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Harrington seeks balance in build-up to Masters bid

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who will be vying for a third straight major championship at the Masters next month, says his build-up to Augusta is all about balance.

other Updated: Mar 25, 2009 10:20 IST

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who will be vying for a third straight major championship at the Masters next month, says his build-up to Augusta is all about balance.

"Ideally, if I were to be absolutely competitive and sharp I'd probably have played 15 events by this stage - and that's not going to happen," Harrington said on Tuesday as he prepared for this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

"Because I'd be burnt out by the PGA in August. I'll have played seven or eight events going into the Masters, which I hope is enough."

Harrington successfully defended his British Open title at Birkdale last July, and three weeks later he captured his third major title at the PGA Championship.

A victory at Augusta this year would make him just the third player ever, along with Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods, to win three majors in a row.

Harrington said he tried not to let that possibility increase the pressure on him to perform.

"Yes, it would be a nice bonus to win three majors in a row, but does it make much difference whether I win this one or one win in a year's time or two years' time? No, I'm quite patient," he said.

"It doesn't have to happen this time around. I'm not going to get drawn into this, that if I go to the Masters and I don't win that there's a failure in that, that it takes away in any way from the last two majors."

Harrington said he has a "few issues" to sort out in his game. He was beaten in the first round of the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play tournament and finished tied for 20th in the WGC CA Championship at Doral two weeks ago.

"I definitely drove the ball poorly in Doral, and I really need to drive the ball better. The rest of my game was fine... That's what I'm going to look at this week, and hopefully that improves this week going forward."

After Doral Harrington spent a week at home, enjoying the excitement of Ireland's Six Nations rugby Grand Slam.

The feat drew some of the nation's sports spotlight off Harrington, as has the return from injury of Tiger Woods and the emergence of Ulster teenager Rory McIlroy.

"It's all the better for me," he said. "That makes me better able to manage my own time and cope with what I'm doing."