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PADRAIG Harrington and Sergio Garcia have never seen eye-to-eye.
The Ryder Cup teammates cracked the European Tour around the same time in the late 90s and their rivalry was forged over some great battles in the majors, won by Harrington.
But the beef, at least from Irishman Harrington’s perspective, stems mostly from the fact they are “complete opposites” as golfers and people.
“His is a very flamboyant game, everything comes easy,” Harrington told Irish radio station 2FM this week as he reflected on Garcia’s drought breaking Masters win.
“There were periods 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 throwing golf clubs.
“That would be my attitude. And that would be quite clear where I came from.”
Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia after the 2007 British Open.
Harrington believes it was the peak of his own career when Garcia really showed his true colours.
The Spaniard finished runner-up to Harrington in two of the Irishman’s three major triumphs — at the 2007 British Open and the 2008 PGA Championship — and did not take it well.
“Obviously I beat him at the majors. I gave him every out I possibly could at the 2007 Open. I was as polite and generous as I could be, but he was a very sore loser,” Harrington said.
“And he continued to be a very sore loser.
“So clearly, after that, we have had a very sticky wicket.
“The Ryder Cup improved it (our relationship) no end. We say hello to each other every day we meet but it’s through gritted teeth, there is no doubt about it.
“I know he is watching what I am doing and I am watching what he is doing. It is one of those things. We’re rivals.”
Harrington, 45, watched Garcia’s breakthrough triumph closely in his new role as a commentator for Sky Sports.
Even he could not begrudge his old foe’s major success, at the 74th time of trying.
“I was delighted to see the emotion on the 18th green. Really delighted,” Harrington said.
“Anyone watching that has got to feel for him … Maybe I am a bit harsh with the fact that I say, well, everything comes easy to Sergio. But clearly it hasn’t come easy to him. It really hasn’t.
“You could see in that moment in time that he has probably paid his dues. I might have had a chip on my shoulder about that.
“Had Sergio paid his dues? I suppose he was a bigger star than he was performer at one stage.
“But has definitely paid his dues now. I could see it in his emotion
“His future wife, I met her at the Ryder Cup, she is a lovely girl. I can feel for them. Everyone likes the parents. There was a lot of things going on but the genuine emotion and the thrill of winning, I could see that as a competitor and I could appreciate that.
“I was very happy for him, no doubt about it, in that moment.”
Listen to the full interview on 2FM’s Game On here.