Padraig Harrington plans his own version of the great escape in Dubai after suffering the week from hell in Hong Kong.
The ill Dubliner was forced to order room service every night and after missing the cut he locked himself in all weekend as he battled a nasty bout of ‘flu.
He’s keeping his fingers crossed that his weekend in solitary will allow him to come out with all guns blazing in the season-ending $8m DP World Tour Championship this week and put a gloss finish on a year that promised much but delivered little in terms of results.
“I was suffering from ‘flu all week - I’m not saying that this had a major effect on my play but it certainly didn’t help,” Harrington wrote on his website after missing the cut for the second week running.
“I was taking tablets which made me feel fine but once they wore off I began to feel terrible again.
“I think it was the first time in my professional career that I never went out for dinner.
“Every night I got back to the room, I got into bed and ordered room service.
“In all my years out here I have only had room service a handful of times and this week I had it for seven nights.
“Also after missing the cut I would normally be out practising, but I just couldn’t leave the room.
“I spent Saturday and Sunday in bed trying to get rid of it so as to be fully fit for next week.”
Harrington slipped to 66th in the world after his latest reverse but he’s putting it down as just a bad week.
While world No 1 Rory McIlroy will be going for his fifth win of the season after securing the Race to Dubai title in Singapore nearly two weeks ago, Harrington is looking for his first European Tour win for four years.
He’s certainly hoping for better than his dismal showing in Hong Kong, where he hit just four fairways in the second round and missed the cut by four shots.
“I drove the ball badly which cost me many shots and pretty much everytime I hit it in the trees I needed to chip out and it cost me a shot.
“On top of that I just didn’t do anything well - iron play, wedge play, chipping and putting.
“I am just writing it off as a bad week and not worrying about it.”
True to form, Harrington was back on the range blasting balls with coach Pete Cowen again yesterday.
But he’s not the only Irishman hoping to find an oasis in the desert.
Peter Lawrie’s fourth place finish in Hong Kong helped his secure his spot in the elite 60-man field for the fourth year running - he’s finished 42nd, 13th and 51st in the first three stagings of the tournament - and he’s hopeful he can make an impact.
Set to pass the €5m barrier in career earnings if his putter behaves and he claims a Top-5 finish, Lawrie said on Sunday: “Hopefully I can give it a run.
“I’m playing nicely. Hit the driver down the fairway and hole a few putts, and you never know.”
Harrington and McIlroy are joined in the desert by Michael Hoey, Shane Lowry, who is seeking a place in the world’s top 50, and Graeme McDowell, who’s hoping to avoid a second successive winless season.