The next step on the 2019 European Tour circuit brings the players from Kenya to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for the $3m Maybank Championship. Making his first ever appearance in the event is the new European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington.
While Harrington hasn’t played the event previously he has played in Malaysia on many occasions, including finishing second behind fellow three-time Major champion Vijay Singh in 2001 at this week’s venue, Saujana Golf and Country Club.
The Dubliner said his recovery from a recent wrist injury is exceeding expectations. Harrington said, “I wouldn’t say the wrist is 100%, it might not be 100% for about nine months, or at least another six or seven months. I’m working away at it.”
“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, but in general it’s right on track. If anything, it’s probably ahead of expectations.”
“Traditionally the Malaysian Open was my first event of the season, if you go back 20 years. It’s my first event this year and I’m looking forward to that good karma, let’s say.”
“It’s a very good set up this year. The changes to the greens have substantially changed the way the course will play. The greens are firm. It looks like the changes are excellent, a really, really good challenge.”
Also in the field this week is the flamboyant Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez. He has enjoyed great success in Asia over the years, with his 21 European Tour victories including five Hong Kong Open titles. The 55 year-old is feeling as competitive as ever as he successfully balances life on the European Tour and the over 50s circuit, capturing his first two senior Major titles last year including the Senior Open presented by Rolex on the Staysure Tour.
Jiménez was very complimentary about the Saujana Golf and Country Club venue saying, “There have been a few changes, the first couple of holes are different. The greens are all new. The golf course is in very good shape. I feel comfortable here. I like this kind of weather. It’s nice, I feel good. Good golf course, good design. I enjoy coming to Malaysia.”
“I’m still playing well on both tours. Now I dedicate more than 20% to senior golf. But I still like to play on the European Tour too. I play maybe six tournaments a year.”
“I still have my category to play, and as long as I have my category I will keep playing. If I didn’t feel competitive I wouldn’t come here. When the moment comes that I don’t feel competitive, I won’t come. There is no point coming just to show up.”
Picture Credit: Getty Images