European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington emerged from a 10-day enforced quarantine period confirming he has entered additional PGA Tour events after being forced out of last week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Harrington drove in the early hours of Monday morning south from the Monterey Peninsula to Santa Monica and said he was pleased with his efforts despite a four-over par 75 on the opening day of the Genesis Invitational. Harrington was one-under after just two holes but could not get off the ‘bogey train’ in dropping five shots over his next seven holes over the front nine of the Riviera course.
The Dubliner then headed to his closing nine, or the opening nine on the scorecard, producing six straight pars before holing a 10-footer for birdie on his 16th but ending with a bogey. The effort handed Harrington a share of fifth place in the 120-player field.
“I was really struggling with the short game, yeah. I hit the ball — I was very happy with how I hit the ball,” he said.
“Really happy actually how I hit the ball. I had a lot of sort of putts from the fringe and I just was not trusting that confidence. I had several three-putts from the fringe of the greens. Things didn’t go my way. I knew the hard thing after 10 days, you don’t lose hitting the golf ball but a little bit of the feel definitely, a little bit of the trust in it. I did struggle with the putter not on the short putts but on the longer putts.”
However, most interest was in Harrington’s travel arrangements from Pebble Beach, where he has been in quarantine at The Lodge Hotel overlooking the first fairway, and how he got himself to Riviera for his 12.38pm Thursday tee-time.
It was expected, given Harrington’s 10-day quarantine period did not end until Thursday morning, that he would arrange for a private jet to fly him from Monterey Airport south to Santa Monica Airport, a flight of just over an hour. Instead Harrington drove the some 500klms
“I drove overnight,” he said. “I got here in the morning, so I got a couple hours’ sleep here and that was it. It wasn’t too bad a drive, I’ve got to say, but yeah, it was not a stress at all, the sleep I had last week. The only thing I was worried about was by 3:00 in the afternoon is my naptime (smiling)”.
And Harrington reconfirmed he had no intention of withdrawing from the €7.7m event given the tougher restrictions he would face if he had elected to return home to Ireland.
“No. I can’t go home. I can’t go home without a negative PCR, so I don’t have any option but to keep on going,” he said. “Even if I wanted to stop, I have nowhere to go and kind of in limbo at the moment with that. Hopefully I’ll get a negative test the next few weeks, but it could be a couple of months before I get a negative test, which would allow me to travel back to Ireland.
“I’m actually entering more events, I’m entering both those opposite field events, so I’m going to play Puerto Rico next week and I’m going to play Puntacana I think is the other one. Yeah, adding tournaments rather than anything else because, as I said, I think that’s the only place I can go.”