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Sergio Garcia set to play in Abu Dhabi after injury

Sergio Garcia
Garcia won his first European Tour event in July 1999

Sergio Garcia will make his return after a hand injury at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship from Thursday.

Garcia dropped from number two to 13th in the rankings after failing to win in 2009 and has not played since hurting his hand at the World Cup in November.

He returned to practice only last week and said: "It's not a perfect scenario but I will start to get the rhythm."

Eight of the world's top 20 feature, including European number one Lee Westwood and fit-again Paul Casey.

Despite having not won a major title, Garcia, 30, reached a career-best of world number two after winning the HSBC Champions event in November 2008.

There were no wins in 2009 but he recorded seven top-10 finishes before spraining his right hand during the third round of the season-ending Dubai World Championship at the end of November.

Garcia admitted he made the problem worse by playing in the team event the following week.

"Fortunately my hand is much better," said the Spaniard, who tees up with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy in the first two rounds.

"The doctor said if I had stopped after I did it in Dubai it would have been fixed within 10 or 15 days but unfortunately I played the World Cup and I re-strained it and it took six weeks.


"It has been a long, slow process but it is better. For six weeks I couldn't get the clubs out. There is still a bit of a bump in there and it turned into a bit of tendinitis and I have spent two weeks every morning and afternoon with the physio.

"I am obviously still rusty but I can hit the ball. I don't feel much pain, there is a bit of pain when I start warming up when it is cold but, as it goes on, it gets better.

"I am looking forward to the year. I hope to keep improving, to keep getting better and hopefully do some really nice things."

Another man back in action is defending champion Paul Casey, who plays alongside Westwood in the opening two rounds.

The 32-year-old has only recently returned after a rib injury at last year's Open curtailed his season.

"If I can just stay fit and healthy, there's no reason why I can't do better things this year as I did in the beginning of 2009," he said.

"Hitting golf balls on the range is very different from composing a round under tournament conditions, and I'm excited to be back having to post a score every week.

"The time away has fuelled my desire and I can't wait to get back to winning ways."

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see also
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf
Garcia worried about hand injury
29 Dec 09 |  Golf
Westwood gets European Tour award
08 Dec 09 |  Golf
Casey forced to quit in Shanghai
08 Nov 09 |  Golf
Injury forces Casey to skip Dubai
14 Nov 09 |  Golf
Casey delays comeback from injury
25 Sep 09 |  Golf

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