Padraig Harrington opts for neck surgery in bid to make The Open

Padraig Harrington had hoped to put off neck surgery to deal with a trapped-nerve problem. Harry How/Getty Images

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington has opted to undergo neck surgery in a bid to be fit for The Open's return to Royal Birkdale in July.

He had hoped to avoid the operation despite suffering from a trapped nerve since the end of last season, but announced his decision on social media on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old, who became the first European to make a successful defence of The Open since James Braid in 1906 at Birkdale in 2008, wrote on Twitter: "Sorry I'm missing out on honouring Arnold Palmer's legacy at the @APinv this week.

"But I'm going to have neck surgery on a trapped nerve between C6and C7. Looks like I'll be out for 8 to 10 weeks.Targeting a comeback at the Memorial in May."

Speaking last month, Harrington had expressed concern about the potential timescale for his recovery.

"The only issue I have is if I delay surgery, thinking I'm getting better, and then I end up having to have surgery in May or something like that," he said.

"That would be a disaster to miss out on Birkdale and miss out on the PGA [Championship] as well, during the summer."