Padraig Harrington to tee up at Irish Open despite knee injury
"Six months off and I come back with an injury! I hit a lot of balls and pushed my body a bit too far"
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 23/09/20 8:36pm
Padraig Harrington will battle through the pain of an untimely knee injury as he makes his first start in six months at this week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
Harrington should have been at Whistling Straits spearheading Europe's defence of the Ryder Cup, but he is now at Galgorm Castle following the cancellation of the showpiece against Steve Stricker's Team USA.
The European Ryder Cup captain has played no competitive golf since missing the halfway cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida back in early March, and he has been practising hard on the range ahead of his national Open.
But the extra work off the course has come at a cost as he sustained a knee injury, although he insists he is still keen to "give it a shot" in his 25th consecutive Irish Open appearance.
"I'm injured, six months off and I come back with an injury," said Harrington, winner of the Irish Open at Adare Manor in 2007. "I hit a lot of balls and pushed my body a bit too far.
"I'm not competitive, I'm not ready in that sense. You never would be in your first event, but I'm going to give it a shot. Go out there and play, no expectations, throw in a few more cliches and see what happens!
"I've been playing for 25 years, so having six months off isn't a bad thing for me. I spent those six months working a lot on my swing and technique and getting some stuff clear in my own head. The great thing after six months is I'm quite ready to go play some golf."
Harrington admitted it has been hard to avoid thoughts of what should have been this week, even resorting to looking up what the weather conditions are currently like at Whistling Straits.
"I've had a couple of months now since it was announced that the Ryder Cup was postponed where I really didn't have to think about it," he added. "The last week or two there's been a lot more.
"I would have picked the team last week, I'd have been there now. I went on my phone last night to check the forecast for Sheboygan to see what the weather would have been like; nice, sunny, and 70 degrees all week.
"It's on my mind at the moment but next week we'll be back to normal business. The points start again in January and we'll start thinking about it."