Harrington to play waiting game on neck surgery

Harrington to play waiting game on neck surgery
 Pádraig Harrington is encouraging the public to buy a lollipop and support Lollipop Day in aid of the Oesophageal Cancer Fund, this Friday and Saturday, March 3-4.  http://lollipopday.ie/

Pádraig Harrington is encouraging the public to buy a lollipop and support Lollipop Day in aid of the Oesophageal Cancer Fund, this Friday and Saturday, March 3-4. http://lollipopday.ie/

Pádraig Harrington is keeping his fingers crossed that his neck improves over the coming day so he can avoid surgery.

The Dubliner, 45, has been battling a trapped nerve in his neck since the end of last season and fears that he may need to go under the knife sooner rather than later in order to avoid a layoff that could affect his summer schedule and planned return to Royal Birkdale for The Open, where he won his second Claret Jug in 2008.

Having missed his fourth cut from five outings since he came back from his nine-week winter lay-off, Harrington knows that delaying surgery for too long could mean missing events such as The Open and the US PGA, which he is desperate to play.

Writing in his Facebook diary, Harrington said: "The frustrating thing for me now is that I am not sure what awaits me. I am on holidays with my family this week and then when I get home I will get my neck looked at again and make the decision as to having an operation or not. 

"Everything is up in the air for the next week or so. The really frustrating thing for me is that I hit the ball great on Friday and know that it is a case of working on my wedges and short game to improve my scoring, but for the moment I can't do anything.

"It's a waiting game for the moment and a case of keeping my fingers crossed that there will be an enough of an improvement to mean no operation is needed."

Harrington fell five spots to 153rd in the world after he missed the cut by five strokes in the Honda Classic last week.

But he sounded familiarly optimistic about his game after a combination of mental and physical practice with Dr Bob Rotella after his two-over-par opening round.

"We worked on my routine and also on my technique," Harrington explained. "I was hitting shots using an old drill of mine, where I step with my left foot and then hit, which made a big difference to my strike.

"On Friday I hit the ball the best I have in the five weeks. I played using the step drill and added in some waggles into my routine. I would have to say if I hit the ball as I did Friday for the rest of my life I would be very happy. 

"The problem I had on Friday was an age-old one for me - anytime I spend a lot of time practising the evening before a round I tend to hit the ball well but lose my scoring ability and I misjudged a number of chip shots and putts. The score I shot was the worst possible score I could have shot the way I struck the ball."

Harrington will be home in time to support Lollipop Day in aid of the Oesophageal Cancer Fund.

The fund-raising drive will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 3-4 with volunteers from all over Ireland selling €2 lollipops in aid of cancer research, awareness and patient services in Ireland. 

"Having lost my Dad to this cancer I know how important it is to educate people about the warning signs and promote early detection," Harrington wrote. "So, please buy a lolly and help Ireland stand up to oesophageal cancer."

http://lollipopday.ie/