Despite new status, Harrington to honor sponsor invites


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Padraig Harrington asked for a lot of sponsor exemptions this season, and he says he plans to honor the tournaments that awarded them, even though he no longer needs the special invites with his victory Monday at the Honda Classic earning him a new two-year PGA Tour exemption.

Harrington will have a full schedule heading back to the Masters after failing to qualify to play at Augusta National last year.

In fact, he has such a full schedule, Harrington said he is “thrilled” his Honda victory didn’t get him into this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral.

“It might be the best thing for me,” he said.

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Harrington will need this week off to rest up for the Masters run-up after accepting sponsor invites to play four consecutive weeks before teeing it up at Augusta National. He asked for and received invites to the Valspar Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Valero Texas Open and the Shell Houston Open.

“I will honor them all,” Harrington said.

If Harrington had become eligible to play Trump Doral, he said he likely would have played, which would have meant playing 10 consecutive weeks going to the Masters.

With his PGA Tour exempt status expired this year, Harrington was playing on sponsor invites and as a past champion. He said he believes he owes a debt of gratitude to the tournaments that honored his sponsor exemption requests.

Harrington wasn’t qualified for last year’s Masters, missing it for the first time since 2000. His Honda victory Monday comes with an invitation to return to Augusta National.