Harrington plays down shingles scare

By Brian Keogh

Padraig Harrington says his battle with shingles won't stop him teeing it up at Pebble Beach next month.

The Dubliner was diagnosed with the viral infection earlier this week after suffering back and neck problems in his way to a share of 11th on his seasonal debut in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

But he insists he feel fine and will be ready to fly out the the US tomorrow week to partner JP McManus in the AT&T National Pro-Am at the spectacular California venue.

In a statement, Harrington said: "I have been diagnosed with shingles. Whilst I will take things easy over the next few days, I feel fine.

"I have been practicing at home and fully expect to be fit and ready to travel to California next weekend to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the following week as scheduled.”

According to medical sources, shingles can be caused by a weakened immune system, stress and fatigue.

Harrington has had a hectic schedule since he became the first Irishman to win a major for 60 years with his heart-stopping Open victory at Carnoustie in July.

By the time he arrived at Tiger Woods' Target World Challenge at the end of December, he confessed that his body was more stressed than ever.

Explaining his problems, he said: "My central nervous system is at the lowest point ever. I’ve had a lower reading (in a stress test) than ever before.

"I’ve just been doing too much. Too much talking and stress. Too many interviews and being busy, busy, busy. Not enough down time.

"Practice is good for me. It gives me a release but I just wasn’t getting enough of the right stuff.

"Every time I get asked to do stuff, I think that if I do it now, I won’t have to do it tomorrow.

"But it doesn’t work out the way I planned because there’s always been something else to fill in the time the next day or the next week."

Harrington is scheduled to follow his appearance at Pebble Beach with the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in Los Angeles the following week.

He then heads to Tucson in Arizona for the first World Golf Championship of the season - the Accenture Match Play Championship - from February 20-24.