Paddy wary of weather
Padraig Harrington (File)
Johor Baru - Ireland's Padraig Harrington fears that his defence of this week's co-sanctioned Johor Open could become a victim the southernmost Malaysian state's volatile weather at this time of year.
Last week's rain-hit Singapore Open, where Harrington missed the cut, was reduced to 54 holes and ended on Monday, and the poor weather appears to have followed the players across the causeway with Tuesday's pro-am cancelled after just one hole.
Harrington ended a two-year winless drought to capture the then Asian Tour event 12 months ago but that was in the second week of October compared to the staging of this year's $3 million event deeper into the rainy season.
"This course is substantially different when I won here last year as it was drier with not one stoppage all week due to any rain," Harrington told reporters at the Horizon Hills Country Club course on Wednesday.
"I was getting between 30 to 50 yards run on the fairways in winning last year but we're going to be struggling this year with even some balls getting plugged completely under the fairways as they're that soft.
"There were completely different lines of the fairways and on the lay-up holes, you were struggling not to run out of fairway.
"So with all this rain the lay-up holes are going to be much easier but the longer holes are going to be that much tougher.
"The key to my win last year was that I hit the ball a really long way. That was my big advantage I felt over the field, the length I was hitting off the tee and then getting the enormous run on the fairways."
Should the thunderstorms continue unabated then the event, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours for the first time, could end up following a similar pattern to last week's Singapore Open.
"If this rain continues we could very well be staring at 54 holes or even fewer, so the key is going to be getting off to a fast start," the 40-year-old Dubliner added.
"So if you are not up there early on, and we do get more rain, then it will be hard to make up ground if it is reduced," added the three-times major winner, who has slipped to number 83 in the world rankings.
Joining Harrington this week will be fellow British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, India's Jeev Milka Singh and the PGA Tour-based duo of American Anthony Kim and Columbian Camilo Villegas.