Padraig Harrington has a very blunt response to those who he feels spend too much time reacting to what other people say about them on social media.
Unfortunately, negative comments and even abuse have become part and parcel of being a professional sportsperson on social media, and most of them have their own ways of blocking that out.
Harrington gave his opinion in the wake of comments made by fellow Irishman Shane Lowry earlier this week in which he stated that he doesn’t let negative Twitter comments get to him, that he “laughs them off” and is able to tune them out.
Speaking ahead of this week’s Irish Open, Harrington believes that Lowry should not even have read the comments in the first place, insisting that he has only ever read one article written about him in his entire professional career:
“I used to be able to say that I’ve never read anything written about me since I was 18 years of age.”
“But then somebody recently convinced me to read an article written about me. And I continue since that article not to read anything written about me.
“Players, as you know, sports people, as you know, have huge issues with what’s written about them by the professional media. Can you imagine getting into and reading what’s written about you by a mix of non-professional people?
“It just seems bizarre to read what would be on social media, because it’s coming from experts and complete non-experts. So why would you read it? As a sportsperson, you are foolish to let everybody outside your immediate circle influence how you operate, and reading social media is letting outsiders have a part of you.
“It’s Shane’s fault for reading it. There can be good stuff on it, there can also be random stuff on it which would put you off.
“Obviously you can’t curtail the media, that would be censorship and I used to say that would mean you’re living in North Korea, but you could be living in the US, as well.”
Harrington’s comments are particularly timely given the fact that Rory McIlroy has this week decided to teak a break from social media. The four-time major winner became embroiled in a Twitter spat with former US PGA champion Steve Elkington recently having suffered an early exit from the US Open at Erin Hills.