the practice days.' He really handled it beautifully."

"It was a great distraction for me," Harrington admited in his post-round

press conference. "It pushed everything about coming back to defend to the

side. It took a lot of pressure off me. It took a lot of stress off me."

Throughout the week, Harrington was in complete control of his emotions,

according to Rotella. "I was saying to him before, 'We can talk every night'--

and we did--'but you know what, you really understand what I want you to do.

There's nothing new.'

"He's so lost in the process, seeing the shot he wants," Rotella continued.

"He's absolutely got it clear in his head: 'My ball always goes where my

last thought is. If I can just get my last thought in the right place, I'm

wonderful.' He's prepared himself to win this week."

Though the injury kept Harrington's attention on his swing, the difficult weather

conditions kept him from thinking too much about the wrist.

"What happens is, you either dwell on the pain or you think about something

else," Rotella said. "I think he thought about the conditions. And you know,

he plays all the time in the wind. He knew he could handle this."

*--Ryan Herrington