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Page last updated at 19:51 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Fitter Harrington issues warning

Padraig Harrington
Harrington finished second in last year's European Tour Order of Merit

Padraig Harrington has sent out a warning to his rivals on the eve of the Irishman's first tournament of the year, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Harrington, 37, won the Open and the USPGA in 2008, battling a wrist injury to win at Birkdale.

"I am in a better position to manage my injuries," said Harrington.

"I worked out a lot during the break, not only on my game and in the gym, but also with my psyche. I'm just trying to improve my game."

However, Harrington said he is expecting to be a little rusty in the United Arab Emirates this week, having not played a competitive round since November.

I'm looking forward to getting into a good rhythm and getting some good emotions in these next three weeks

Spain's Sergio Garcia

"I would say I'm more hopeful than expecting because of the fact that it's the start of the year," he said.

"You are a little bit raw in terms of your scoring ability and that really determines whether you win or not during the week."

Spain's Sergio Garcia, who was runner-up at the USPGA last year but once again missed out on a major, said that 2009 would be "an important year" for him.

"I'm looking forward to getting into a good rhythm and getting some good emotions in these next three weeks," said the Spaniard.

"Winning a major has always been a goal for me. So I guess that's probably the only place where I'll set any kind of a goal and try to get on that."

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