Crunch time for Harrington in bid to halt worrying slide
It's crunch time for Padraig Harrington at Quail Hollow.
After slipping to No 42 in the latest world rankings, this week's Wells Fargo Championship should make it clear if Ireland's three-time Major champion is capable of halting his alarming slide down the global golf ladder.
Harrington's preparations for last month's US Masters were spot-on, but he missed the weekend at Augusta National after being struck by a debilitating neck muscle injury in his warm-up on the Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, his recent visit with his family to the Volvo China Open made interesting viewing for those of us who wrongly believed the intensely committed Dubliner needed to go easier on himself on the golf course.
Harrington failed to deliver during a relaxed week in which he got down to business on a birdie-friendly track after the pleasure of several excursions to famous local attractions with his family.
As he missed the cut by a street, it was abundantly clear that Harrington needs to have the proverbial gun to his head to produce his best.
That certainly will be the case at Quail Hollow, where Harrington finished in a relatively impressive tie for seventh on Rory McIlroy's coat-tails last year.
This week he must prove to himself as much as anyone else that "putting like a Womble" and worrying inconsistencies in his game at Augusta National were due largely to his neck ailment and did not offer further worrying evidence of decline in his golfing powers.
As he edges perilously close to tumbling out of the world's top 50, Harrington's need for a confidence boost is greater this week than ever before.