PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON last night declared he will be “gutted” if he fails to gain a place on this year’s European Ryder Cup team.
Speaking in Killarney ahead of the 3 Irish Open, the three-time Major winner admitted: “I would be gutted if I didn’t play. I would be devastated.”
Harrington’s decision not to play in events like the French and Scottish Opens — both rich in Ryder Cup points — was criticised in some quarters but the Dublin native is convinced he made the right decision.
“You’ve got to approach all these things in a very disciplined, orderly, professional fashion. Tiring myself out by playing more tournaments than I should is not going to help when it comes around to September and October.”
To claim one of the nine automatic spots, Harrington must impress in this week’s 3 Irish Open followed by the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio and the US PGA Championship in Wisconsin. He is desperate to have qualification secured before the last counting event, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles (August 26-29) as he is set to play at the Barclays Championship in the lucrative Fed-Ex Cup series on the US circuit that week.
“It’s been a tough team to qualify for,” he accepts. “Other years, guys have got a pick with two top 10s. That’s not happening this year. It shows that Europe is very strong at the moment and we’re all jockeying to make sure our shout is heard loudest when it comes to the Ryder Cup team if we do need a pick. Maybe the key is not to be in that group.”
Recently-appointed Europe vice-captain Darren Clarke was blunt when asked if he could envisage Harrington not making the team: “Personally, no, but I’m not the captain.”
Harrington doesn’t accept his form has dipped in recent months. He reasoned: “It is a startling situation because I nearly won two weeks ago. It’s amazing how just because I haven’t won, there’s so much focus on it (his form).
“I finished two shots back at the Travellers (a US Tour event) two tournaments ago. Going into the Open Championship, I was third in the stroke average in the States. Those are the things that a player has to look at, knowing the wins will come along. I’m playing below my expectations.”
But Harrington had another way at looking at his recent run.
“Would you rather one win in the last year or 14 top 10 and no wins? The public would prefer to see you win but which is the better player? If I go out there this week and shoot 25 under par and lose by a shot, am I going to be disappointed by my performance? Most of those top 10s I’ve had, I was in contention, I had a chance of winning.”
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