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Published: 14:59 | 17/7/17

Harrington confident ahead of the Open

Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington says experience will be key at this week's Open at Royal Birkdale.

The Dubliner won the Open title at the Southport course in 2008, and, after a creditable fifth-placed finish at the Scottish Open on Sunday, the 45-year-old feels in good shape to repeat the feat this week.

"I think of all the major tournaments, The Open is the one where age is the least of a barrier," he said.

"There is still a huge amount down to strategy and experience and managing your way round the golf course.

"I believe I'm the best player in the game at the moment who can manage his way round one of these golf courses. I walk onto a links course and think: 'I have an advantage'."

Harrington also says his feud with Sergio Garcia, dating back to his 2007 Open win at Carnoustie, is now over after clear-the-air talks with the world number five at Rory McIlroy's wedding in April.

Harrington was in the Sky Sports commentary box when Garcia won the Masters on 9 April, first major victory at the 74th time of asking, and admitted on air that the pair still had a strained relationship ten years on.

But the pair spoke at McIlroy's wedding to Erica Stoll on 22 April, and resolved their differences.  

"I would be happy if Sergio won. He has certainly paid his dues," Harrington continued.

"I probably had a chip on my shoulder back then at how talented Sergio seemed and Sergio probably had the same with me — I'd got my major, why hadn't he?

"But I'm looking forward to a much better relationship with Sergio going forwards. We always got on well at Ryder Cups.

"It would be nice if that was to continue going forward. You never want a situation where you have tension between two players dragging the both of you down."

Harrington will play alongside America's Pat Perez and Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters in the opening two rounds at Birkdale this week.

Photo Getty Images/ Andrew Redington

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