Padraig Harrington (Getty Images)
Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland has spoken of his excitement of tackling the remodelled West Course at Wentworth Club ahead of his first appearance at the BMW PGA Championship since 2007.
Harrington was vocal in his support of the decision to relay the greens at the famous Surrey venue, which was modernised by the Ernie Els Design team.
The Irishman’s highest finish at the BMW PGA Championship was tied sixth in 2006 and, whilst he admitted his game is not quite at the razor sharp levels which saw him win two Open Championships and the US Open Championship, he feels the changes made to the course will play to his strengths.
Harrington said: “I like what I see. I think Ernie has done a great job over the last number of years in making the golf course a stronger, but fairer, challenge. I think the key here is that they know they are holding at least one championship here every year, and it gives the tournament director more control of how he wants to see the golf course set up.
“With the way the course is now, you could have a setup that’s very difficult, and there’s also easy pin positions on some of the greens, so you can have a golf course that’s set up quite reasonably easy. So it gives a lot of control, which is what you really need now for a modern day championship. If you have a difficult golf course and you get tough weather for the week, then nobody is going to enjoy it; but then it if you get lovely, sunny weather for the week, you do need to have a really tough test. I think they have got the balance here now.”
Harrington’s chances of securing a maiden victory at the €4.5million event have been hampered by a persistent knee injury, which will require surgery next week.
He said: “I played football at Christmas, and I tore some cartilage in my knee. I had an MRI scan a couple of months back, and then I went back and had another one last week as well. Basically, there’s a bit of cartilage floating around in there, and they want to take it out before it causes me any problems.
“It should only take ten days to two weeks to recover, unless there’s a complication. But I wouldn’t be getting it done if I thought there was going to be a complication for the US Open. It’s keyhole surgery, and they can get you back out in pretty quick time now. So I’m comfortable having it done.
“If I waited until the end of the year, the doctor feels that it could cause some arthritic problems; but if I can have it cleared up now, it reduces the chance of arthritis for a number of years . So it’s just a precautionary thing as much as anything.”