| 18.4°C Dublin

Referee McFee helps 'hydrated' Harrington take relief

THE sight of Tour referee Andy McFee giving Padraig Harrington a lift in his buggy on the course at Royal Bahrain yesterday stirred disturbing memories of the Dubliner's disqualification in Abu Dhabi seven days earlier.

Yet there was no need for worry. Harrington was seeking 'relief' on the third hole alright -- but not in the way one might usually expect.

Competitors are not allowed ride buggies in regular play but Harrington wanted to go to the toilet. "I asked Andy to bring me over because the nearest was at the seventh, 100 yards away," he explained, grinning: "I was perfectly hydrated, that's all."

Harrington was tied-32nd on five-under after yesterday's 69. "I played a little better but scored poorly. It always takes a while to get sharp this early in the season," he said. "That's why it was disappointing to get just one round in last week."

He'll be well suited by today's novel format at the Volvo Tournament of Champions as each of the 34 professional pairings are joined for the third round only by an amateur, one of the qualifiers from rounds of the King of Bahrain's private nine-hole course yesterday. Security was so tight, only the players and three officials were admitted.

Meanwhile, Colin Montgomerie insisted Ian Poulter's caustic Twitter attack on the undulating greens the Scot designed at Royal Bahrain will not cause them to fall out.

"Some of his comments are slightly over the top but that's Poulter, he's a character. Don't worry, I can handle him, believe me," Monty said. "He's entitled to his opinions but they are not shared by the main majority of the Tour."

Michael Hoey (69) made the cut with Monty in a tie for 50th on three-under. Peter Lawrie got through on the mark, two-under, after a 74, while Damien McGrane (72) missed out on three-over.

'Nice Goya' gets his just desserts

Fortune favours the honest! Tano Goya called two two-stroke penalties on himself during the first round of the Volvo Tournament of Champions after unwittingly playing for two holes with a ball of different specification to the one he'd started with.

Yesterday the young Argentine holed out from the fairway for an eagle two at the 18th to scrape through the cut on two-under, his second-round 67 featuring another eagle at the long 13th. What goes round, comes round.

Irish Independent