There was a time when the Dubliner Padraig Harrington was the darling of the golfing public, a three-time major winner in the days when current world number one Rory McIlroy was just starting out on his professional career. He won back to back Open Championships in 2007 and 2008, and then proved that he could also win big in America by capturing the US PGA Championship in 2008 at Oakland Hills. It seemed that all he touched turned to gold and his charisma and charm appealed to a mass audience. Yet, the times since those glory days have proved fallow ones and until his welcome return to the top of the podium earlier this week when capturing the Honda Classic in Florida, he had gone an unbelievable seven years since winning his last PGA Tour title.

Not that his victory was ever going to be a straightforward one though, as the end of the tournament turned into one of the oddest final rounds this season, taking two days to be completed. That wasn't the only strange thing about it though, as down the final stretch four of the five players who shared the lead at one time or another fired their balls into a water hazard. Harrington was among them, yet still managed to rescue his round by holing a wonderful 15-foot birdie putt on the final green. Even that wasn't enough to clinch the title, as it allowed him to contest the play-off, where he came out on top against the 21-year-old Daniel Berger on the second play-off hole.

Many observers had believed that the genial Irishman had wasted his opportunity when his ball went into the water on the 17th hole in regulation play, as it led to a double bogey and meant that he slipped one shot off the lead.

Yet Harrington has been there before during his career and the experienced 43-year-old bounced back on the 18th to complete a final round of 70. That brought him level with the local man from Jupiter, Florida, whose best major performance thus far has been tied for 28th place in last year's US Open event. Surely he is destined for better things in future, as his final round of 64 would indicate, particularly as he birdied the final two holes of his round.

In the play-off, the first hole back on the 18th saw both players miss birdie putts, so they moved on to the 17th hole once more. After his travails in regulation play on the hole, Harrington would have no doubt been wary of his previous error and righted it by landing his tee shot just three feet from the hole. Berger was unfortunate to see his shot go into the water this time, leading to a drop and ultimately a double bogey.

Although Harrington missed his putt first time, it mattered not, as he could finally celebrate another victory.

Clearly sensing that many had written off his chances of being successful again, and maybe to exorcise some of the negative thoughts that may have been going through his brain at times over the last few years, the Irishman stated that: "I really do believe in myself. I think I've found that mental edge that I've been lacking the last number of years."

The rain-delayed final round had a number of 'casualties' in the final stages, as Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed and Paul Casey all had the lead outright or a share of it, only to drop shots at vital times.