On the couch with Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington backers need to ask themselves two questions.
Can he win the Open at Turnberry this week? And can he get in the position to win?
The answer to the first is yes, if he does the second. The answer to the second requires a far more complicated debate.
And that, in a nutshell, is the enigma that is Harrington.
The Irishman is going for a third straight Open title and fourth major in all. He dominated world golf last summer in Tiger Woods's absence, and demonstrated much of the winning mentality that has taken the American to 14 major titles.
But driven on by his perfectionist streak, Harrington has been tinkering with his swing to try to further improve his game.
And the current state of play? Five missed cuts in a row before clinching the Irish PGA Championship in his traditional pre-Open warm-up on Sunday.
At his news conference at Turnberry on Tuesday, the first question to Harrington was: "Congratulations on your win in Ireland. How's your form?"
"I would say it's very sketchy, obviously," he replied with typical honesty and openness.
"I've not really shown much form and I'm not really knowing what to expect. I could only be hopeful, rather than expectant, to put in a good performance this week."
Is this Harrington's way of deflecting the attention and expectation this year? Twelve months ago in the days before the Open he was struggling with a wrist injury, which clearly helped divert his, and our, focus.
In the first two rounds of his USPGA win at Oakland Hills last August, Harrington was suffering from dehydration and he admitted afterwards that he thrives when the chips are down.
"I actually struggle with things that are comfortable," he said at the time. "I definitely have a little bit of, I want to be fighting it."
He's certainly got that this time, but the deep-thinking Harrington told reporters it was different.
"I would have been mentally strong and well-prepared for the last couple of Opens," he said.
"It was a different sort of lack of preparation. I had a nice, quiet mind that week. This week, with all the stuff I'm doing with my swing, it's a bit too active. It will be hard to be calm and focused."
This swing remodelling is nothing new, of course. Nick Faldo famously rebuilt his swing before winning six majors. Woods was accused of a "slump" when he undertook some swing maintenance in 2003-4 before adding another six majors to his tally.
"You get to a certain point and you like to tear it apart and see how it works and put it back better," said Harrington, who is always engaged and never less than extensive when answering questions.
"I've just been working on things and when you change one thing there are a few other adjustments needed.
"And trying to figure out which adjustment goes with which has been a little bit more complicated than expected and is taking a bit longer than expected.
"Through all of that my short game is pretty poor. Golf is always for me a juggling act of keeping all the balls in the air and keeping everything working together. And I've obviously concentrated on one ball a lot and a few other ones have fallen on the ground."
Like most elite sportsmen, Woods's mantra is "Always trying to get better" and he touched on Harrington's plight in his own news conference.
"The game is fluid. It's always evolving. We're all making changes. The hard part is doing it in front of everyone one," he said.
But it's a complicated conundrum. First, Harrington has as his mind man the renowned mental coach Dr Bob Rotella, whose best-selling book is entitled "Golf is not a game of perfect."
Harrington's major victories would appear to come straight from the pages of Rotella's philosophy of accepting what the fates deal you on the course and moving forward.
But the perfectionist in him wants a better golf swing so that the mistakes he might have to recover from are fewer in the first place.
The swing-obsessed side of Harrington said: "I worked hard with (swing coach) Bob Torrance on Monday and changed a few little things, but it's hard to make it automatic by Thursday.
"If someone can push the Open back a couple of weeks I'd be delighted."
But the Rotella-influenced competitor in him added: "I may swing the club better this week, but that doesn't necessarily mean you play better.
"Sometimes trusting what you've got is better than going with something that's better."
So has Harrington sacrificed winning for improving, he was asked?
"Yes," he replied immediately. "I've spent most of my career trying to get better for the future rather than for the immediate future. I wouldn't recommend it to everybody. You've got to play for the now every so often.
"We all do it, players. You sacrifice in the short-term so that you get better for the long term.
"I fully expect to go through this now and hopefully be more comfortable with my swing and going forward over the next 10 years win plenty more tournaments."
The nagging thought, though, is if it ain't broke, why fix it?
All of which brings us back to the question of whether Harrington can win an Open hat-trick.
And that depends on which Harrington turns up. Because for all the confidence he lacks in his golf swing, he makes up for in links nous and knowing how to close out a major championship.
"I'd love to be in the heat of the hunt on the back nine on Sunday. It's one of those weeks to hang in there and get yourself in position," he said.
"There's a massive adjustment to links golf. But it's a very fair golf course and there will be quite an amount of excitement - you could see a significant swing in the last nine holes of this tournament.
"The one thing I know is that if I get in position I can win. Others can get there but they won't win. Can I get into position is what's in doubt."