Harrington says Tiger may find inspiration from Ben Hogan recovery

Bernie McGuire

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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European Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington says Tiger Woods may find inspiration from legendary Ben Hogan as the 15-time Major winner begins the lengthy mending process following Tuesday’s horror car crash in suburban LA.

Woods, 45, is presently recovering in a local hospital from serious leg injuries after his Genesis GV80 SUV vehicle crashed off a dangerous downhill road on route to a TV production shoot at the nearby Rolling Hills Country Club course.

The chief medical officer and interim chief executive at Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre detailed the extent of the injuries, saying that a rod, pins and screws were needed to stabilise Woods’ injuries.

“Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilised by inserting a rod into the tibia,” said Anish Mahajan in a statement released early Wednesday (US time) by Woods’s representatives.

“Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilised with a combination of screws and pins. Trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling.

John Torres, an emergency room physician, who also works at the hospital added:  “Surgically, they have to repair all those pieces, piece them all together and make sure it’s stable. The concern with an open fracture there once it breaks through the skin, is that there’s a high degree of the possibility of infection, not just to the skin, but to the bone itself and that’s when you begin to have complications. So, between those two things, Tiger required a lot of surgery to get bone back to where it’s supposed to be and stable.”

Harrington is in Puerto Rico for his maiden appearance in this week’s $3m Puerto Rico Open and like everyone, was shocked to hear the news.

“We are like everyone else as we are hoping for the best for Tiger,” said Harrington. “Most of us were shocked when the news broke and we’re all so grateful as it could have been incredibly tragic.

“It is tragic in some ways so we’re all hoping for the best and we are probably a little selfish hoping for the best for the rest of us so that he can get back to being fit and healthy and get back out and play. The main thing is that he fully recovers.”

It was 72-years ago earlier this month (February 2nd, 1949) when Ben Hogan went close to losing his life when he and wife Valeria were driving in heavy fog on Highway 80 near Van Horn, Texas. Hogan’s car was struck by a Greyhound Bus trying to overtake a truck and Hogan stretched across the passenger seat to protect his wife, saving her from significant injury and saving his life as the steering column was rammed into the back of his seat.

The entire left side of Ben’s body was crushed, including his pelvis, ankle, knee, rib, collarbone and shoulder. He sustained injuries to his internal organs and incurred damage to his left eye which worsened as he grew older. Hogan was in hospital for 59 days but it wasn’t till nearly a year later in 1950 he returned to full competition and when he did, he added another six Majors to the three that he had already won prior to the car crash, in the process winning golf’s Grand Slam.

“We firstly hope he fully recovers as that’s the main thing and maybe after that it would be great to see him back on the golf course,” said Harrington. “Maybe there is shades of Ben Hogan in this and it could possibly be a bit of motivation for Tiger and it could be a Ben Hogan story repeated.”

Joining Harrington in Puerto Rico is West Waterford’s Seamus Power who’ll be looking to make his first cut of the new year on the PGA Tour.

Thursday’s tee times (Irish time)

  • Seamus Power – 11.11am
  • Padraig Harrington – 11.22am
  • Full scoring HERE

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