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Padraig Harrington combines curiosity with conifidence

Padraig Harrington wins Hoag Classic Newport Beach for seventh win

PINEHURST, N.C. — In the early days of his career — when he’d accumulated just a few of his 30-odd worldwide wins but none of his major championships and was on no one’s radar for the World Golf Hall of Fame, which he enters today — Padraig Harrington took pride in the fact that there were corners of Ireland in which he was better known for being Paddy Harrington’s son.

Harrington the elder, who died in 2005, was a footballer of some repute, but Gaelic games are an amateur sport so he worked as a cop for the Garda Siochána, Ireland’s police force. His team twice reached All-Ireland finals, the equivalent of a Super Bowl, losing both. By contrast, Brendan Lowry (father of Shane) was on a winning team in 1982 and probably hasn’t had to buy a drink in his home county since. Even against that fervent backdrop, Padraig Harrington would have to admit now that there’s not a village in the land in which he isn’t the best-known member of his clan.

And villagers from Mizen Head to Malin Head don’t need the Hall of Fame to tell them that.

Halls of Fame aren’t really a thing in Ireland. In the United States, regardless of the sport, HOFs are often a subject of heated debate about the appropriateness of the criteria or the admissions and omissions among its members. Golf’s is no different. Most folks deserving of a spot have gotten there, some via the express lane (Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson both won majors after being inducted in their early ‘40s), and some condemned to arrive on the slow bus.

Golfweek Q&A: First-ballot Hall of Fame talker Padraig Harrington shares wit and wisdom on day of induction into World Golf Hall of Fame

Peggy Kirk Bell, for example. She was a charter member of the LPGA Tour and a legendary teacher at Pine Needles, her family’s resort five miles east of Pinehurst, where the new Hall of Fame building debuts during this week’s U.S. Open. Bell was inducted in 2019, three years after she died at age 95. The 2024 HOF class includes seven deceased founders of the LPGA Tour who aren’t already in. One of them, Shirley Spork, passed two years ago. She was 94. Also being inducted is Tom Weiskopf, who left us in ’22 at 79. They aren’t the only new inductees who won’t be alive to give speeches Monday evening. Golf’s Hall is so inclined to posthumous awards that one feels a little extra gratitude when it chooses an honoree who is deserving and above ground.

With Padraig Harrington, the Hall got it right, and…


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