‘He was a very sore loser’: Harrington pulls no punches on reasons for rivalry with Garcia

Padraig Harrington gave a very honest answer when asked about the perceived rivalry between himself and newly-crowned Masters champion Sergio Garcia.

The Irish major winner raised a few eyebrows over the weekend when he laughingly suggested he was not as keen as the rest of the golfing world to see Garcia win.

Asked to explain why, he said: “Look, we’re different guys. Everybody works in a workforce and if you had 150 guys in your workforce, there’s some guys you get on with and there’s some guys you don’t necessarily.”

Harrington was a guest on 2FM’s Game On programme last night and, unsurprisingly, listeners were keen to hear the full story.

Harrington did not disappoint.

“It's very simple. Myself and Sergio have been on tour pretty much as long as each other. We would have been the opposite. His is a very flamboyant game, everything comes easy. There were periods he never practised. We were such opposites. I worked at it, grinded it out. Got the best out of it.

“I’m very strong on the etiquette of the game, so I don’t tolerate people spitting in the hole, throwing their shoes or throwing golf clubs. That would be my attitude. And it would be quite clear from where I came from.”

Harrington went on to suggest Garcia’s reaction when beaten left a lot to be desired.

“Then we went into the majors and obviously I beat him in the majors. I gave him every out I possibly could have at the 2007 Open.

“I was as polite as I could and was as generous as I could be, but he was a very sore loser. And he continued to be a very sore loser,” Harrington said.

“So clearly, after that, we have a very sticky wicket, I’d say. The Ryder Cup improved it no end. We say hello to each other every day but it is through gritted teeth, there is no doubt about it. I know he is watching what I am doing and I am watching what he is doing. It is one of those things. He's a rival.”

If you think Harrington sounds overly critical, it is something he acknowledges himself. He accepts his view may have been coloured by a perception that golf came easy to Garcia, the opposite of Harrington’s work ethic and constant self-analysis.

“Maybe I am a bit harsh with the fact that I look and say, well, everything comes easy to Sergio. But clearly it hasn't come easy to him, it really hasn’t.

“You could see in that moment in time that he has probably paid his dues. I might have had a chip on my shoulder about that - has Sergio paid his dues? I suppose he was a bigger star than he was performer at one stage.”

And despite his earlier remarks on Sky Sports, Harrington said he was delighted to see the Spaniard win.

“He has definitely paid his dues now. I could see it in his emotion. I could see that as a competitor and I could appreciate that. I was very happy for him, no doubt about it, in that moment.”

KEYWORDS: sport, golf.


By Grainne McGuinness

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