Pádraig Harrington insisted he will be fit to play in next week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down as he chases qualification for next month’s US Open, despite withdrawing injured at Wentworth yesterday.
The three-time major champion, back in the winner’s enclosure this season following victory at the Honda Classic in Florida two months ago, was forced out of the BMW PGA Championship with a shoulder problem as he played the third hole of his opening round.
Harrington, 43, had been a doubt to start the European Tour’s flagship tournament after “upsetting” the infraspinatus in his left shoulder during a gym session on Tuesday.
“My shoulder improved quite a bit overnight and it improved substantially and enough that I could play,” Harrington explained, “and a lot of times when I’ve had injuries in the past I have got better as the round has progressed. But this is the first time I’ve ever pulled out of a tournament ever.
“A lot of times when you might carry an injury into a tournament you have a little bit of an adrenaline release but today it went the other way for me.
“My shoulder just got worse and on the third tee the pain was exceptional and when I hit a shot out of the rough, it just felt horrible.”
Harrington had gone through a limited pre-round routine but was confident he could negotiate 18 holes yesterday so did not feel the need to withdraw before teeing off. Yet despite the problem flaring again after just two completed holes, Harrington believes he is not in any mid- or long-term trouble as he tu rns his attention to the Irish Open and a strong finish at Royal County Down or failing that at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis starting June 11 to make the US Open in Chambers Bay, starting a week later.
“I should be back to 100 per cent in a couple of days, a lot better and I can’t see why it should be a long-term concern.
“The medical team here confirmed there are no tears in my shoulder so it wasn’t an issue going out there and doing any more damage. That was very important in my decision (to play) today.
If fit, Harrington could also decide to play the 36-hole US Open qualifier at Walton Heath on Monday where a top-nine finish would get him in to the US Open.
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