Padraig Harrington headed for Pebble Beach last night insisting that he is not in panic mode about his form or his fitness ahead of the US Open.
The Dubliner ended his preparations for the season’s second major when he closed with a three over par 73 in the St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis to finish tied for 56th behind play-off winner Lee Westwood on three over par.
But far from being downbeat about his chances of winning a fourth major on the Monterey Peninsula this week, Harrington was highly positive about the way his right knee withstood the pressure of competition having undergone keyhole surgery to remove some floating pieces of cartilage just 20 days ago.
“The primary objective absolutely was to play all four rounds, that was important,” Harrington said shortly before hopping on a private jet bound for Monterey Peninsula Airport.
“So all is good. All seems well with the leg and it is certainly not hurting, which is a good sign.
“It needs a lot of minding but I am happy with how things are progressing. I will not be overdoing things over the next few days and will have plenty of physio.
“I will certainly not be panicking going into Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The knee became a little inflamed when I put pressure on it and the plan is to do a little each day in the run up to the tournament.”
Harrington began the final round of the St Jude Classic eight strokes behind overnight leader Lee Westwood in a share of 50th place. He bogeyed the first and seventh and then followed his lone birdie of the day at the par-four 12th with an ugly double bogey seven at the par-five 16th, where he lost a ball left off the tee, reloaded and sent his next effort into the left rough.
However, he dismissed the result as relatively unimportant ahead of this week’s major test, where he is drawn with the US PGA champion YE Yang and the pre-tournament favourite Phil Mickelson, the Masters champion.
“Sure it would have been nice to play better this week,” Harrington said. “That’s something we always want to do. But I have no concerns at all about this week. In fact, it was fairly typical of how I usually play when the US Open is coming up.”
Like Harrington, Holywood’s Rory McIlroy scored poorly over the weekend in Memphis, three-putting the last for a one over par 71 to finish tied 29th on two under par.
The 21-year old Ulsterman has become a sensation in the US since he shot a final round 62 to win the Quail Hollow Championship at the start of May and while he failed to build on opening rounds of 69 and 66, he’s still sixth favourite the bookies to lift his first major this week.