Harrington says recovery from wrist injury ‘ahead of expectations’
Ryder Cup captain says firm greens will make championship in Malaysia more difficult
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington during a Pro-Am event in Malaysia prior to the start of the Maybank Championship. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington insists his recovery from injury is “ahead of expectations” despite admitting it could be several months before his wrist is 100 per cent.
Harrington is back in action for the first time since November at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia, and is hoping for some “good karma” in what was traditionally his season-opener.
“I wouldn’t say the wrist is 100 per cent, it might not be 100 per cent for about nine months, or at least another six or seven months. I’m working away at it,” the three-time major winner said.
“Traditionally the Malaysian Open was my first event of the season, if you go back 20 years, so it’s my first event this year, and I’m looking forward to that good karma, let’s say.
“It’s interesting to come out here. I hit shots on the range here, I hit shots last week, and the wrist is holding up, there’s no doubt about it. There’s a certain amount of mobility issues and I need to work on the strength of it. Maybe hit a few less balls in the short term, but in general it’s right on track. If anything it’s probably ahead of expectations.”
Defending champion Shubhankar Sharma shot 21 under par to win the title last year, but Harrington feels the firmness of the greens at Saujana Golf and Country Club will make for a tougher test this week.
Collar of rough
“The changes to the greens have substantially changed the way the course will play,” said Harrington. “They also have nice run-offs. Every green has this five or six yards of fairway run-off where you run on into a little collar of rough; very, very awkward. It’s actually not tricky as a golf course, the firm greens are what will make it difficult this week.
“I think the golf course is difficult in the right way. We’re not used to coming to Asian tournaments where the greens are this firm. It’s a wake-up call.”
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez is also in the field in Kuala Lumpur as the 55-year-old looks to extend his own record as oldest winner on the European Tour.
“I’m still playing well on both tours,” said Jimenez, who was 50 years and 133 days old when he won the Spanish Open in 2014. “Now I dedicate more than 20 per cent to senior golf but I still like to play on the European Tour too. I play maybe six tournaments a year.
“I still have my category to play, and as long as I have my category I will keep playing. If I didn’t feel competitive I wouldn’t come here. There is no point coming just to show up.”