Harrington happy despite niggling injury

Padraig Harrington has said he is pleased to have taken a step forward following interrupted pre-season preparations.

Padraig Harrington has said he is pleased to have taken a step forward following interrupted pre-season preparations.

The Open champion headed home after narrowly missing out on a top-10 finish at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, despite a persistent neck injury flaring up.

Harrington, who admitted his preparations had been hit after suffering a bout of illness during the Christmas period, received treatment on the injury during his third round.

The 36-year-old went on to record a third round four-under-par 69 before a final round 68, his best of the week, left him tied for 11th place at seven under par overall.

"Once or twice a year it breaks down, I just hope it doesn't happen on a big week," said Harrington, who finished seven shots adrift of wire-to-wire winner Martin Kaymer.

"Close to 75% of my gym work is based on my shoulders to protect the neck. If you have a disk bulge there is nothing you can do about it, you have it for life."

Harrington decided to pull out of this week's Buick Invitational in San Diego following his disrupted pre-season which followed his tie for fifth place at the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai in November.

He will now turn his attentions to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the start of February, content with the progress made at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

"It's been a good time to come out in my practice as it shows up where I am. I have got two weeks to go home and work on a few little details," he added.

"If I had played in America the emphasis would be on the score more than working on the details.

"I've been working on a few things with my swing, playing definitely showed up a little bit more about where it's at. I will go home and have a good idea on what I need to work on.

"My bunker play has also improved and that is a positive because I have been working on that.

"I also changed my grip putting-wise, and it is always nice to see it on the golf course. I will probably be a little bit sharper teeing up at AT&T than I was in Abu Dhabi."

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