Olazabal: No rift with Harrington

Jose Maria Olazabal sought to end a continuing Ryder Cup row by bluntly declaring suggestions of a rift between himself and triple Major winner Padraig Harrington as bullshit.

The Spaniard had no sooner recorded a second round 69 to miss the cut with a three over par tally in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles when again confronted with questions over Harrington’s possible inclusion in the European side.

A day earlier, Olazabal suggested the Dubliner needed to at least win to even be considered for a wildcard pick despite posting a 64 on the first day of the Barclays Championship.

However, on this second occasion, Olazabal was quizzed if he was on good terms with Harrington, and following an incident at the 2003 Seve Trophy in Valencia when Harrington questioned Olazabal’s actions in repairing pitch marks.

Olazabal was so incensed at the time he conceded the hole to Harrington before the match was eventually halved.

“If people believe that is interfering with my judgement then first of all they are completely wrong,” said Olazabal.

“If that was the case I would failing as a captain. So to put it gently that’s a lot of bs.”

And while Olazabal continued to dispel any breakdown in his relationship with Harrington, he again seemed to rule out Harrington for a wildcard pick.

There was also a slight hint in Olazabal’s response that Harrington did his chances of a seventh straight Ryder Cup cap little favour by not joining Sergio Garcia in contesting last week’s Wyndham Championship.

“If you look at the list, Harrington is well back on the list and not closer than other players, so he certainly needs a win or a top finish to make the team,” said Olazabal.

“He’s not any different to Sergio Garcia] is he? So, I don’t know what this is all about. He’s an experienced player but at the moment he is not able to deliver, period. And it’s simple as that.”

Olazabal arrived in Scotland having spent three days at Medinah and judging by his assessment of the Chicago course, it also seems Belguim’s Nicolas Colsaerts will get a pick.

“I am looking at players games and how they would fit into Medinah as it is a very long course, very small greens, and not much rough,” said Olazabal.

“So it’s a big long-hitter’s golf course. That’s another factor.”

A check of the Tour’s long driving stats shows Colsaerts leading the Tour with an average drive of 317.4 yards and some three yards longer than Spain’s Alvaro Quiros. Harrington is in 58th position averaging 293.4 yards off the tee, a difference of 24 yards.

Olazabal had dinner last night at the Gleneagles Hotel with his three vice-captains, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn. McGinley ended his Gleneagles campaign with scores of 73 and 76 for a five over par total that included losing three balls for buried lies over the two days.

Clarke’s pained times at Gleneagles continued in posting a 73 for a three over par tally. At the opposite end of the leaderboard the England duo of former Irish Open winner, Richard Finch (67) along with Mark Foster (68) head the field on eight under par.

Australia’s Brett Rumford (70) and also a past Irish Open champion, along with Scotland’s Paul Lawrie (69) share third place a shot further back.

Just three Irish – Peter Lawrie (71) at one under par along with Damien McGrane (71) and Simon Thornton (69) each at level par – made the cut.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox