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Padraig Harrington 'startled'...
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Padraig Harrington 'startled' by McIlroy's drive for distance

Padraig Harrington says he was 'startled' by Rory McIlroy's admission that some of his poor form could be down to his desire to hit the ball further. 

After struggling at The Players Championship, the former world number one admitted that his swing issues could be down to trying to increase his swing speed and keep up with Bryson DeChambeau.

However, European Ryder Cup captain Harrington says that while he understands the approach, he was somewhat taken aback.

"It's not like I haven't done it myself, so I'm not going to sit here and pass judgment on him," the Dubliner said, speaking ahead of this week's Honda Classic.

"I'm startled, Rory used that tool exactly in 2010 and 2011,"

"Rory's long-hitting and just hitting more drivers allowed the likes of DJ, Bubba Watson, J.B. Holmes...they were all trying to play golf like the rest of us at that stage.

"Rory came out and starting hitting drivers on more holes, being more aggressive off the tee.

"That's when you started seeing these guys freeing up and going, 'oh, maybe we should hit drivers.'

"What you do see on Tour now is pretty much the whole field now hits drivers on holes that used to be a lay-up off the tee, we all push that risk.

Ahead of the Ryder Cup later this year, Harrington also spoke about Shane Lowry.

The Offaly man produced some excellent form to finish in the top ten at The Players - and his fellow countryman was impressed.

"Shane has been playing probably the best golf I've ever seen him play of recent," he said.

"He hasn't been putting very well.

"As I've said about a few players, I'm never unhappy to see a player playing well but not quite get the results at this time of the year because I know they're going to turn around for Shane.

"I can see good form there, and when it does turn around, it's going to be at the appropriate time of the year. It's going to be coming into, as you said, the majors, and then following up into the Ryder Cup. It is strange that Shane would be a rookie, but you do kind of think of him as a senior player."

Harrington also said he was pleased to see Lee Westwood in contention over the last two weekends on the PGA Tour.

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