Harrington’s Ryder hopes hang by thread

Pádraig Harrington will tune into the Golf Channel in the US today praying that Jose Maria Olazabal shocks everyone by naming him as one of his two Ryder Cup wildcards.

But while a closing birdie gave him a final round 68 and a top 20 finish in The Barclays, eight shots behind winner Nick Watney, the 40 year-old Dubliner knows in his heart of hearts that he was a dead man walking in New York last night, having signed his Ryder Cup death warrant by following that brilliant opening 64 with a brace of 75s.

“It will be easier to talk about it after tomorrow,” Harrington said ominously. “I don’t want to give an opinion on not making it or anything like that until it officially happens. I’ve played six, I’ve won four out of six, I’d dearly love to be there.”

Harrrington knew he was on the outside looking in when Olazabal demanded something “extraordinary” from him at the US PGA.

When he opened with a 64 in New York, he appeared to have opened the door of hope but Olazabal slammed it shut by saying he needed “at least a win.”

His chances of a wildcard were on life support following those 75s and with Nicolas Colsaerts failed to oust Martin Kaymer from the 10 automatic places by finishing outside the top two in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles yesterday, he merely awaits the coup de grace at high noon today.

In truth, Harrington cannot blame one tournament if he fails to get his second captain’s pick in-a-row. But if there was a glimmer of hope, he knows it was snuffed out by those middle rounds at Bethpage Black.

“I think it might have hurt my cause,” Harrington admitted. “When you’re out of sight from home, and I ended up playing probably the same golf all four days and it looks like I’ve played poorly day two and three.

“Two 75s on the card doesn’t look very good when you’re trying to show form but I’mplaying well, what more can I do? I’m happy with that anyway. I’d rather be playing badly and picked but I’m happy that I’m playing well.”

Whatever way he argues his case, the three-time Major winner knows that he has notdelivered what Olazabal has been demanding all season — a win that would take him out of the wildcard equation.

Harrington also doubts that their Seve Trophy spat will have any bearing on the final decision.

But trying toargue that he played as well on Friday and Saturday as he did on Thursday, is not borne out by the facts.

Having used the blade just 26 times in that sensational 64, he needed 33 putts on Friday and 32 on Saturday before taking just 27 yesterday.

His lack of confidence and consistency with the putter has been his undoing for the best part of two years and Olazabal will have considered that fact as well as his poor recent record when he rounds out his 12-man team.

Harrington’s best hope was that Colsaerts would get in, leaving Olazabal to choose two between him, Ian Poulter and the out of form Kaymer for the two picks.

That has not happened and with Poulter considered a certainty for selection, Olazabal must now choose between Colsaerts, Harrington and a host of others including Spaniard Rafael Cabrera.

As vice-captain Darren Clarke pointed out yesterday: “The final decision will be his and his alone. That’s how it has to be.”


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