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Harrington hopeful and McIlroy in shape for US Masters

With one of golf’s prestigious events; the US Masters drawing nearer, Padraig Harrington booked his place at the tournament after winning the Honda Classic.

The three-time major winner and one of the sport’s most likeable characters is 150/1 with Coral to win the famous Green Jacket, and will be looking for an improvement on last year.

Understandably delighted after hearing the news that he had made the tournament, Harrington admitted that he thinks he has found out the reason for his poor form last year.

“I kind of found something in the mental game, which has been going wrong,” the Irishman said.

“I really do believe in myself. I think I found that mental edge I’ve been lacking the last number of years.”

It is perhaps no surprise that the pre-tournament favourite is Rory McIlroy at 11/2, with the Northern Irishman only needing the US Masters to complete a grand slam of majors.

The 25-year-old has undergone a rigorous regime as part of his preparation, which, surprisingly has revolved around the gym.

“It was when I started to notice results that I fell in love with it,” explained last year’s Open and PGA Championship winner.

“I wasn’t really big into the gym, so my physical training was pretty much non-existent from when I turned pro at 18 until I turned 21.

“I had three years when I was playing professionally on the Tour, doing OK but not, I guess, maximising my potential by coming into the gym and doing the work that I needed to do.

“I ended up having a few niggles here and there – a few little injuries which, had I let them go on longer, could have turned into serious issues that could have put me out for a while.

“So it was definitely out of necessity that I started – for injury prevention more than anything else. Then the more you get into, you find yourself wanting to get stronger. You want to see what your limits are and to test your body physically. I really started to get into it and it became part of my lifestyle,” he continued.

“Up to that point it hadn’t been – I’d just played golf without really training much or watching what I ate. Now, obviously, things are very different.”

His biggest threat is likely to come in the form of American contingent, Bubba Watson (10/1), Jordan Spieth (10/1), Jason Day (12/1) and Dustin Johnson (16/1), while 2013 winner Adam Scott is an 18/1 shot. Tiger Woods will be hoping to get back to tournament winning ways, and is 33/1 to win what would be his fifth US Masters.