Padraig Harrington exclusive: Three-time Major winner on PGA Championship

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Padraig Harrington has admitted to feeling a sense of 'burden' after the Irishman won three major titles between 2007 and 2008, including back-to-back Opens. 

The 42-year-old Dubliner spoke exclusively to GiveMeSport ahead of this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth - the European Tour's flagship event hosted in Surrey each year. 

Harrington memorably wrote his place in golfing history when he saw off fellow European Sergio Garcia at the 2008 US PGA at Oakland Hills, but embarked on his first winless season for a decade in the year that followed. 

Speaking on the eve this week's tournament, the former two-time Open champion told GiveMeSport: "It certainly brings a burden when you've won major titles. You try and live up to that all the time. They are peaks when you win a tournament like that, so it is a question of understanding that you're not going to play like that every week and not getting frustrated. 

"It is tough. Very few people win majors and end up playing better because of it."

Harrington sealed his maiden major title seven years ago at Carnoustie as he pipped Garcia for the first time, before going on to defend the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale the following year. 

In the month that followed his second major win, he announced himself as a great of the game with victory in America at the season-ending US PGA. 

However, the Irishman has not won since that victory six years ago, a run he is hoping to end this week in England.

"It is a great event, a great venue, no doubt about that, and I think every player would want to put this on their CV at the end of their career. It is a big, tough course too. Whoever wins this tournament will know all about it at the end, they'll have been put under some severe pressure on a course like this," he added. 

On the Wednesday before play begins, it is tradition for the professionals to play a practice round with amateurs from different fields. Rory McIlroy, who announced in the morning he had split from fiancee Caroline Wozniacki, teed it up with Phil Neville, Teddy Sheringham and Peter Schmeichel - a feature Harrington believes helps players improve their concentration and discipline.

"Obviously, you're playing with amateurs. It is a practice round, so you get to see the course, and you kind of have to go in and out of concentration," he explained. You kind of switch off, chat with the guys and maybe give them a few tips, then hit a shot.

"That's good discipline, to be able to switch it on and off, and it's the kind of thing you need to do in the tournament."

Harrington, an ambassador for the Special Olympics, also gave up time to speak about his charity work. 

"The great thing about it is; you turn up, do your bit of work and always walk away getting much more out of it than you put in. It's amazing how much effort the Special Olympic Athletes' are, and how loving and giving they are.

"They really are exceptional people and it's great to work with them."

Harrington begins his tournament early tomorrow morning alongside fellow Open winner Darren Clarke and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee. 

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