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The third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.
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.
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/Bxr8tSXIGrJanuary 22, 2022
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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