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Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington must be wondering what else could possibly happen to him as he prepares for golf's richest event - the £5.8million Players Championship - in Florida this week.

He was disqualified in Abu Dhabi in January after it was spotted on television that his ball had moved a tiny fraction of an inch as he picked up his marker and then, at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, a spectator had raised the question of whether he had played from in front of the tee markers at the 13th hole although it could not be proved one way or the other.

"It really would be a question of being a martyr if I took a penalty at this stage," he said. "It was just inconclusive. It would be very, very odd for me and especially the other guys not to see something and there was nothing that stood out to us at the time."

He added: "I've had a few instances over the years with penalties and you do have to abide by the rules all the time. This one there's just no reason to say yes, even though it's certainly close."

The incident was just another example, though, of the fine line - almost literally in this case - between success and failure.

Harrington finished joint ninth and earned over £90,000. If the decision had gone against him he would have been disqualified again and earned nothing.

Only a week ago American Webb Simpson lost a play-off after suffering a one-shot penalty late in his round after his ball moved as he went to putt a foot from the hole.

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And on Sunday Lucas Glover triumphed in a play-off after an amazing break on the final hole when his ball rolled down a slope just before he was about to play and left him with a much easier approach to the green.

The difference between finishing first and second in both instances was more than £275,000.

If something happens this weekend the financial implications are even greater. First prize at Sawgrass in what is often referred to as the sport's unofficial fifth major is over £1million and second place is worth £628,000.


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