Wednesday 25 April 2018

Harrington faces big decision about surgery

Ryan Palmer. Photo: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Palmer. Photo: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

William S Callahan

Padraig Harrington's missed cut in the Honda Classic at PGA National last night means he has to make a decision soon about surgery on his neck injury.

Harrington, twice a winner of the tournament, ended his five-tournament start to 2017 with a fourth missed cut.

It was a frustrating Friday for the Dubliner who never got any momentum. He filed 73 to end his tournament at five-over on the par-70 Champion Course.

Harrington must now ponder the pros and cons of having an operation on the trapped nerve in his neck that has virtually eliminated his practice time while in the USA over the last few weeks.

His big concern is making sure he plays in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale where he won in 2008.

"I have to make that decision reasonably quickly for Birkdale.

"They are talking up to 12 weeks without hitting a shot and then a couple of weeks.

"So if I go and have it done, pretty much immediately, I'd be ready to go back playing just sometime in mid-June. So I'd be in good time for The Open.

"And the only issue I have is if I delay surgery, thinking I'm getting better, and then I end up having to have surgery in May or something like that; that would be a disaster to miss out obviously on Birkdale and miss out on the PGA, as well, during the summer," he said.

West Waterford's Seamus Power also carded 73, and at +1 overall he missed the cut mark by one shot.

Graeme McDowell earned a weekend berth by shooting 67, giving him a tidy three-under for the day, and one-under for 36 holes.

America's Ryan Palmer eased his way around in 65 blows and set the pace at nine-under par. Web.Com graduate Wesley Bryan had 69 for joint leadership. Rickie Fowler, who lives locally, was their closest challenger with 66 for eight-under par.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Paul Dunne performed well in the weather-affected Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington GC.

Dunne was one of the lucky players to complete his second round in which he shot 68 on the West Course (par 71) for six-under.

Only 15 of 24 players ahead of him on the leaderboard had finished their second rounds before darkness halted play.

The other nine join the large contingent who have to complete round two, starting at 7.0am local time this morning, before the cut is decided and round three begins.

South Africa's Darren Fichardt was the leader in the clubhouse at 11-under with a 66 on the par-72 East Course.

Darren Clarke at +5 (75, 73) and Dubliner Jeff Hopkins at +2 (71,74) were well outside the projected four-under cut line.

Joburg Open: Live, Sky Sports 4, 10.0am

The Honda Classic: Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0pm

Irish Independent

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