Padraig Harrinton is hoping his Valderrama jinx will not strike again and deny him the Order of Merit title.

Four years ago the Dubliner went into the final event just €23,119 behind Retief Goosen in the race to become European No 1.

At the time, Harrington was the defending champion following his one shto win over Paul McGinley at Montecastillo the previous year.

But it all went wrong at Valderrama where Harrington ran into a bizarre two-shot penalty at the very first hole and ended up carding rounds of 74, 76, 74 and 73 to gift the South African the money title.

There were three shots between the pair after only one hole when Goosen birdied and Harrington picked up a two stroke penalty and finished with a double bogey six.

The Dubliner an repaired a pitch mark on the fringe of the first green while his ball was still off the putting surface and, under rule 13-2, he had improved his line and he immediately summoned a referee, who confirmed the offence and the punishment – two strokes.

Harrington said: “These things happen. I just walked up and fixed the pitch mark which looked like it was on the green because of the shade. As I was digging there seemed to be a little more grass than you would expect and a bell went off in my head. I knew the rule and obviously it was a two shot penalty. Nobody saw, but I knew straight away.”

Harrington hopes he can win next week's Mallorca Classic and possibly move ahead of main rival Paul Casey before Valderrama.

He said: "I am going to Mallorca with the intention of winning another tournament. Valderrama is a tougher task for me. I find it a difficult golf course. It might be different this year but traditionally I have found it a tough course.

Hopefully this time around maybe it will be different but my best chance of winning the order of Merit is to close the gap substantially in Mallorca.

"At the end of the day I want to get close enough that if the two of us play well in Valderrama if I beat him by a shot or a position, it could make the difference of overtaking him.

"I've had some experience of it before and I didn't do very well that week. I started the week off by repairing a pitch mark on the fringe when I was off the green and got penalised a shot or two shots. After that it was all downhill."

At the time, Harrington admitted that he had taken the wrong attitude into the final event by playing the previous two weeks in Madrid and Italy in an attempt to close the gap on Goosen.

He said: "I was not playing the Volvo Masters, I was trying to win the Volvo Order of Merit, which is silly. You get ahead of yourself and I was not myself the last three weeks because there was so much attention on the money list. But I've learnt from the experience."

While he's tired this week after playing four events in a row, including the Ryder Cup, he said: "I'll be fit and strong in Mallorca and hopefully raring to go."