Let’s start with this: We don’t get along with everybody we meet.
Often there’s nothing wrong with this, sometimes personalities just don’t mesh. It happens.
So when Padraig Harrington talks about his past issues with Sergio Garcia, it may be blunt … but it’s also refreshingly honest.
Harrington spoke on Irish radio station RTE 2fm’s “Game On” show following Garcia’s 2017 Masters win – the 37-year-old Spaniard’s long-awaited first major title.
The 45-year-old Irishman did congratulate Garcia on a special win.
“I was delighted to see the emotion on the 18th green,” Harrington told RTE 2fm. “Anybody watching that has got to feel for him. You could see in that moment in time that he has paid his dues.”
But there’s famously been plenty of antipathy between the two former rivals. Harrington has always been open about this, as far back as 2008 saying, “We have zero in common, bar the fact that we both play golf. He is the antithesis of me, and I am the antithesis of him.”
And clearly the fractious relationship remains.
Ahead of the final round Sunday, Harrington, working in the commentary booth at the Masters for Sky Sports, was asked about the heart wanting Garcia to win, “Well, maybe not mine.”
His post-Masters comments were even more telling.
When Harrington, a three-time major champion, got talking about his relationship with Garcia on RTE 2fm, he did not hold back. At all.
“His is a very flamboyant game, everything comes easy,” Harrington said. “There were periods when he never practiced. 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 their golf clubs. That would be my attitude. That would be quite clear from where I came from.”
Oh, we’re just getting started. Harrington defeated Garcia in contentious battles at the 2007 Open Championship and 2008 PGA Championship to win both majors.
When Harrington talked about how Garcia handled that first loss (at least), he really pulled no punches.
“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,” Harrington said. “And he continued to be a very sore loser. Clearly, after that, we have had a very sticky (relationship).”
And just to reiterate where they stand in the present, about a decade later…
“We say hello to each other every day we meet, but it’s with gritted teeth. There’s no doubt about it.”
So yeah, definitely no love lost between these two still. Are Harrington’s comments harsh? Maybe, but as we said, the honesty is appreciated.
Harrington’s not trying to take away from Garcia’s victory, either. His past relationship with Garcia is of interest, and that’s what he’s answering truthfully to.
Anyway, it’s all fascinating. Where do you stand on the less-than-cordial relationship between Harrington and Garcia?