Harrington plays down hip injury

By Brian Keogh

The European Club didn't bring Padraig Harrington to his knees. But the world No 10 did end up flat on his back after throwing his right hip out of joint on the ninth hole.

The Dubliner later played down the seriousness of his latest injury tweak and insisted it will not prevent him battling for the Open Championship at Carnoustie next week.

Feeling unable to support his weight on his right leg on his backswing, Harrington prostrated himself in the middle of the par-four ninth fairway to try and pop his hip back into place.

He bogeyed the hole to turn in one over par but then reeled off three birdies in then next four holes en route to an opening, two-under par 69.

"My hip just jammed up and it needed to be adjusted," Harrington explained. "It wouldn't support my weight when I tried to stand on it, which is not very good when you are trying to make a backswing and your right leg wants to buckle over.

"It was like I got a dead leg or something like that. But the more I walked the better I got. My knee is fine and the two injuries are nothing. I wouldn't be any way concerned about those.

"While the hip was troublesome. It didn't actually affect any shots out there. It was just distracting. I tried to stretch it out - the way you might see footballers getting loose."

Harrington's Australian physiotherapist Dale Richardson stayed with him on Sunday and Monday to treat a knee injury that bothered him during last week's Smurfit Euopean Open.

But Richardson is now at the Scottish Open and the Dubliner last night sought out Dublin physio Alan Kelly for a treatment session he believes will straighted out his problem.

Harrington added: "It just needs to be batted around a bit. I think they call it dis-traction, when they actually take it out and put it back in. I couldn't do it myself. I need somebody else to pull the joint out and put it back in.

"On tour I have a muscle test ever morning and get all my muscle groups checked out. Every morning I play a tournament I have my guy there. One thing might show up a particular week and it might show up every morning.

"But more often than not, especially if I haven't overdone the practice, nothing would show up. This was one of those days where I could have done with a little adjustment.

"It is just wear and tear. Too many balls. I am not stressed about it at all. If it was a recurring problem I would be something to worry about.

"There is no concern about the hip and none at all for a week's time. None whatsoever. It is the same as someone getting stiff out of the car or waking up wrong. It is not a problem."