There was good news and bads news for Padraig Harrington in Memphis on Friday.
The bad news is that he slipped eight shots behind leader Lee Westwood (63-69 for 9 under) after a second round 74 in the St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind.
Rory McIlroy hit a bogey free 66 to trail his English stablemate by four, but that wasn’t the good news.
Harrington later learned that he had been “drawn” with his friend Phil Mickelson (and US PGA champion YE Yang) for the first two rounds of next week’s US Open at Pebble Beach.
Harrington and Mickelson have become bosom buddies in recent years. In fact, he’s one of the few people to have seen the American’s dinosaur head - a birthday present from Amy for the man who has everything.
At Royal Birkdale two years ago, Harrington went to the left-hander’s hotel every evening that week to get “medical” treatment on his wrist.
Having hurst his wrist hitting an impact bag a few days earlier, the Dubliner’s bid to retain the Claret Jug he won at Carnoustie was in considerable doubt. But he remembered that Mickelson was an advocate of light therapy and, of course, had his very own portable light laser treatment device.
And so Harrington headed to Mickelson’s Southport hotel suite for several late night treatment sessions.
“He set it up and told me what I needed to do,” Harrington later recalled. “I got the treatment in his hotel room suite every second day.”
Now Harrington is struggling with the after effects of keyhole surgery on his right knee and while it doesn’t affect him when he is swinging the club, he’s finding it tough going between shots.
Who knows, Mickelson might have a solution to that too.
The USGA has tried its best to be imaginative with its groupings and McIlroy finds himself grouped with fellow young gun Ryo Ishikawa and 60-year old Tom Watson, who denied Jack Nicklaus the US Open at Pebble Beach in 1982 thanks to that now famous chip in birdie at the par three 17th.
Graeme McDowell knows just one of his partners, former US PGA champion Shaun Micheel, with the other member of his threeball set to be determined on Sunday night.
As for fellow Ulsterman Gareth Maybin, the Ballyclare starlet will make his major championship debut alongside Jean-Francois Lucquin of France and the American Chris Stroud.
Amateur qualifier Kevin Phelan, who lived in Waterford for several years but was born in New York and plays under the US flag, will tee it up with unheralded fellow Americans Jason Preeo and Mark Silvers.
U.S. Open, Pebble Beach Golf Links
(listed times are all local) a- denotes amateur, U.S. unless stated):
Thursday (June 17), first hole - Friday (June 18), 10th hole
0700 - 1230 - Deane Pappas (South Africa), Gary Woodland, Paul Sheehan (Australia)
0711 - 1241 - Steve Marino, Gregory Havret (France), Charles Warren
0722 - 1252 - Toru Taniguchi (Japan), Soren Hansen (Denmark), Edoardo Molinari (Italy)
0733 - 1303 - Francesco Molinari (Italy), Soren Kjeldsen (Denmark), Hiroyuki Fujita (Japan)
0744 - 1314 - Tim Clark (South Africa), KJ Choi (South Korea), Mike Weir (Canada)
0755 - 1325 - Adam Scott (Australia), Geoff Ogilvy (Australia), Robert Allenby (Australia)
0806 - 1336 - Matt Kuchar, Justin Leonard, Scott Verplank
0817 - 1347 - Stewart Cink, a-An Byeong-hun (South Korea), Lucas Glover
0828 - 1358 - Ian Poulter (Britain), Yuta Ikeda (Japan), Henrik Stenson (Sweden)
0839 - 1409 - Trevor Immelman (South Africa), Robert Karlsson (Sweden), David Toms
0850 - 1420 - Jason Gore, Arjun Atwal (India), Jim Herman
0901 - 1431 - a-Andrew Putnam, Ty Tryon, Hugo Leon (Chile)
0912 - 1442 - Kent Eger (Canada), a-Alex Martin, Jon Curran
Thursday (June 17), 10th hole; Friday (June 18), first hole
0700 - 1230 - Rafael Cabrera (Spain), John Mallinger, Stephen Allan (Australia)
0711 - 1241 - Mikko Ilonen (Finland), Derek Lamely, James Morrison (Britain)
0722 - 1252 - Brian Gay, Simon Khan (Britain), Bo Van Pelt
0733 - 1303 - Camilo Villegas (Colombia), Zach Johnson, Luke Donald (Britain)
0744 - 1314 - Retief Goosen (South Africa), Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera (Argentina)
0755 - 1325 - Stuart Appleby (Australia), Rory Sabbatini (South Africa), Stephen Ames (Canada)
0806 - 1336 - Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington (Ireland), Yang Yong-eun (South Korea)
0817 - 1347 - David Frost (South Africa), Kaname Yokoo (Japan), Eric Axley
0828 - 1358 - Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan, Ricky Barnes
0839 - 1409 - Jason Dufner, Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand), Ross McGowan (Britain)
0850 - 1420 - Kevin Na, a-Ben Martin, Matt Bettencourt
0901 - 1431 - Craig Barlow, Kent Jones, Bobby Gates
0912 - 1442 - Dan McCarthy, a-Joseph Bramlett, Travis Hampshire
Thursday (June 17), first hole; Friday (June 18), 10th hole
1230 - 0700 - Steve Wheatcroft, a-Morgan Hoffmann, Rikard Karlberg (Sweden)
1241 - 0711 - Marc Leishman (Australia), Rafa Echenique (Argentina), John Rollins
1252 - 0722 - Place to be determined, Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Shaun Micheel
1303 - 0733 - David Duval, Tom Lehman, Ben Curtis
1314 - 0744 - Sergio Garcia (Spain), Steve Stricker, Paul Casey (Britain)
1325 - 0755 - Bob Estes, Brendon de Jonge (Zimbabwe), Brian Davis (Britain)
1336 - 0806 - Lee Westwood (Britain), Ernie Els (South Africa), Tiger Woods
1347 - 0817 - Ben Crane, Peter Hanson (Sweden), Jerry Kelly
1358 - 0828 - Martin Kaymer (Germany), Sean O’Hair, Charl Schwartzel (South Africa)
1409 - 0839 - Heath Slocum, Oliver Wilson (Britain), John Senden (Australia)
1420 - 0850 - Mathias Gronberg (Sweden), Azuma Yano (Japan), Harrison Frazar
1431 - 0901 - Jason Preeo, a-Kevin Phelan, Mark Silvers
1442 - 0912 - Kenny Kim (South Korea), a-Bennett Blakeman, Blaine Peffley
Thursday (June 17), 10th hole; Friday (June 18), first hole
1230 - 0700 - Terry Pilkadaris (Australia), Rich Barcelo, Gary Boyd (Britain)
1241 - 0711 - Jean-Francois Lucquin (France), Chris Stroud, Gareth Maybin (Northern Ireland)
1252 - 0722 - Simon Dyson (Britain), JJ Henry, Alex Cejka (Czech Republic)
1303 - 0733 - Michael Campbell (New Zealand), Noh Seung-yul (South Korea), Paul Goydos
1314 - 0744 - Aaron Baddeley (Australia), Pablo Martin (Spain), Rhys Davies (Britain)
1325 - 0755 - Alvaro Quiros (Spain), Ryan Moore, Michael Sim (Australia)
1336 - 0806 - Vijay Singh (Fiji), Dustin Johnson, Davis Love III
1347 - 0817 - Ryo Ishikawa (Japan), Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Tom Watson
1358 - 0828 - Kenny Perry, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain), Fred Funk
1409 - 0839 - Ross Fisher (Britain), Brandt Snedeker, Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)
1420 - 0850 - Daniel Summerhays, a-Scott Langley, Matthew Richardson (Britain)
1431 - 0901 - Erik Compton, a-Russell Henley, Jason Allred
1442 - 0912 - Erick Justesen, Jerry Smith, a-Hudson Swafford