Thursday 22 February 2018

'I'll crawl to the tee if necessary' - Harrington ready to play through pain barrier

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Padraig Harrington declared himself "100pc" certain that he can take his place on the tee for the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down tomorrow.

Intensive treatment over the last week on an injury to his left shoulder has reduced the pain in the joint to a tolerable level.

Harrington now has to hope he won't suffer a repeat of last Thursday's misfortune at Wentworth, when he had to retire after just a few holes in the BMW PGA Championship first round.

He is more confident about this week, particularly after playing 36 holes in the US Open qualifying event at Walton Heath on Monday.

"My legs were really tired after that, but the shoulder was ok," said the three-time Major champion.

He intends to play the pro-am at Royal County Down today and declared, "I'll crawl to the tee if necessary" to start play in the tournament proper.

Harrington is scheduled for a 12.50pm start tomorrow off the first tee alongside 2014 Irish Open winner Mikko Ilonen and Sergio Garcia.

That will be an interesting combination, as it is well know that Harrington and Garcia are not particularly close, despite having played in the same Ryder Cup teams.

There is a benefit to the tee-time for Harrington in that it gives him more rest and recovery time before going into action.

His treatment regime has been comprehensive, including massage, anti-inflammatories, and acupuncture. It will all be worth the pain and effort if Harrington can perform at his best over four rounds on the demanding Irish Open course.

"Rory's support this year has pushed it to a new level and you know, probably a new level on the world stage, more so than the European stage. It's really stepped up a gear.

"This is where we want the Irish Open to be," said Harrington.

Irish Independent

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