Harrington not wild about Ryder selection chances
THE WRITING on the wall? Pádraig Harrington put his hands up yesterday, not quite a concession that his hopes of getting a place on Europe’s Ryder Cup team were gone; rather, more an acceptance that he was increasingly unlikely to get a wild-card pick from captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
“I can’t do anything about it,” said Harrington shortly after shooting a second-round 76 here in the US PGA when quizzed about remarks made on the eve of the championship by Olazabal that appeared to rule the Irishman out of his captain’s picks. “Obviously, he’s got players in mind . . . I’d love to have an exceptional week but I won’t be waiting .”
Olazabal, who intimated that Ian Poulter was to the fore of his thoughts in securing a wild card, and also praised the leadership qualities of Sergio Garcia, currently on the bubble in getting an automatic place, had also pointed to Harrington’s lack of form, particularly his woes on the greens.
This is the last-chance saloon for Harrington, if he is to earn an automatic place for the match against the United States in Chicago next month. He is not adding nest week’s US Tour stop at the Wyndham championship on to this schedule, and he has decided to play in the following week’s Barclays championship – the first of the FedEx Cup series but a non-counting event for Ryder Cup qualification – rather than return to Europe for the Johnnie Walker championship at Gleneagles. Olazabal names his two wild cards the next day, August 27th.
“I’m playing lovely golf. I can’t do anything more than I’ve done during the year. I do rue the fact that I didn’t play in the four World Golf Championship events and I didn’t play in the two Tour Championships at the end of the year . At the end of the day, when you’re not picking up those easy points it’s hard to do things.
“I don’t regret bogeying the last at the US Open but things like that ultimately cost me in the Ryder Cup table. But you know, such is life. Maybe the weekend here will go well and we won’t have to look back at the misses.”
On why he has decided not to add the Wyndham to his itinerary, Harrington responded: “Do you think that’s going to force his hand? I don’t think so.”
Of course, a win here would alter the entire scenario. Yesterday, Harrington shot a second round 76 to reach the midpoint on 146 – two over – and safely inside the cut line. “You know, I shouldn’t be too far away here, and I’m playing well enough and hitting the ball well enough. I just to drop a few putts and chip a few close and we could be there at the end of the week.”
McDowell – brought up on the hard taskmaster that is the links at Royal Portrush, where the North Atlantic wind has a chill factor considerably greater than that which came in off the South Carolina coastline – had to settle for a hard-fought 76, a score that left him on a midway total of 144, level par.
“It’s brutal,” said McDowell, admitting he was grateful simply to escape without inflicting terminal damage on his hopes of adding another Major title to his CV.
“I’m very happy to get off that golf course. It’s one of the toughest set-ups I think I’ve seen at a major championship in a long time. Is it unfair? I mean, this is the PGA Championship. You’ve got to go out there and battle it out, and someone is going to win the tournament this weekend. You’ve got to hang tough out there. I’m actually quite proud of my hang.”