Padraig Harrington Cracks Driver Mid Round And Still Shoots Under Par

The former Ryder Cup Captain was dealt a very strange ruling during his third round in Abu Dhabi

Harrington hits a drive
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship was filled with drama and has set up a thrilling climax going in to the final day on Sunday. However, one thing that will be different during the final round will be the driver head of three-time Major champion, Padraig Harrington.

The 50-year-old, who has endured a chaotic and busy 12 months, had been one-under-par for his third round at Yas Links before a rather unfortunate moment. About to tee off on the par-5 11th, the former Ryder Cup Captain noticed that the face of his driver had cracked.

Calling over a rules official, Harrington was told that he "was not allowed to change it as it wasn't cracked enough to be out of shape." As a result, Harrington played the last eight holes with his cracked driver. What is impressive is that he played them in three-under-par, ironically, birdieing the 11th hole in the process.

Harrington smiles after his third round

Harrington was all smiles after his third round 68.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a tweet following his third round, Harrington said: "Another strange ruling today. I realised 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 eight holes. I've got a replacement head ready to go. #ADGolfChamps @DPWorldTour"

So, what rule was it that meant Harrington couldn't change his driver? In terms of the rules of golf, the rule 4.1b (3) states that "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."

Although it may sound harsh, the three-time Major champion is on course for a solid showing in Abu Dhabi, sitting in a tie for 17th and only seven shots back of 54-hole leader Scott Jamieson.

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Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x