Monday 24 April 2017

Harrington goes Dutch and defies knee injury

Harrington last played two weeks ago in The Barclays, the second of the PGA Tour’s FedEx play-offs and missed the cut
Harrington last played two weeks ago in The Barclays, the second of the PGA Tour’s FedEx play-offs and missed the cut

William S Callahan

Pádraig Harrington returns to European Tour action in the KLM Dutch Open which starts today at Kennemer Golf & Country Club in Zandvoort, Holland.

Harrington will continue to play tournaments despite a torn knee ligament which will require surgery on his winter break.

The three-time Major winner joins a formidable entry list which includes a debut competitive appearance in Holland by golf legend Tom Watson. Harrington, who tore the ligament in August, last played two weeks ago in The Barclays, the second of the PGA Tour's FedEx play-offs and missed the cut.

Since then he has been working on his putting and wedge play, and does not expect the knee injury to unduly affect him in competition.

The Dubliner played in the pro-am yesterday and said last night: "The knee gets a little 'fuzzy' from walking. I've got no problem hitting the ball except off side slopes. I just need to ice the inflammation after playing."

Harrington is joined in the field by fellow Irishmen Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Damien McGrane, Kevin Phelan, Peter Lawrie and Simon Thornton.

Performances

Darren Clarke will combine his playing duties with his role as Ryder Cup 2016 captain, and as such, will be taking a keen interest in player performances.

This is only the second event of the year-long qualifying series but already Lee Slattery of England, winner of the M2M Russian Open last weekend, is one of the players who will attract Clarke's attention if he builds on that success.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump intends to finish a complete overhaul of the Greg Norman-designed Doonbeg links for the 2016 season.

US Presidential candidate Trump told Joe Passov of the prestigious 'Golf Magazine', in an interview published this week, "we blew it up" referring to the property he renamed Trump International Golf Links Ireland after purchasing it last year.

Trump hired internationally-renowned designer Martin Hawtree to rework the layout and said: "I blew up 65 per cent of it last year. The other 35 per cent gets blown up on October 1. The course will be brand new for next season, 100 per cent rebuilt, and it's incredible."

On the amateur front, Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan, Gary Hurley, Jack Hume and Cormac Sharvin continued preparations for the Walker Cup match at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

The five Irish golfers make their debut in the event against the USA on Saturday and Sunday.

KLM Open, live, Sky Sports 4 (red button), 10.30 & 2.30

Irish Independent

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