Saturday 3 December 2016

Rory deserved Harrington understanding too

Published 15/08/2015 | 02:30

Padraig Harrington ran the risk of missing the PGA championship after injuring his knee playing tennis with his kids
Padraig Harrington ran the risk of missing the PGA championship after injuring his knee playing tennis with his kids

How odd the difference in tone with which the injury stories of Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington have been addressed by the golf media.

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McIlroy encountered lecturing disapproval in many quarters for missing the British Open because of a ruptured ankle ligament sustained while playing five-a-side with friends.

Apparently, his inclination to play football reflected some kind of fundamental immaturity, an inability to process his commercial responsibilities as the world's number one golfer.

Harrington, meanwhile, ran the risk of missing this weekend's PGA Championship after injuring his knee playing tennis with his children.

But it seems a 26-year-old's carelessness is a 43-year-old's misfortune. Harrington has, rightly, faced neither condescension nor piety this week in his battle to get himself ready for a tournament he won at Oakland Hills in '08. McIlroy? It would seem that people just can't help but find fault with his bad choices.

This column happens to consider it refreshing that neither golfer is so hopelessly tethered to the robotic rituals of their profession as to suspend any semblance of normal life beyond the practice range.

McIlroy incidentally, maverick that he is, has vowed to continue playing football with friends whenever his schedule allows. And Harrington, presumably, won't be choosing to keep his children at arms' length any time soon.

Frankly, we should celebrate them both rather than see one as any different from the other.

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