Padraig Harrington has gone bionic in his attempt to create golf’s perfect swing.
The three-time Major winner has been using biomechanics and kinetic sequencing to make himself an even greater player.
It is one reason why the Irish star’s wife Caroline, coach Bob Rotella and caddy Ronan Flood lectured him on becoming too technical. They fear Harrington, famously obsessive about detail, has been going too far in his quest for new greatness.
Harrington admitted: “I have been working with an expert called Dr Paul Hurrion on biomechanics. This has been a collaboration between myself, my coach Bob Torrance and my swing adviser in the USA, Bob Rotella.
“The great thing is that I don’t completely rely on what I am being told in terms of biomechanics. “Bob Torrance has an incredible eye and can see what I need to be doing. When he spots something that has to be worked on, we alert the biomechanics guys and we build a programme to match what Bob Torrance wants to see me doing.” The field of biomechanics has become more and more important to the game’s biggest stars.
It analyses and improves a player’s swing using the kind of statistical and 3D motion capture technology used in movie animation. Fitness and swing coach Marc Wahl said: “Tiger Woods is so good that he has made everybody else search for that extra five per cent here, and another five per cent there that can get them closer to him.”
Another player who has become involved in the appliance of this science is Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell – and weeks after he was wired up at 12 different points of his body he won the Tavistock Cup. And Henrik Stenson, who blew away the field at Sawgrass last week to win with a sensational final round of 66, started using biomechanics the week before The Masters.
The worry for Harrington’s wife and advisers is that he focused too much on the technicalities. I can see why that might be a concern. But Padraig is working with Dr Paul Hurrion, who is perhaps the best in the world in this field.
“No golfer, especially not one as brilliant as Padraig, wants to make himself a robot.
“What I do say is that greater understanding of how the body works will give anybody a better swing and down the line, even if it has not happened so far, Padraig should emerge even better. You only have to look at Stenson to see what can be possible.”
Padraig Harrington – 3D TPI software
By Ken Lawrence 17/05/2009