By Andrew Both
GREENSBORO North Carolina (Reuters) - Three-times major champion Padraig Harrington lost his exempt status on the PGA Tour after missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship on Friday.
The Irishman, whose form decline over the past couple of years has been both precipitous and unexpected, will rely on tournament invitations next season.
There are no guarantees he will get into every event he wants, but his status as a multiple major winner should help.
Harrington has the option of taking a one-season exemption as one of the tour’s all-time top 50 money winners, but he wants to save that option for another time.
The 42-year-old also has some exempt status as a former champion, but that will get him into only a handful of tournaments.
Harrington hopes to start playing again as soon as the new season starts in October. In retrospect, he thinks he started his schedule too late this season, and had too much catching up to do.
“I was 12 tournaments into the season before I played over here (this season),” he told reporters after shooting a 72 for a four-over-par 144 total at Sedgefield on Friday.
“I could do with (a break but) I’ll probably end up playing 34 events this year. It’s too much.”
Not that he feels like he has much choice.
Harrington finished 116th on the money list last year and barely kept his card. This year he was ranked 188th starting the Wyndham Championship, the final event of the season for players who do not qualify for the playoffs.
“My expectations were very high this week,” he said. “I didn’t play well. I just can’t get out of my own way. I’m certainly working on some good things but it will probably happen when I least expect it.”
Harrington “substantially” adjusted his putting stroke this week, but endured a poor couple of rounds on the greens.
“I putted terribly yesterday and had a four-putt today,” he said.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)