“I put on at least ten pounds from the pneumonia”

Ronan MacNamara

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Pádraig Harrington admits he is still not at 100 percent following a winter battle with pneumonia and a collapsed lung and a neck injury which hampered his PGA Championship campaign last week.

Harrington missed the cut in Valhalla as Xander Schauffele won his first major title, but he is looking to get back on the major trail himself as the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in Harbor Shores.

The Dubliner is still trying to get back to full health and a winter spent battling illness saw him gain at least ten pounds although he is still in good physical shape following a return to the gym. The neck injury he suffered last week hasn’t worsened so he feels good to go this week.

“I’ve kind of had an interesting year. Hasn’t quite gone my way at this stage. Had pneumonia during the winner so very slow start to the year. I seem to be coming out of it the last couple weeks, but I tweaked my neck last week and had a poor week last week,” said Harrington who lost the 2023 Senior PGA to Steve Stricker in a playoff.

“It hasn’t fully recovered. Interesting last week it was more joint. Now it’s the same place but it’s more muscle. So I’m surprised it hasn’t recovered in the time. Obviously going to have physio in the next couple of days. But it was very playable today; whereas it wasn’t great, say, last Thursday.

“If it didn’t get any worse than this — I would like it to be better, but hopefully it’s not worse than this and I should be okay.

“I actually put on at least ten pounds or more from the pneumonia because I couldn’t get to the gym for three, four months. I am back in the gym and been putting on a bit of muscle. I will need to cut at some stage. I can’t keep going in this direction.”

The three-time major and one time senior major winner is confident he can get back to full fitness and is pleased to see his speed off the tee starting to return as he attempts to balance a schedule on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour.

“I focused on my focus, my mental side of my game, which is usually a good sign that I’m pretty happy with the rest of it.

“As I said, with the pneumonia the speed drops off. Your central nervous system is kind of shot for a while. That seems to be coming back, so I’m quite comfortable with my game. It’s just getting my head in the right place.

“I’ve been trying to do that for a few weeks, but I just haven’t got a good run at it. As I said, hopefully that pays fruition this week and I got my head in the right place.”

Despite his issues, the 52-year-old has won on the Champions Tour this season, picking up a win in March at the Hoag Classic where he held off Thongchai Jaidee and he is looking forward to getting a summer run together, hopefully starting this week.

“I used to get a neck issue nearly every second week of my career, but I sorted that problem out. This is only the second time I’ve had this problem in 18 months.

“It was very commonplace for most of my career, but unusual at the moment. So that’s a little disappointing, but I know it’s only in the moment, so not too worried about that.

“As I said. I was very worried about the pneumonia, but I seem to be coming back out of that. Yeah, even though we’re four months into the season I really don’t feel like I’ve had a good run at it yet.

“So prior to the injury I feel like I have prepared well for this week, so we’ll see how — as long as that doesn’t interfere I think I can’t ask any more of myself, put it like that.”

Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley are also in the field this week.

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