Red-faced European Tour officials will be praying that Padraig Harrington can win the Order of Merit this week.

There will be blushes all round if Ernie Els hangs on to the No 1 spot as he is not in Valderrama but playing for a fat appearance fee in the clashing $4 million Singapore Open.

Four of the world's top 10 and six of the top 20 are at the Asian Tour event, which moved to a free date in the calendar last May to avoid any clash with the Volvo Masters.

But the European Tour then moved it's €4 million flagship event back a week, leading to a clash of dates that has annoyed England's Lee Westwood and made a mockery of the Order of Merit race.

Like Els and Darren Clarke, Westwood signed a three year contract to play in Singapore before the European Tour moved the Volvo Masters.

Currently 10th on the Order of Merit, Westwood said: "I committed to playing in Asia very early on this year and I committed to play in the Singapore Open a long time ago as well, so the mismanagement on behalf of the European Tour as far as dates coinciding was very disappointing from my perspective.

"Hopefully that will be corrected in years to come and I will be able to play in the last couple of events of the European season."

World No 2 Phil Mickelson, No 4 Els, No 6 Adam Scott and No 9 KJ Choi are joined in Singapore by top 20 players Vijay Singh and Angel Cabrera, the US Open champion.

By contrast, Harrington and Sergio Garcia are the only players from the world's top 10 playing at Valderrama, which is limited to the top 60 on the Order of Merit and available past champions.

But nine of the 60 are missing with Els, Cabrera, Westwood, Charl Schwartzel, Nick O'Hern, Michael Campbell and Anton Haig in Singapore and Retief Goosen and Richard Green taking the week off.

Els does not like Valderrama and the last of his two Volvo Masters appearances came in 1998.

His last appearance was in 1998 and while he took the Order of Merit in 2003 and 2004, he already had the Harry Vardon Trophy in the bag before the Valderrama event.

The South African overtook Harrington at the top the Order of Merit when he won last month's HSBC World Matchplay at Wentworth.

But he made it clear that he would not be changing his plans and heading to Valderrama instead of Singapore.

He said: "It's a great course and it's a great end-of-season event. But, how can I say it, the end of the year you've got the wheelbarrow out, too. You want to cash in a little bit.

"It just happened that this tournament is the same week. I didn't know before we signed that last year. It's unfortunate. I don't know how it slipped their radar."

Harrington did not want to get involved in the war of words started by Westwood on Singapore.

Asked if it would be a shame not to have the Order of Merit winner at Valderrama, he said: "There is no point in talking about it unless it happens. Hopefully I can win the Order of Merit."