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Harrington put on back foot as freak injury threatens progress

PADRAIG HARRINGTON's participation in the World Golf Championships may be threatened by a freak foot injury.

The Dubliner bruised his left foot while training in the gym on Tuesday night ahead of the Portugal Masters. Harrington was forced to stop during yesterday's pro-am and grimmaced with pain as he received treatment.

The injury didn't stop Harrington from shooting a low round and he is expected to feature at the business end of affairs this weekend. Harrington's renowned British coach Pete Cowen is seeking further proof this week that the three-time major champion's game is back on song.

Harrington parted company with his coach of 13 years, Bob Torrance, in July after his game hit a new low with missed cuts in the British Open and his home Irish Open event.

The 40-year-old Dubliner had plummeted down the world rankings from the third position he held shortly after claiming his third major title, the 2008 US PGA Championship.

Two weeks ago, Harrington finished eighth in the Dunhill Links Championship and began what he and Cowen hope is a climb back up the rankings, where he currently sits 78th.

"Pádraig came and asked me at the Bridgestone (tournament) if I would give an opinion on his swing and what I thought might improve it," said Cowen, whose many pupils include world number two Lee Westwood.

"He thought he was spending far too much time on his long game, to the detriment of his short game. Pádraig won two majors in 2008 with the best short game in the world. He felt as though he'd neglected that and when you looked at the stats it proved it. He'd become almost non-competitive.

"He's good at bashing himself on the range and he couldn't understand why he wasn't getting any better," Cowen added. "I just tried to simplify his action. It was complicated and required massive amounts of time. I felt he needed better mechanics which need less time spent on it.

"We've put a lot more stability on his right side on the backswing so he supports the club better, a simple movement which then needs constant repetition. Then he can make the right action on the through-swing. If you load the swing right, you unload it correctly.

"I've given him a training aid for the range that does that while he's swinging. It's a two-thumb grip put on in a certain way on the shaft. He's now more comfortable with his long game and can concentrate more on his short game again."