Pádraig Harrington is sweating over his Masters chances after breaking his favourite driver.
The three-time major winner’s TaylorMade R11 bit the dust at the Thailand Open, where he trailed home a disappointing 34th despite a closing 66.
And with just this week’s $2.75million Malaysian Open to play before he plays his final warm up for Augusta, he fears for his confidence off the tee as the first major of the season looms into view.
Set to take on Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel in steamy Kuala Lumpur this week, Harrington said: “I was quite confident with where my game was at, but last week the face gave in on my driver.
“With the Masters just around the corner it has thrown a bit of a curve ball in there, and I’d dearly love to drive it well this week so that I have that confidence.
“I was very, very comfortable with that driver, so now I have to get fitted to a new one, which always causes a little bit of anxiety.
“I used a new driver last Sunday and it was okay on the range but not on the course.
“Often you find that you take a club on the range and think it works nicely, but all of a sudden you take it out on the course and it has a shot in it you didn’t see on the range because of the different tempo or speed on the course.”
Using his new driver, Harrington fired eight birdies in a six under 66 on Sunday in Bangkok but couldn’t repair the damage of the third round 75 that cost him his chance of a first win for nearly two and a half years.
He’s already struggling with his putting and adapting to a new driver is another problem he could have done without in Malaysia, where temperatures are set to soar to over 90f (33c).
The Dubliner, 41, has piled on the weight recently in a bid to put on muscle and gain more distance off the tee and he admitted that he struggled with the humidity in Bangkok.
Harrington said: “It was quite warm in Thailand and I suffered with the heat far more this trip than I used to 10 years ago for whatever reason.
“I’ve put on a little more weight and maybe that’s the factor but I’m certainly getting through the shirts.”
Harrington is playing more than ever before the Masters in a bid to boost his confidence, especially on the greens, and will have played 10 events before he heads to Augusta (April 11-14) from the Valero Texas Open.
He started wearing glasses in competition two weeks ago and he’s hoping for a positive week with the putter in his first Malaysian Open appearance since 2006.
Currently on his seventh pair of glasses - he’s using pair No 5 - in his search for the perfect read, he added: “I’ve struggled on the greens for quite a long time.
“I had laser surgery a good few years ago that flipped over the way I read the greens from a right to left bias to a left to right bias.”
Chuckling, he added: “It has gradually freaked me out. But I love the grainy greens here. They are much easier to read because the grain is telling you the read and you don’t have to see it.”
Harrington is joined in the field by Ireland’s Peter Lawrie and Gareth Maybin and world No 3 Donald.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, 2011 Malaysian Open winner Matteo Manassero and last week’s Avantha Masters winner Thomas Aiken are also chasing the €350,410 top prize.