In the past 50 years, only four golfers have accomplished the rare feat of back-to-back victories at The Open: Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and Pádraig Harrington.
Three of those players were quick to make their mark on the big stage. Trevino won on his fourth major outing – at the 1968 U.S. Open – before claiming the Claret Jug for the first time at just the third attempt, Watson was victorious on his debut Open appearance in 1975 and Woods marked his maiden major as a professional with a sensational runaway victory in the 1997 Masters.
For Harrington (above), however, twin triumphs at Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale in 2007 and 2008 represented rewards for a patient and prolonged pursuit of glory.
The Irishman was 35 years old and into his 12th season as a professional when he first tasted major success. Other players may have been frustrated by such a wait, but Harrington’s experiences as a youngster ensured he was more than comfortable with taking gradual steps to the top of the game.
“I meet kids now who are off scratch at 12 or whatever. It was different for me,” Harrington said. “I never had a lesson until I was 15 years of age and I was playing for Ireland. I got picked, you got into a coaching system, that’s the first time I ever had a formal lesson in my life.”
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