Padraig Harrington teed-up in Kuala Lumpur for a tenth time in his career today admitting that he remains uncertain about a wrist injury that has delayed his seasonal reappearance up until this week’s co-sanctioned Maybank Championship.
Harrington had been due to commence his 24th season in the pro ranks earlier this year in the Middle East while the injury, suffered mid-December when he slipped down the staircase in his house, also ruled him out of three PGA Tour events. It wasn’t until he underwent an x-ray that a broken bone was revealed.
“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 but I’m working away at it,” he said ahead of the Malaysian event.
“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.”
Harrington is the lone Irishman in the co-sanctioned European and Asian Tour field but the 47-year old is no stranger to competing in steamy KL having contested the then named Malaysian Open nine times in his career from a first appearance in finishing T4th in 1999 to his last showing in finishing T6th in 2013.
And after a six-year absence, Harrington thinks the firmness of the greens this week at Saujana Golf and Country Club will provide a tough test for the field.
“It’s a very good set up this year,” he added.”The changes to the greens have substantially changed the way the course will play. 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.
“The greens are firm. It looks difficult to me, you can never quite tell. It looks like the changes are excellent, a really, really good challenge.
“It’s actually not tricky as a golf course, the firm greens are what will make it difficult this week. Some people might call firm greens tricky, but at the end of the day quality golf shots are going to have to be hit into the greens. You’ll have to be on the fairway hitting those shots.
“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.”
Harrington got underway at 5.05am Irish time this morning.