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Padraig Harrington is making his second appearance in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. (Photo: Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington PGA Grand Slam of Golf Profile

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By Bob Denney, The PGA of America

Padraig Harrington erased one streak a year ago at the 2007 Open Championship by becoming the first Irishman in 60 years to win golf's oldest major championship.

The man from Dublin made this season that more memorable when he captured a second consecutive Open Championship, this time rallying past 53-year-old Greg Norman at Royal Birkdale on the back nine.

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Can we add that Paddy was nursing an ailing right wrist that he injured in training with an impact bag? If this sounds too much like boxer Jim Braddock in Cinderella Man, then we beg your pardon.

Some things that Harrington has accomplished over the past two seasons are worthy of legend. Barely a month after his Royal Birkdale high, Harrington put on another clinic in course management in the 90th PGA Championship at vaunted Oakland Hills Country Club.

He slipped past Spain's Sergio Garcia on the final few holes, including a pressure-pacted par-saving putt on the 72nd hole to become the first European player in the modern era to win back-to-back major championships.

He also joined Walter Hagen (1924), Nick Price (1994), and Tiger Woods (2000, '06) as the only players to win an Open Championship and PGA Championship in the same season. Not to be overshadowed, Harrington also snapped a 78-year hex in the PGA Championship to become the first European since Scotland's Tommy Armour in 1930 to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy.

Two years ago, Harrington missed the cut in the Open Championship and the PGA Championship. Since then, he has won three of six majors with closing rounds in the 60s (67 at Carnoustie in 2007, 69 at Royal Birkdale and 66 at Oakland Hills).

By "Dublin'" up at Oakland Hills, Harrington became the player to beat in majors as Tiger Woods, the world's No. 1 and the reigning U.S. Open champion, plots his return to competition following reconstructive knee surgery in June.

Harrington's bloodlines are perhaps one clue to his pluck and determination. He is a distant cousin of 1995 World Series of Poker champion and author Dan Harrington and NFL quarterback Joey Harrington.

Harrington's late father, Paddy, a Garda (Irish police officer), played Gaelic football for Cork. The elder Harrington passed away from cancer days before the 2005 Open Championship.

Padraig began playing the game at age 4, and would hone his skills at Stackstown, a club that his father helped build overlooking the city.

His love for the game and competition grew from having two brothers, an uncle and a father who were all strong players. By age 15, Harrington was a scratch player.

He received coaching from PGA Professionals David Jones and Howard Bennett, was successful in many home and international amateur events, and began polishing his match-play skills. He would later get the coaching that would carry him to a professional career from Bob Torrance, the father of Europe's 2002 Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance.

He has now become golf's next great "closer."

Currently, the man from Dublin also is dabbling in leaving his imprint on the land he loves. He chose the location of The Marlbrook, Clonmel in County Tipperary to design his first golf course.

Set in the heart of the Golden Vale, The Marlbrook is a 500-acre 18th century parkland estate overlooking the picturesque River Suir.

"I have been looking for the perfect location for my first golf course design and I found it at The Marlbrook," Harrington proudly declares on his web site. "I knew we could create something special."

If Harrington's course matches his craftsmanship as a player, Irish golfers are once again in for a treat.

The Padraig Harrington File
PGA Grand Slam of Golf Appearances:2007 (T1, lost in playoff to Angel Cabrera), 2008
Major Championship Wins:Open Championship 2007, 2008; PGA Championship 2008
Worldwide Victories:21
Birthdate:August 31, 1971
Birthplace:Dublin, Ireland
Residence:Dublin, Ireland
Family:Wife, Caroline; children, Patrick (2003), Ciaran (2007)
Special Interests:Snooker, tennis, all sports
Turned Professional:1995

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