Padraig Harrington remains on track to a full recovery

Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington insists his recovery from injury is “ahead of expectations”, despite admitting it could be several months before his wrist is 100 per cent.

Padraig Harrington. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

Harrington is back in action for the first time since November at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia and is hoping for some “good karma”.

“I wouldn’t say the wrist is 100 per cent, it might not be 100 per cent for about nine months, or at least another six or seven months. I’m working away at it,” the three-time major winner said.

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“Traditionally the Malaysian Open was my first event of the season, if you go back 20 years, so it’s my first event this year and I’m looking forward to that good karma, let’s say.

“It’s interesting to come out here. I hit shots on the range here, I hit shots last week and the wrist is holding up, there’s no doubt about it.

“There’s a certain amount of mobility issues and I need to work on the strength of it. Maybe hit a few less balls in the short term, but in general it’s right on track. If anything it’s probably ahead of expectations.”

Defending champion Shubhankar Sharma shot 21 under par to win the title last year, but Harrington feels the firmness of the greens at Saujana Golf and Country Club will make for a tougher test this time around.

“It’s actually not tricky as a golf course, the firm greens are what will make it difficult this week,” he added. “I think the golf course is difficult in the right way. We’re not used to coming to Asian tournaments where the greens are this firm. It’s a wake-up call.”

World No 1 Dustin Johnson, meanwhile, believes he is closer than ever to recapturing the form which made him a strong favourite for the 2017 Masters.

In 2017 Johnson was a 5-1 favourite for the Masters after three successive wins, only to injure his back by falling down some stairs in his rented house in Augusta and be forced to withdraw without hitting a shot.

Johnson returned to Augusta in 2018 to record his third consecutive top-10 finish in the year’s first major and feels he is almost back to the form he had in early 2017.

“I’m getting closer, for sure,” he said. “I feel like the swing’s starting to feel a lot better.

“Back then was probably the best form I’ve ever been in and getting injured and it has taken a while to get back to that kind of form.”