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Paddy happy to join the party again

There’s good reason Ireland’s Padraig Harrington enjoys his visits to Bermuda.He loves the Island and the people, maybe almost as much as his own Emerald Isle, and then there’s the fact that he returns home an awful lot richer than when he arrived.The Grand Slam of Golf, which will be played next Tuesday and Wednesday at Port Royal, has been labelled by some as a fun event, almost an exhibition not to be taken too seriously.Paddy probably wouldn’t agree.Last year, as an alternate as he is this year, he picked a winner’s cheque of $600,000.In 2008 at Mid Ocean Club he was denied first place in a play-off because Jim Furyk eagled the 18th hole which had been stretched to a par-five but still came away with some $300,000.And the year before he was relegated to second when Angel Cabrera won a play-off, again eagling the 18th, but was also handed a cheque for a similar amount.Bermuda has been kind to him.He’s banked $1.2 million in the three times he’s played here.PGA tournaments these days offer ridiculous, almost obscene purses — often over a million for first place. Major champions are usually rewarded in the region of $1.5 million.Winner of the recent FedEx series, Henrik Stenson, was presented with a cool $10 million.But for two days work against only three competitors, Harrington won’t be complaining.A former European top money-earner, he’s found Bermuda a happy hunting ground and will feel he still has something to prove against Masters champion Adam Scott, US Open winner Justin Rose and PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner.After a disappointing season last year, Harrington told reporters he was hoping the win at Port Royal would be the start of a revival.Unfortunately it hasn’t happened that way.There have been glimpses of the form which reaped enormous rewards earlier in his career. He won the British Open in 2007, repeated as champion in 2008 and then went on to claim the PGA Championship that same year.The affable Irishman was tipped for more honours, but hasn’t been able to replicate that kind of success.That’s not unusual. The vast majority of top professionals would be ecstatic just to win one major. Ask Colin Montgomerie, for many years the leading European money winner but never a major champion.Lee Westwood may be on the same course. A perennial contender in the last 10 years, he’s always fallen just short.The Slam is anything but a major, even though it’s designed to feature the year’s major winners. Of course, rarely does that happen as was the case with Phil Mickelson who declined an invitation this year. Tiger Woods has chosen not to play in Bermuda despite opportunities to do so.Interestingly before the Slam came to Bermuda, Tiger had played five of the previous seven tournaments in Hawaii.Yet should Harrington fail to win a major next year, and the odds are he won’t, and there’s another slot to be filled next October, the Irishman will be happy to oblige.* * * *More than a thousand women and girls took to the road last Sunday for the annual PartnerRe 5K and 2K, making it by the far the most popular race in Bermuda, bar none.Not everyone ran, there were plenty of competitive walkers, and many who simply wanted to be a part of the occasion.Even the May 24th Derby, with both men and women, can’t compete with those numbers.And it’s difficult to explain.Is it because it’s so very well organised?Or because it raises thousands of dollars for charity?Or, more likely, is it because the girls still think that anything we do, they can do better.On last week’s evidence, they might have a point.