Padraig Harrington: "It just struck me how poor my language to myself had been"

Portugal Masters winner on the ingredients that propelled him to victory

Padraig Harrington, golf

Padraig Harrington hits the ball out of a bunker during the 73th Italy Open Golf Championship in Monza, Italy, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Padraig Harrington says the final stage of his Portugal Masters victory wasn't as stressful as it looked from the outside.

The three-time major winner triumphed by one shot to beat England's Andy Sullivan and consequently move back into the world's Top 100 in the rankings.

There was late drama on the 18th when he missed the green but was able to recover with calm to par the hole and secure victory.

In an interview with Off The Ball, the Dubliner spoke about how relaxed he really was in those moments.

"Obviously people said to me I had those eyes and I looked like I was in the zone. But I was probably the most relaxed I've ever been in and around the tournament, in between shots, compared to any of my wins in my career. So I was in a very good place," he said.

"On 18, from the outside it did look like a bit of drama. But to be honest, with a one-shot lead, that's the only way you can play the hole down the right. I didn't get a great lie and the only place to hit it from there is down the right again. Thankfully my game is built on the ability to get up and down around the green. It wasn't the most stressful position for me to be where I was."   

He admitted that his style of play lends itself to a bit of tension and excitement for onlookers.

"My friend texted me during the week and he said I 'play golf like Rocky Balboa plays golf', so there's always a bit of the 'he's down and out and he's going to come back' type thing. So in terms of people watching, there's always a bit of excitement about the way I get it done," he said. 

After a positive summer with his swing, Harrington had been confident of a "bumper week" when it all came together and as he said "Portugal was that week" because the course and grass suited his style.

"I also got my attitude right," he said.

"During the week, I was reading a book by Dave Alred, who I work with, called The Pressure Principle. It just struck me how poor my self-talk, my language to myself had been in and around the golf. I focused on that during the week and it definitely added a bit of gel that brought everything together."

He added that even his "physical posture changed" because of the more positive messages he was telling himself when minor setbacks occurred.

"I was very good to myself. I was very nice to myself last week and I love the fact that you could actually see it physically, even though it's completely mental," he explained.