Padraig Harrington, who sat out the majority of the fall after he had surgery to repair a torn knee ligament, returned to action this past weekend at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. After his T6 finish, he made an announcement that should make Honda Classic officials and South Florida fans of his very happy. The Irish golfer announced that he plans on playing a regular schedule, which should mean a return to PGA National and the Honda Classic.
“You’re not sure what to expect, so I was happy with what I saw and (hope) all goes well for the rest of the season,” Harrington said.
Harrington is a two time winner at the Honda Classic, including holding off Jupiter resident Daniel Berger last year in a playoff that got him into the winners only event this past weekend. Last year's win also ended a tough stretch for Harrington. Before last year's win, Harrington found himself at 297 in the World Ranking (his career high was #3) and just one year removed from losing his Tour card.
“It has gotten harder to win on the Tour,” Harrington said after last year's win. “Sometimes to describe it, it’s like a 100-meter dash. Everybody lines up at the line and they all just sprint off. If you’re not 4-under par after nine holes, you’re feeling like, oh my God, how am I going to make it up here. It’s much tougher on Tour now, a lot of really talented players and it’s very, very hard. It’s a big, big pond out here with a lot of talent in it. There’s so much talent; it probably puts a lot of us under a lot of pressure to absolutely play at our very best every week, and maybe sometimes we put ourselves under too much pressure to do that and don’t perform.”
Harrington sank a 16-foot birdie on the 72nd hole last year to force the playoff with Berger. Harrington finally won on the second playoff hole (#17 on PGA National's Champions Course) after Berger put his tee shot in the water.
The 2016 edition of the Honda Classic will once again be held at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens February 25th through the 28th. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.hondaclassic.com.