PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – All things considered, Padraig Harrington knows he could be in a lot worse places.
The Ryder Cup captain tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and immediately withdrew from the tournament and started to self-isolate adhering to CDC and PGA Tour protocols for 10 days.
His sense of smell remains intact, his taste buds still working at full strength and other than feeling a bit tired at times, Harrington is tackling the issue at hand as if he were making swing changes.
Oh, and his room at The Lodge overlooks the first tee of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. While he doesn’t have a view of the ocean, he can smell it and hear its soothing sounds throughout the long days and nights.
“I’m doing good,” the three-time major champion told Golfweek. “I basically would call what I have a mild flu. I have symptoms I know I’ve had in the past where I would have tried to go out and work and practice and get through it and then I’d get home and say, ‘I really should have stayed in bed for 24 hours and taken some medicine.’
“But if this is my outcome, I’m actually delighted and very lucky. If all I get from this is a couple of days of the mild flu and I don’t have any long-term effects, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll have the antibodies in my body.
“But COVID is not to be messed with. I want to make sure to do everything I can to beat this. I know I have to do all the stuff I need to do and I am doing that.”
Still, this is Harrington we’re talking about. At 49, he’s still one of the hardest workers in the game and needs to be in motion and needs to tinker. Cooped up in a hotel, no matter how luxurious, isn’t exactly on his to-do list. But he’s making the most of his situation and realizes you take the day and night hour by hour.
“This is the PGA Tour and we’re in the real world. And I have caught COVID,” Harrington said. “There are worst places to be than in The Lodge and looking out on the first tee at Pebble Beach and catching up on my Netflix. I did the whole two seasons of Mindhunter. Eighteen hours I got through. It’s excellent.
“I’m texting people about the Ryder Cup. You could have a competition on how many cups of tea I’m going to drink these 10 days. I’m at about 6 to 8 before 12 o’clock in the day. And last night I had the nicest curry I have ever had. It was just phenomenal. The coconut, the carrots, the broccoli.”
He’s also conversed with a few people – mind you, from 30-40 yards away from his second-story balcony. While no one is in either room on each side of his room, he’s still talked with a few people, including Bill Murray, who came over to chat Wednesday before the celebrity tournament that raised $1.6 million for charities.
“I’ve come to learn how important eye contact is,” Harrington said. “A little bit of eye contact is very nice. Seeing the players from afar and seeing Bill Murray and talking with him was very nice.”
And the contact he’s had with staff of The Lodge and PGA Tour has been worthy.
“I had checked into The Lodge without knowing I had COVID, and I had tested but had not gotten my results, and then they rang me up the next day and I thought they wouldn’t be happy because they had someone in the hotel that had COVID and they’d have to super clean the room,” Harrington said. “And the staff could not be nicer. They are far more concerned about me than they are about themselves. The guy on the phone was asking me what they could do for me. They did contact tracing. He did his job. But it was all about me.
“The PGA Tour has been on top of things. I’ve had Zoom meetings with my team and the Tour’s team all the way through and I get two calls a day from the Tour and one from The Lodge to see how I’m doing.
“They are checking on me and that feels very reassuring. The Tour has been excellent with their response as well as The Lodge.”
After taking two days off and taking plenty of snoozes, as he calls them, Harrington started making swings in the room and began putting on the carpet. Training aids arrived Thursday that will help him pass time.
“Physically, you can work on drills but you can never recreate the speed of a golf swing without hitting a ball so I’m not doing any of that. I’m still taking it very easy. I don’t want to stress my body,” he said.
Harrington is entered in next week’s Genesis Invitational and health willing, he’s planning to play. His quarantine ends next Wednesday and he’s allowed to get into a car and drive that night straight to Los Angeles to play if his health is fine.
“The last time I played without practice rounds was the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale,” said Harrington, who won the Claret Jug for a second consecutive time that year. “But I have to feel good and have to determine if I could be ready to play without hitting golf balls for 10 days. I have to feel healthy. If so, hopefully I’ll have a late tee time.
“A friend of mine had COVID and I’m in contact with him and he tells me what to expect. That is so important. He’s told me that I will feel things and wonder if it’s coming back, is it getting worse, things like that. And if I feel something, I rest.
“So getting better is the most important thing. That’s all that matters right now.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/02/12/ryder-cup-padraig-harrington-covid-19-pebble-beach/