Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington has revealed how he feared a freak injury might have ended his career.
The Irishman suffered the scare after being struck on the elbow by an amateur golfer during a coaching session earlier this week.
It has forced him to withdraw from the FedEx St Jude Classic, which starts in Memphis tomorrow, after requiring six stitches.
“Whilst coaching an amateur golfer (at an outing in Washington DC) on how to cure his hook, I stepped in close to demonstrate the action for a fade,” wrote Harrington on his website.
“But, as I was stepping away, he continued to swing and caught me flush on the elbow.
“My initial thought was that the elbow was shattered and it was the end to my competitive playing career. I nearly fainted with the pain and shock.
“I applied ice to the elbow within seconds and also compressed it to minimise any inflammation.
“After an X-ray at the hospital, I was delighted to learn that it wasn’t broken, but it still required six deep stitches.
“I have been advised to be cautious and it will need 10-12 days for the stitches to heal.”
That means Harrington will have time to get himself fully fit for next month’s Open at Royal Birkdale, where he made a successful Claret Jug defence in 2008.
Matt Kuchar has joined Rickie Fowler in committing to next month’s Scottish Open - but is hoping Dundonald Links is the last new venue for the event for the time being.
Kuchar, who finished joint-second behind Fowler at Gullane two years ago, confirmed his appearance in Ayrshire to golfbytourmiss.com in the build up to this week’s FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis.
“I enjoyed Gullane and having such a strong chance for victory, so I’m looking forward to Dundonald Links”, he said.
“I don’t know anything about the course or where it is, but if it is anything like Gullane and Castle Stuart, it should be great.”
Dundonald Links will be the fourth new venue, joining Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen and Gullane, to host the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event since it left Loch Lomond after a lengthy spell there.
“Phil Mickelson made a fairly insightful comment recently saying how tough it was go travel over to Britain for the two weeks where we are all still learning The Open courses,” added Kuchar.
“It is such a big rotation of courses and so different going to the Masters each year where we know the golf course and do not need to play several practice rounds.
“So, to go back–to–back weeks and have to learn like two completely new golf courses acquires a whole lot of effort for each course.
“Phil thought, and it was an insightful comment, that the Scottish Open might be better off being hosted on a single course each year or have a rotation of two to three courses, and a not a new venue each year.
“In that way you are not going to a course each year and spending an awful lot of practice time getting to know it.”
The R&A has confirmed that ‘Ready Golf’ will be encouraged in both the men’s and women’s Amateur Championships later this month.
The move, which is aimed at trying to improve pace of play, had been mooted earlier in the year by chief executive Martin Slumbers.
It means that players competing in both the stroke-play stages of the two events can play when they are ready rather than dhering to ‘the farthest from the hole plays first’ requirement.
“We support solutions that address the issue of slow play and Ready Golf is an effective means of reducing the time it takes to complete a round,” said Duncan Weir, the R&A’s executive director of golf development.
“Our research has shown that golfers would enjoy the sport more if it took less time to play and so we are introducing Ready Golf during the stroke play rounds at our amateur championships to help improve pace of play and the experience for the players and spectators.”
Paul O’Hara produced a performance every bit as impressive as his recent record-breaking efforts on the Tartan Tour pro-am circuit to set the pace in the Northern Open.
On the toughest of days at Moray Golf Club due to a combination of incessant rain and wind gusting up to 40mph, no-one in the 84-strong field managed to break the par of 71.
The actual par on such a day was a lot higher, though, and the 72 carded by O’Hara, therefore, was a brilliant effort from the Lanarkshire man.
He started birdie-birdie and was three-under with eight holes to play before dropping shots at 11th, 13th, 14th and 18th as it turned really nasty for the later starters.
Despite that finish, O’Hara ended the day two shots clear of the field at the Lossiemouth venue, with Bathgate’s Louis Gaughan leading the chase in the 72-hole event.
“It was a battle of survival all day,” said North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd-attached O’Hara, who shot scores of 61 and 63 at Largs and Bishopbriggs respectively in the build up to this event.
Two players - Chloe Goadby (St Regulus Ladies) and Emma Hale (Royal Troon) - share the lead after the first qualifying round in the 103rd Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen.
The pair shot matching one-over-par 77s over the Balgownie Links on one of the wettest first days in living memory.
Stirling student Goadby, 19, set the clubhouse target before lunchtime and it was only near the end of play that she was joined in the lead by 20-year-old Hale.
Defending champion Ailsa Summers (Carnoustie Ladies) had an 84, one better than 2015 winner Clara Young (North Berwick).