Open ChampionshipMarch 14, 2017

Padraig Harrington to undergo neck operation, hopes to play in Open Championship

The Honda Classic - Round One
Cliff HawkinsPALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Padraig Harrington of Ireland plays his shot from the 14th tee during the first round of The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on February 23, 2017 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington has struggled in 2017, making just one cut in five appearances on tour. That he's played at all is a minor miracle. Three weeks ago at the Honda Classic, the three-time major winner disclosed the prospect of surgery for a trapped nerve in his neck, an injury that has been plaguing the 45-year-old for months.

“At the moment, I'm going through trying to calm down the nerve with a cortisone injection,” Harrington said in Palm Beach Gardnes. “I've had numbness in my right hand. I have atrophy in my right tricep. Probably lost about five miles an hour of clubhead speed." He admitted he battled to hit an iron over 200 yards.

But Harrington continued on, hoping to get his game ready for the Open Championship's return to Royal Birkdale, where he won the claret jug in 2008. Alas, on Tuesday the Irishman announced on Twitter that he will undergo surgery.

Harrington said he'll be out 8-to-10 weeks, circling the Memorial as his return date. While it's a setback, it's also one Harrington seemingly anticipated.

“The injury has kind of changed my focus, saying, well, looks like I won't be getting into those first two [majors], that I'd better get ready for the Open Championship," Harrington remarked at the Honda. "And it is all about that now. My focus has moved to being sharp and ready for the Open.”

Though he won the Portugal Masters last October, Harrington hasn't finished inside the top 10 at a major since 2012.


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