Harrington ready to resume battle

Padraig Harrington has returned from a knee injury – and his first test is in Memphis this week.

Padraig Harrington has returned from a knee injury – and his first test is in Memphis this week.

While Tiger Woods’ knee injury will still keep him out of professional competition in the coming weeks, Harrington is fit enough to play in this week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic.

He’ll also be hoping that history repeats itself at the US Open next week. The last two majors that Woods was forced to sit out, 2008’s Open and US PGA Championship, were both won by the Irishman.

But first things first, and for Harrington that’s putting in a good performance in Memphis this week after missing out on the BMW PGA Championship two weeks ago.

Harrington will be aiming to arrest his slide down the world rankings, as he finds himself outside the top 50 for the first time since 1999. only two years ago, he was at No 3.

“I don’t want to drop out of the top 50, but what can I do?” he said recently. “It’s not through lack of trying and I feel my game’s in great shape. I think I’m in a position to go forward.

“I’m not panicking about dropping out of the top 50 and it’s not in itself a big issue – there’s a big summer ahead and I’m very happy with my game, what I’m doing and where I’m at.

“I’m doing the right things that will lead to results.

“You go through periods where no matter how hard you try to win you just don’t.

“And you go through periods where you can’t do anything wrong. It’s a tough game and you just have to be patient.”

It’s been a season marked by a number of unfortunate incidents for Harrington.

His first round of the year – a superb 65 in Abu Dhabi – was soon rendered null and void as he found himself disqualified for failing to spot that his ball had moved a fraction as he picked up his marker.

It seemed to set the tone for what followed – a series of disappointing performances.

In recent months he’s managed a few top-10 finishes, but they were all punctuated by missed cuts inbetween.

Harrington marks his return at an event dominated by Europeans last year, with the winner eventually decided by a play-off between Robert Karlsson and Lee Westwood, the Englishman eventually coming out on top.

Westwood, currently sitting in the No 2 spot on the world rankings, will not be able to surpasss a resting Luke Donald this week even if he should win, as there are not enough ranking points on offer.

Karlsson has played exclusively in America this year, after taking a PGA Tour card and moving with his family to the States. AS a result of applying for a green card, he has not been able to travel outside the US, forcing him to pull out of the Volvo World Match Play in Spain and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.