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VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Padraig Harrington may be forced to pull out of a tournament through injury for the first time in his 20-year professional career after sustaining a problem to his left shoulder while working out in the gym.
The triple major champion withdrew from Wednesday's BMW PGA Championship pro-am and is hoping 24 hours of treatment and rest will help him recover in time for the first round at Wentworth on Thursday.
"Working on the principle I've never pulled out of an event injured I believe I'll make it tomorrow," Harrington told a news conference at the European Tour's flagship event.
"I was doing a gym exercise and it was a little bit unstable. I hit shots after the gym yesterday and after I went to bed last night it stiffened during the night and I struggled to sleep with it.
"I got up this morning and it's what most people would call a frozen shoulder so there's a weakness in it and a pain when I go to lift my arm," the Irishman said.
"The chances of me being 100 percent tomorrow are very slim but the chances of me playing are very high. That would be the way I would look at it... so be aware of the injured golfer."
Harrington, who ended a seven-year victory drought in Europe and the United States when he won the Honda Classic in Florida in March, said the shoulder injury would certainly not stop him from competing in next week's Irish Open."It will be absolutely no issue whatsoever for the Irish Open," he explained. "This is an injury that with a couple of physio sessions will be gone in about a week.
"Even for the U.S. Open qualifying event on Monday it won't be a problem. It will go away pretty quickly."
Wentworth has never been a happy hunting ground for the player who won the British Open in 2007 and 2008 and the U.S. PGA Championship in 2008.
In 13 previous appearances at the BMW event, Harrington's best finish was a tie for sixth in 2006 and 2010.
Editing by Pritha Sarkar