The 75th anniversary event being played on the Donald Ross-designed Sedgefield Country Club course is turning into a ‘last chance saloon’ scenario for the triple Major Champion.
Harrington is currently ranked 188th on the PGA Tour money list and needs to finish inside the top 25 at the close of this week’s $5.3m event to be assured of retaining his Tour card.
“I can use my all-time money-winning exemption next year if I need to but I may not use it even though I am exempt,” he said.
“I envisage playing the same schedule over here next year even if not playing a couple more tournaments, so while it’s good to have the money-winning exemption in my back pocket, I will be trying to win this week like any other week I tee up.”
Harrington’s management team has entered him in next fortnight’s European Tour Italian Open but then he’s not certain of teeing-up in suburban Turin, and in the last Gleneagles Ryder Cup-counting event.
“I have entered the Italian Open but it hasn’t been confirmed if I will play or not but I know if I were to secure my PGA card this week, I won’t be in Italy,” he said.
However, it’s understood Harrington could also compete in the secondary Web.com Tour ‘Final Four Series’ and regain his full card that way, just as former Masters champion Trevor Immelman did last season.
Harrington would be eligible for the event if he is placed between 126th and 200th on the PGA Tour money list at the end of this week.
If he should then be among the top 50 at the Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass, and the final event of the series, he regains full main Tour status.
Harrington begins his quest to retain his Tour card for a first time since joining the PGA Tour full-time in 2007 at 6.25pm Irish time today, playing alongside American Troy Merritt and Swede Robert Karlsson.