By Brian Keogh
Padraig Harrington's quest for more power almost cost him his the Claret Jug.
But "body mechanic" Dr Dale Richardson reckons he can keep the Harrington machine running smoothly for another decade and on the road to future Major glory.
The double Open champion damaged his right wrist whacking an impact bag ONE-HANDED after picking up a power tip from a former World Long Driving Champion.
Scared by the injury, Harrington has vowed to pay even more attention to his chiropractor and physio in future.
Richardson explained: "Padraig rang me the Sunday before the Open and said he couldn't lift a club after doing one-handed hits into the impact bag. But I told him that the drill he was using is fraught with danger.
"I found out later that Bob Torrance had given him a single-handed left hand drill. But he was doing this because he had found out something from the world long drive champion about doing single-handed impact bag drills with the right hand.
"I said, if you are going to do that, you need wrist supports, because that is what will break down."
Harrington praised Richardson in his acceptance speech on Sunday and thanked him for helping him win the Open.
And he has agreed to heed Richardson in future, explaining: "I'll be taking some of the weight out of that impact bag."
Aussie magician Richardson is confident that after 10 years taking care of the Dubliner's body, Ireland can look forward to future Major success from the new world No 3.
Comparing Harrington's body to a race car, Richardson explained: "It is just like a NASCAR that goes around a track. Each night the mechanics pull that thing apart and put in new bearings because it wears out unevenly.
"It is the same for the golfers. Like the NASCAR mechanics, I do a total rebuild every night to get him back to neutral so I take the stress out of the soft issues.
"I balance up the muscles because they spent so much time bent forward and over time that creates tight, weak, stringy muscles.
"Every night I do 45 minutes of soft tissue work on him to get his body back to normal and retest all the muscles and make sure they are all balanced."
Richardson helped Harrington come through a similar injury scare in the 2002 US PGA at Hazeltine, when he hurt his neck playing a boxing machine in a video arcade.
But the Dubliner is now so fit that Richardson reckons that his career will not be ended by injury.
Richardson said: "He will last longer than the rest because he has had 10 years of body work and he will get to 50 in good shape. It will be just a choice if he decides to finish early or if he decides to continue player."
Nicknamed Pudge at school, Harrington has lost over 30 lbs and now tips the scales at just 13 stone compared to 15 stone when he came out of tour.
Richardson said: "He has gone from a fat, unfit un-athletic person and made himself into an athlete. There is no way you could say he was an athlete before he did that work. He is not a natural athlete."
Richardson had four clients finish in the top eight at the Open with winner Harrington, third placed Henrik Stenson and seventh placed Robert Karlsson and David Howell on his books.
He's been working with Harrington for ten years after pioneering golf medical services on the Australasian Tour.
He said: "The first guy I treated was Nick Faldo. That led to Nick asking me to work with him on tour for seven years, and that’s how that hole thing started. Nick asked me to come overseas and I have been on the road now for 11 years fulltime.
"When I came overseas with Faldo in '98, Padraig asked me to work with him then and we haven't looked back."