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Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie
Padraig Harrington, who posed with fellow British Open champion Paul Lawrie this week, might have one more picture to pose for if he wins. (Getty Images)

Harrington's hoping for a slight change of scenery in near future

Padraig Harrington's practice room at his home features a huge mural of St. Andrews. If he wins this week, Paddy plans to paint himself with the Claret Jug right into the picture.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (PA) -- Two-time champion Padraig Harrington hopes he can put a call in to the decorators when the British Open finishes.

The Irishman has an indoor practice room in his Dublin home that has been painted to recreate a panoramic view of the 18th hole on the famous Old Course.

However, if Harrington wins the title for a third time in four years at the 150th Anniversary Open, he will consider a minor alteration to the decor -- adding in himself holding the Claret Jug stood on the iconic Swilcan Bridge.

"I have an indoor area with a net and all the gadgets in there, and when I originally had it done I had the walls painted as the 18th hole at St Andrews," said the 38-year-old. "It is a 360-degree panoramic view as if you are standing on the 18th tee with your back to the 17th green.

"It is a nice thing if you sat and looked at it but, unfortunately, I do forget to 'smell the roses' and as I'm practicing away I don't take as much notice as I should,” he explained. "It is one of the most iconic views in golf, looking over the Swilcan Bridge. I'd love to win at St Andrews, but if I don't I won't be getting someone in to repaint the walls. But maybe I will change the scene if I do happen to win."

Harrington became the first European golfer to retain the Claret Jug since James Braid in 1906 when he won back-to-back Opens at Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale in 2007 and 2008. He added the PGA Championship title to his haul two years ago but has not won on either the American or European Tours since then. The world No. 15 is not too concerned by that run though as his form is good and he always has confidence he can compete in majors.

"I have had an interesting season. I have got myself in contention plenty of times but I am performing below my own and other people's expectations, there is no doubt about that," he added. ''Over 50 percent of the time in the last year I have been in the top 10 and I am third in stroke average in the States so it is not that I am not playing well, it is just the results and the expectations are not on the same level.

"I have to be a bit more patient and relaxed. The form is there, I just have to not get in my own way and let it happen,” he said. ''Winning a major is substantially different to playing in regular tournaments because they feel like a sprint while a major is more of a marathon. 'Someone can get away from the field and you don't panic. It comes down to inner calmness and a patience.

"It is far more of a mental test than any ordinary tournament. It is a continuation of being able to play your own game for 72 holes in a little bubble,” he summarized. ''At St. Andrews there will be birdie opportunities -- or at least holes that feel like birdie opportunities -- and it is a question of trying to stay patient.''
 

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