‘I Actually Didn’t Know Padraig Was In The Field’ – McIlroy Surprised To See Harrington At Masters

The 32-year-old had no idea Harrington would be at The Masters until he arranged a practice round last week

Rory McIlroy take part in a practice round at Augusta National before the 2022 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Rory McIlroy tees it up at The Masters, there will be one name in the field that, until very recently, the 32-year-old had no idea was performing.

Padraig Harrington will make his first appearance at Augusta National in seven years this week. The 50-year-old secured his place at this year’s first Major of the year thanks to his fourth-place finish at last year’s PGA Championship. Nevertheless, until last week, one man who was unaware of the Irishman’s appearance was McIlroy. The 32-year-old only found out that soon thanks to Harrington’s late inclusion in a practice round with McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Masters debutant Seamus Power at Augusta National earlier this week. McIlroy explained:

Shane and I spend a lot of time together down in Jupiter now that he and his family have moved down there. So, we organised that game last week. Then he texted me and said Seamus is going to join us, and that was great, and then Padraig as well. I actually didn't know Padraig was in the field, which is bad. But I guess he played pretty well in the PGA last year. Yeah, so it was really good fun.” McIlroy also revealed that, as well as being accompanied by his one-year-old daughter at the Par-3 Contest, he will be joined again by Harrington and Lowry. He said: “Shane and I and Padraig are going to play on the Par-3 tomorrow as well, so that will be good fun.

McIlroy certainly seems to be more focused on the changes to Augusta National than the field at this year’s tournament. He took a scouting trip to the course last week as he attempts to win The Masters for the first time. He said: “You know, the club here, it always is making little tweaks and improvements to the golf course, so there's always something to learn. The reason that I came up here a little bit early last week was just to see the couple of changes. 11 is basically a new golf hole. 15 is a little bit different. Then the three new greens, 3, 13, and 17, all with subtle little tweaks to the slopes there. Yeah, you're always learning around this golf course. I don't think that ever changes.”

As for Harrington, he will make history as the oldest winner of the tournament if he claims the Green Jacket. The record currently held by Jack Nicklaus, who was 46 when he won the last of his six Masters in 1986.

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Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.