Padraig Harrington played his first competitive round in nine weeks on Thursday, opening the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a respectable 3-under 70 that has him five shots behind leader and defending champion Patrick Reed.
Naturally, Harrington, the second-oldest player in the 32-man field at 44, behind 51-year-old Davis Love III, lacked some of his usual conditioning after an operation five weeks ago to repair a tear in his left meniscus.
“On Saturday, I played in the cart, and even in the cart when I finished up I was in pain all over,” Harrington said, according to Golfweek. “My left arm couldn’t handle the driver swing because I hadn’t hit any drivers during the winter. It really was a tough ask coming out here … I’ve got to say my legs are tired now. But the only thing probably not hurting me is that knee they had operated on, so that’s a good sign.”
The three-time major winner has been going through all the proper rehab, but, in typical Harrington fashion, he is also working in what’s called a cryo bath — not a water bath, but one of artificially chilled air — to accelerate his recovery.
“I do six minutes at minus-140 degrees because I’m used to it,” Harrington said.
Harrington did the baths, about 20 altogether, in a 12-day period.
“So, that’s a pretty long time. Most guys are at three minutes. But it, basically, when you’re working out, it boosts your testosterone. That’s what it does. And it helps your recovery from injuries.”