Padraig's driver trouble shows scale of Rory task
PADRAIG Harrington put Rory McIlory's club changeover into perspective by revealing he himself is struggling to assimilate a new driver into his set as he challenges for the Maybank Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur this week.
If a three-time Major winner has difficulty in introducing one new club, how much tougher is it for McIlroy to put 14 together and expect normal service to resume?
Of course, there are those who will say that Padraig goes into obsessive detail with every aspect of his equipment and his swing, but his comments on the driver issue are revealing.
Harrington's problem was that he broke his favourite driver last week and signalled his discomfort in advance of the first round in Malaysia.
"I was very, very comfortable with the old driver, so, having to get used to a new one always causes a little bit of anxiety. I was quite confident with where I was at.
"But obviously when you put a new club in, it takes a bit of time to understand it and you're not quite sure how it's going to go.
"I used a new driver last Sunday and it was okay on the range, but not on the course. Often you find that you take a club on to the range and think it works nicely, but, when you take it out on the course, it has a shot in it you didn't see on the range because you're playing at a different tempo.
"So, it's thrown a bit of a curveball into my preparations. I'd dearly love to drive it well this week, so that I have that confidence. I don't want to go home next week still looking for a driver and then possibly play in another tournament where I'm in doubt. The last thing I want is to be going to the Masters with any doubt."
Watch this space over the next few days.
Grant up against it
to retain scratch crown
The first scratch event of the 2013 ladies amateur season tees off at Royal County Down, with their annual Scratch Salver 36-hole event taking place on Sunday.
Defending champion Paula Grant (Lisburn) faces strong opposition, including the Maguire twins Leona and Lisa, who return to the fairways after their winter break.
Hot on their heels will be the in-form Jessica Carty (Holywood) and Chloe Ryan (Castletroy), who, like Grant, have already performed impressively in overseas competition.
Local favourite Olivia Mehaffey (RCD Ladies) is also sure to feature as she kick-starts a season that will, hopefully, include selection on the GB&I Junior Vagliano Trophy team to play Europe at the end of June.
The Royal Co Down Scratch Salver marks the first event of the ILGU's Scratch Cup Circuit, which takes place over the coming weeks.
Competitors will return their four best cards from the six scratch events, with the champion set to be crowned following the Zara Bolton Trophy at Royal Portrush on Sunday, May 19.