Padraig Harrington has had an extremely eventful couple of days at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. He sits in tied 17th place with 18 holes remaining.
But in the third round on Saturday, Harrington noticed something very strange. He found a crack in his driver on the 11th tee box much to his surprise.
However, the three-time major champion was not allowed to change his club. The club was not cracked enough to become out of shape, so he carried on.
Harrington played the last eight holes with his cracked driver and played them in 3-under-par. Ironically, he birdied the 11th hole too.
"Another strange ruling today. I realized the face of my driver was cracked on the 11th tee. I was not allowed to change it as it wasn't cracked enough to be out of shape. Drove it well enough for last 8 holes. I've got a replacement head ready to go," Harrington wrote on Twitter.
Another strange ruling today. I realized the face of my driver was cracked on the 11th tee. I was not allowed change it as it wasn't cracked enough to be out of shape. Drove it well enough for last 8 holes. I've got a replacement head ready to go. @DPWorldTour #ADGolfChamps pic.twitter.com/Bxr8tSXIGr— Padraig Harrington (@padraig_h) January 22, 2022
In terms of the rules of golf, the area concerned here is rule 4.1b (3). A player may only replace a damaged club if the player did not cause the damage.
If the damage was caused by an outside influence of natural forces, the player may replace the club but must take the damaged club out of their bag.
The ruling didn't hinder Harrington and he is well placed to finish strongly in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. He was at the centre of a strange occurrence at Yas Links on Friday too.
On the 8th hole, the 50-year-old accidentally double-hit a short chip that travelled about four yards. Harrington described it as one of the most memorable shots of his career.
The 2021 Ryder Cup captain said that luckily, the cameramen on hand in the UAE did not notice what he had done while his playing partners Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson took mercy on him as well.