Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy need to get their putting boots on to avoid being trampled in the Race to Dubai.

The pair struggled badly on the greens in their last outing in Portugal and can’t afford any more slip ups with just four events to go in the quest to become European No 1.

Harrington is a massive €1.16m adrift of leader Lee Westwood while McIlroy is €276,790 behind the Englishman and down from second to third in the list behind Germany’s Martin Kaymer.

That’s why good form on the greens will be vital as they bid to close the gap on opposite sides of the globe this week.

Set to clash with Phil Mickelson in the €3.2m Barclays Singapore Open, a hungry Harrington said: “There was a period in the first six months of the year where I cared more about how I played than my scores.

“Now all the interest is what score I’m shooting at the end of the week.”

Desperate for his first win since last year's US PGA, he’s even more desperate to leave his putting woes behind him after becoming distracted by a lesson from putting guru Paul Hurrion in Portugal.

He said: “I wasn’t able to get comfortable over the putts because I was thinking too much over them.

“I had my putting coach out and he told me something that I was doing wrong which I wasn’t able to get it out of my mind all week.”

Harrington worked hard on his stroke last week and is fancied to go one better than last year's runner up finish and grab the €554,000 top prize at Sentosa Golf Club.

The problem is that even if he wins in Singapore, the top four in the Race to Dubai are all playing for massive money in the clashing €3.25m Volvo World Match Play in Spain.

Westwood, Kaymer, McIlroy and Paul Casey will all be at Finca Cortesin near Marbella for the 16-man matchplay classic where the winner will take home €750,000.

Only €541,666 will count towards the Race to Dubai but each man is guaranteed a minimum €48,912 towards the official money list.

There is a new, Champions League style format this year with field divided into four groups of four and playing each other to a finish over the first two days.

While there are doubts over the fitness of Casey, Kaymer and  India's Jeev Milkha Singh, the winner of each group will qualify for Saturday’s semi-finals.

The draw has been kind to the top four in the Race to Dubai, who have avoided each other for the group stages.

Sixth seed McIlroy must make it to the semi-finals to have any chance of overtaking Westwood at the top of the Race to Dubai.

But he putted terribly in the Portugal Masters and faces a stiff opener against Masters champion and former 2006 winner Angel Cabrera on Thursday before facing Simon Dyson and Swede Henrik Stenson in a marathon day on Friday.

Kaymer must see off Spain's Sergio Garcia, Australian Robert Allenby and England's Oliver Wilson.

Westwood is seeded second and up against Colombian Camilo Villegas, fellow Englishman Ross Fisher andSingh.

Top seed Casey, who has been out of action since August 6 with a torn rib muscle, faces South African Retief Goosen, American Anthony Kim and Australian Scott Strange.

Volvo World Match Play draw (seeded positions in brackets):

Group A - (1) Paul Casey, (8) Retief Goosen, (9) Anthony Kim, (16) Scott Strange

Group B - (4) Sergio Garcia, (5) Martin Kaymer, (12) Robert Allenby, (13) Oliver Wilson

Group C - (3) Henrik Stenson, (6) Rory McIlroy, (11) Angel Cabrera, (14) Simon Dyson

Group D - (2) Lee Westwood, (7) Camilo Villegas, (10) Ross Fisher, (15) Jeev Milkha Singh


Group A: (0815) Paul Casey v Scott Strange; (0825) Retief Goosen v Anthony Kim; (1325) Casey v Kim; (1335) Goosen v Strange.

Group B: (0835) Sergio Garcia v Oliver Wilson; (0845) Martin Kaymer v Robert Allenby; (1345) Garcia v Allenby; (1355) Kaymer v Wilson.

Group C: (1235) Henrik Stenson v Simon Dyson; (1245) Rory McIlroy v Angel Cabrera.

Group D: (1255) Lee Westwood v Jeev Milkha Singh; (1305) Camilo Villegas v Ross Fisher;


Group A: (1235) Casey v Goosen; (1245) Kim v Strange.

Group B: (1255) Garcia v Kaymer; (1305) Allenby v Wilson;

Group C: (0815) Stenson v Cabrera; (0825) McIlroy v Dyson;  (1325) Stenson v McIlroy; (1335) Cabrera v Dyson.

Group D: (0835) Westwood v Fisher; (0845) Villegas v Singh; (1345) Westwood v Villegas; (1355) Fisher v Singh.