Take the good with the bad, says golf star

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 December, 2004, 12:00am

'If you never take a chance on hitting a bad shot, you'll never hit a good one.'

That was the advice Irish golf champion Padraig Harrington gave to a group of young fans on the opening day of the Omega Hong Kong Golf Open last week.

Harrington, last year's Hong Kong champion, was joined by fellow-Ryder Cup stars David Howell, of Britain, and Miguel Angel Jimenez, of Spain, for the two-hour session at Fanling Golf Club.

The junior clinic began with a press conference, where around 50 children aged four to 14 gathered, pens, hats and cameras at the ready. The three stars spoke about their good opening-day performances which placed them at the top of the leader board, five-under-par, after each carded a 65, one shot behind the leader, Australia's Adam Groom.

Harrington said his success last year gave him an advantage. 'I remember some good and bad shots I played last year. I had a bad experience in one hole. So this time I used a three-wood [a different club],' he said.

The fun-loving Jimenez, sporting a pony tail and goatee beard, was popular with the children. 'I try to enjoy every single moment of competitive golf,' he said.

Three children won Omega T-shirts in a quiz game. Out on the practise course, the three players split up, giving valuable tips to small groups of children.

Harrington and Jimenez focused on driving and chip shots, while Howells showed off his putting skills.

'When you are a beginner, always try to hit the ball as hard and far as you can,' said Harrington. 'Don't be too concerned with accuracy. Hitting it far is more fun. As long as you keep your balance, you can hit it long.'

'The most important word in golf is rhythm,' said Jimenez. 'When you focus and have a routine, you can concentrate.'

Harrington wrapped up the session with a trick shot where he chipped the ball and caught it in his hand in the same movement. 'When you feel nervous in sport, that is a good thing. It means you're having fun,' he said.