Harrington not relishing the prospect of an extended Saturday

Mark McGowan

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

After opening his Valero Texas Open challenge with an impressive 68 in testing, windy conditions following a near three-and-a-half hour fog delay, Padraig Harrington rolled back the clock to fire a four-under par round that saw him head the early starters, only for Justin Lower to reach -5 through nine before play was halted for darkness.

This means that, barring further delays, Harrington’s 1:20 pm second round tee time will be pushed out to a likely 4 pm or later, making it unlikely that he’ll complete more than nine holes today [Friday].

The PGA Tour will then try to make up as much time as possible on Saturday, meaning that should Harrington safely make the 36-hole cut, he could have as many as 27 holes to play on what would be an extended moving day; far from ideal for a 51-year-old who admitted that he requires extensive recovery work after a round these days.


“I will spend a good few hours in the physio truck this afternoon, yeah,” he explained after the opening round. “The only thing I’m worried about is I’m probably going to have to play 26, 27 holes on Saturday. After walking 18 holes, I can’t do much. My leg, it’s my leg actually, it seizes up quite a bit afterwards.

“Yeah, look, I’ll figure it out, don’t worry. All these things, you’d always find a way of working through it. While it would be something I would be mindful of, I don’t think it will hold me back.”

Despite the additional physical therapy required post-round these days, Harrington’s game defies his age. He reached 120mph clubhead speed with the driver on several tee shots in his opening round, a full five mph faster than Tour average, carrying the ball over 305 yards through the air on the ninth and 18th holes, and despite going through some struggles in recent years, he is as enthusiastic for the game as he’s ever been.

“I think because I’m an optimist, pretty enthusiastic person,” he explained, “I get up in the morning and it just, it drives me on. I wake up and the minute I go hit a golf shot, and you’d think I’d have sense at this stage, I’m dreaming that I’m going to find the secret. I know there isn’t one, but you’re always hopeful, dreaming. I think just keeps you young, it keeps you there.

“And I figured I’d burnt out maybe five, maybe five six years ago, I’d have been burnt out when it came to golf and I established a new way of doing it for myself. You know, I’m not as intense as I would have been, I look to enjoy my weeks more. Yeah, I’m a little bit more relaxed about everything that goes on.

“I know I’m going to try hard enough, so I can afford to take a step back and I think that was the only way I could continue to compete out here is just to take a step back and enjoy the stuff I enjoy and trying to get rid of the stuff that was making it tedious.”

With the Masters just a week away, the field is set for the year’s first major with the only addition to the 88-strong field being this week’s winner should he not already be qualified and you can be sure that Harrington, just a couple of months ahead of being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, is desperately keen to earn that final spot and become the 89th entrant and one of a would-be record-setting five Irishmen to compete in a Masters tournament.

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