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Harrington, Garcia set for Abu Dhabi tournament

Harrington, Garcia set for Abu Dhabi tournament

Not content with winning the British Open and PGA Championship last year, Padraig Harrington believes he can become an even better golfer in 2009.
Harrington, who feels he is in better shape, is preparing for Thursday's first round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the first of a three-event European Tour "Desert Swing" through the Gulf.
"I am in a better position to manage my injuries," the Irishman said Wednesday. "And I do believe I'll be a better player this year. That doesn't necessarily mean that my results will be better, but over time, it will even itself out."
Harrington knows that 2008 will be a tough act to follow, but now feels he is ready physically and mentally for the new season.
"Obviously, last year was such a good year," he said. "It would be hard to set goals based on last year. So, I'm trying to focus on the process and just trying to improve my game. I worked out a lot during the break, not only on my game and in the gym, but also with my psyche."
The third-ranked Harrington will need to be on form this week as he faces a quality field led by second-ranked Sergio Garcia of Spain at the $2 million tournament.
Along with Garcia and Masters champion Trevor Immelman of South Africa, the event has also attracted defending champion Martin Kaymer of Germany, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, Australians Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley, and Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh.
Harrington beat Garcia in a play-off for the 2007 British Open Championship in Carnoustie and also held off his challenge for the PGA title last year.
Garcia, who leads the European Tour's new Race to Dubai after winning the season-opening HSBC Champions in Shanghai, is hoping to consolidate his place by playing in all three Gulf events. Doha and Dubai are the other two.
"This is going to be an important year for me and I'm looking forward to getting into a good rhythm and get some good emotions in these next three weeks," Garcia said. "I love this particular stretch of European Tour."
With Tiger Woods out of action, Garcia has a chance to eventually take over his position at the top of the rankings.
"Of course, I have a chance. It could happen if I get going the right way. I have to play very well," Garcia said. "But it's not something that's a do-or-die for me. Winning a Major has always been a goal for me. But if I become the No. 1, nothing is going to change for me."


Updated : 2021-06-22 12:40 GMT+08:00