Padraig Harrington looks forward to returning to Royal Birkdale, scene of his last Open triumph
By Phil Rice
Three times Major Champion Padraig Harrington was in optimistic mood when I spoke with him last week. He is continuing his recovery from recent shoulder surgery to alleviate a nerve issue which prevented him from swinging the golf club with total freedom.
“It’s about six weeks since my operation and I was ordered to stay off the golf course for six weeks.
“To be honest I felt I was capable of hitting shots three days after the operation but I have been very disciplined in keeping to the doctor’s orders.
“I have another five weeks before I am scheduled to play in a tournament and now it is just about getting the right practice and preparation in advance of my return.
“One of the reasons for having the operation when I did was to have myself in proper shape for my return to Royal Birkdale for the British Open.
“I have done a small amount of work on my short game in the past week and I’m already getting prepared for playing pitch and run types of shots which are needed at an Open venue.
“When I do get to practice fully again all my focus will be on getting the best possible preparation for Birkdale and for the Irish Open which is just before the Open Championship.
“The French, Scottish and Irish Open’s are all played on links-type courses and they will help in my preparation for the Open itself.”
Padraig is planning on making his first tournament appearance at the PGA Championship at Wentworth on 25th May.
Wentworth has never been Harrington’s favourite course but he is keen to support the Tour’s flagship event.
Royal Birkdale was the scene of his second British Open win in 2008, where he was the first European to win back-to-back Opens in over 100 years.
Padraig is clearly keen to perform well on the Open’s first return to the venue since that success.