Harrington to face Spider-Man

By Brian Keogh

Padraig Harrington is facing a do-or-die battle with Spider-Man in next week's WGC - Accenture Match Play in Arizona.

But after sharing 14th on his PGA Tour debut in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, knows he must improve in this week's Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles if he is to down flamboyant Colombian Camilo Villegas in his opening matchplay clash in Tucson.

Nicknamed Spider-Man because of the way he crouches down to line up his putts, world No 57 Villegas has a big-hitting style that could suit the Gallery Golf Club.

But Harrington is more worried about escaping the web of mental errors that cost him dear at Pebble Beach when he tees it up at Riviera Country Club this week.

After finishing six shots outside a play-off between winner Steve Lowery and Vijay Singh, Harrington said: "I am feeling my way back. It was an okay week but I made lots of mental errors.

"It just brings it home when you come back to the Tour, just what you've got to do.

"You come back in and you do slip up a little bit. The mental aspect is a part of my game that I would normally consider very strong.

"It generally shows up a little bit when I start up again. I am a bit uncompetitive.

"I got caught out a few times not deciding on shots but that's what you expect the first week out. I do need a couple of weeks to get back into things."

Harrington says he has recovered from the bout of shingles he picked up after last month's Abu Dhabi Championship, where he was tied 11th.

But he was making no excuses for an erratic performance at Pebble Beach, where he played the par-fives in three over par for the week.

Just one off the lead at one stage during the final round, he said: "I'm feeling good. I did suffer shingles but it's all fine now. I caught it in time.

"I just can't overdo things for the moment because it would still be there in my nervous system. Besides that, I feel good. I have just been warned not to overdo it."

Down one place to 11th in the world, Harrington is looking forward to teeing it up in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera this week after taking seventh place on his debut last year.

But he knows that it will be a tougher challenge than the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach with 17 of the world's top 20 in action.

The Open champion said: "I like Riviera but I've got to be better than I was this week. This week at Pebble is always a very generous week and it's why I come here as an opening event. Riviera will not be as generous."

Harrington opened with an eight under par 63 to lead the field by three strokes last term and shared the 36-hole lead with Phil Mickelson.

He was just one behind Mickelson with a round to play but closed with two over 74 to finish seventh.

Singh's second place finish at Pebble Beach helped him leapfrog Harrington, 36, to 10th in the latest world rankings.

The top 64 in the world will tee it up in next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play in Tucson.

But with Ernie Els skipping the event and American Brett Wetterich withdrawing with a shoulder injury, Harrington must face Colombian Villegas in the first round.

The official draw will not be released until next Monday but if there are no further withdrawals, the Irish star could then face the winner of the clash between Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez in the second round.

It's one of two all-European clashes in the first round draw with Nick Dougherty taking on German sensation Martin Kaymer.

Wetterich's withdrawal brings fellow American Anthony Kim into the field for a crack at Tiger Woods.

WGC-Accenture Match Play (provisional draw)

(1) Tiger Woods v (64) Anthony Kim, (32) Arron Oberholser v (33) Tim Clark, (16) Aaron Baddeley v (49) Justin Leonard, (17) Lee Westwood v (48) David Toms, (8) KJ Choi v (57) Rod Pampling, (25) Scott Verplank v (40) Soren Hansen, (9) Vijay Singh v (56) Bradley Dredge, (24) Paul Casey v (41) Richard Green

(4) Adam Scott v (61) Daniel Chopra, (29) Richard Sterne v (36) Woody Austin, (13) Angel Cabrera v (52) John Senden, (20) Martin Kaymer v (45) Nick Dougherty, (5) Jim Furyk v (60) Jonathan Byrd, (28) Retief Goosen v (37) Charles Howell, (12) Henrik Stenson v (53) Jerry Kelly, (21) Stewart Cink v (44) Shingo Katayama

(2) Phil Mickelson v (63) JB Holmes, (31) Mike Weir v (34) Hunter Mahan, (15) Zach Johnson v (50) Anders Hansen, (18) Luke Donald v (47) Mark Calcavecchia, (7) Rory Sabbatini v (58) Colin Montgomerie, (26) Stephen Ames v (39) Robert Karlsson, (10) Padraig Harrington v (55) Camilo Villegas, (23) Ian Poulter v (42) Miguel Angel Jimenez

(3) Steve Stricker v (62) Pat Perez, (30) Stuart Appleby v (35) Andres Romero, (14) Geoff Ogilvy v (51) Robert Allenby, (19) Trevor Immelman v (46) Brandt Snedeker, (6) Justin Rose v (59) Brendan Jones, (27) Toru Taniguchi v (38) Nick O'Hern, (11) Sergio Garcia v (54) Peter Hanson, (22) Niclas Fasth v (43) Boo Weekley.