Augusta - Padraig Harrington had done everything he could to get ready for the Masters, and then did just a little too much.
A few minutes into his practice routine Thursday morning, the Irishman was swinging left-handed to loosen up when he tweaked something in his neck. Suddenly, he was not able to move to his right.
And then it was time to tee off. He shot a 77, matching his highest score ever at Augusta.
"I nearly pulled out before I started," Harrington said. "I wanted to pull out, but I wouldn't. That's just not my nature. I would always have a go. But it wasn't much fun."
He doesn't know if he will play on Friday, although the three-time major champion suspects he will. Harrington says he has never failed to finish a tournament unless he misses the cut or gets disqualified.
Harrington has coped with the occasional neck pain for the last eight years, although he says he has it under control. As for swinging from the other side, he says he usually does that as part of his warm-up routine.
"I prepared very well. I was in good form. But it was not to be," Harrington said. "I swing left-handed when I'm warming up before I hit shots. I'll keep swinging left-handed, but I won't swing as hard next time."