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Padraig Harrington needs a Ryder Cup boost from Colin Montgomerie

By Karl MacGinty

What's the difference between Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter? Easy, Harrington has three Majors, Poulter has none.

Oh yeah, the Englishman has won a couple of times in the past two seasons and his victory in February's Accenture Match Play World Championship in Tucson helped copper-fasten his place at the upcoming Ryder Cup in Celtic Manor.

Harrington is currently just €1,247.23 outside the nine automatic spots on the team and, with two weeks still to go, will make no further effort to qualify.

Hold on, that puts Harrington in the same leaky boat as Poulter two years ago, when the latter skipped the final qualifying event at Gleneagles and relied on Nick Faldo to give him a captain's pick for Valhalla.

I have pilloried Poulter for failing to make every effort to play his way into the team and captain Faldo for favouring him with a wild card ahead of Darren Clarke.

The circumstances this time are slightly different, especially given Harrington's world-class status as a Major champion.

With the Irishman, Justin Rose and Paul Casey all deciding to give Gleneagles a miss, skipper Colin Montgomerie has had to face harsh reality and scuttle back from his insistence earlier this year that wild card contenders would be best advised to play in next week's Johnnie Walker Championship.

Rose and Harrington missed the cut at last weekend's US PGA, while Casey squeezed into the all-important top nine in a tie for 12th at Whistling Straits.

He could just as easily be bumped out again, however, as events unfold in the meantime.

Harrington certainly has made the reasons why he'll make no further effort to win his place at Celtic Manor sound far more convincing than the half-hearted excuses offered by Poulter in 2008.

Though he hasn't won on Tour since his US PGA victory at Oakland Hills in 2008, Harrington expressed the hope that Montgomerie will look beyond his missed cuts at three of the four Majors this year.

Belfast Telegraph


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