Harrington’s Ryder wild card in doubt

THE bush telegraph was humming in the Scottish Highlands last night with speculation increasing that Pádraig Harrington could miss out on a Ryder Cup “wild card” pick.

Irishman Peter Lawrie has known Harrington since both were outstanding amateurs back in the early to mid-90s; and he claimed last night that the word among the players was far from favourable where Harrington’s team prospects are concerned.

“If it was me, I would pick Pádraig but there are an awful lot of rumours going around that he is not going to be picked,” said Lawrie.

“If so, then the general public in Ireland would be shocked but the guys who are out here competing, and hearing what I am hearing, won’t be shocked.”

Lawrie looked up at the leaderboard and mused: “He could pick Richard Finch, Robert Rock, Richard and David Lynn. The Tour in general puts its faith in Monty as captain and then in the bigger picture the European Tour wants to win back the Ryder Cup.

“It is a big financial benefit to the Tour to have the Ryder Cup sitting in the trophy cabinet at Wentworth.”

As for Harrington’s failure to return to Europe to contest either the Czech Open or the Johnnie Walker, Lawrie commented: “I’m not going to criticise anybody but then maybe they already know they are going to get a pick. Who knows? I’m not the captain.”

Ryder Cup vice captain Paul McGinley leads the Irish challenge in the Johnnie Walker thanks to an impressively compiled four under par 68. He sank a 12 foot birdie putt on the 18th to finish on a high and quietly hoping that he will have more than his Ryder Cup duties to seriously occupy his mind through the weekend.

“I found a bit of form at the Irish Open and today I drove the ball well and putted well,” he reported.

“I used a new Taylor Made Burner driver and I wasn’t too far behind my partners Soren Hansen and Steve Webster, both long hitters.

“I knocked it 282 yards up the hill at the 18th and that’s a long way for me.

“My two bogeys were the result of three putts so it was quite encouraging.”

When informed that Ross McGowan’s withdrawal from the tournament had clinched Francesco Molinari’s place in the team, McGinley reacted: “He’ll be a big addition to the team. He has a great personality and is very consistent. He’ll be an easy guy to partner.”

McGinley added that the three vice captains, himself, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn, will join skipper Colin Montgomerie for dinner in his home nearby tomorrow evening.

It mightn’t be too difficult to figure out the main source of conversation.

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