Pádraig confident he will be back
A PIT stop along the way, not the end of the road! Pádraig Harrington has adopted the approach that his failure to make next month’s Ryder Cup in Chicago is a temporary aberration – having been overlooked yesterday by Europe’s captain José María Olazábal for a “wildcard” pick – rather than constituting a permanent end to him playing in the biennial team match against the United States.
Harrington – en route by road from New York to Boston for this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, the next leg of the FedEx Cup series – spoke by phone of his “disappointment” at not making Europe’s team for the defence of the trophy but admitted: “I don’t have any regrets. At the end of the day, you’ve got to make the team yourself. You can’t be relying on a pick . . . I will play plenty more (Ryder Cups), that won’t be an issue.”
Olazábal had phoned the Irishman – an ever-present on Ryder Cup teams since 1999, winning four along the way – on Sunday night to inform him of his omission. It didn’t come as any great surprise. “It was a polite phone call. I knew the result . . . I wished the team the best of luck, told him I’d support them all the way. My own opinion on it is, if you don’t make it into the team by right, you can’t second guess on being picked. I do think the other two guys will do very well. I’ve no problem with who he picked, that’s for sure,” added Harrington of the decision to go with Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts.
In theory, Olazábal’s team to defend the Ryder Cup at Medinah, outside Chicago, next month will be the strongest and most experienced ever. The European captain’s anticipated “wildcard” picks of Poulter and Colsaerts – the next two in line – and the comfort of overlooking Harrington, a thee-time Major champion and the most decorated of this generation of European players, means that all 12 of his team are ranked inside the top-35 on the official world rankings.
It’s a first for Europe to have so many players so highly ranked and to consist, in order, of the 12 players as they feature on the world rankings. It will be interesting to see if reality matches the theory, for there are also concerns about the form of a number of players, especially that of Martin Kaymer. The German has missed the cut in three of his last six tournaments and hasn’t managed a top-10 on tour since the Malaysian Open in April.
Olazábal’s affirmation yesterday of the duo was entirely expected: Poulter, for one, is a proven matchplay exponent who thrives in the cauldron that is the Ryder Cup; whilst Colsaerts, not only a “rookie” but set to become the first Belgian to feature in the match, has managed to combine phenomenally long drives with an ability to get the ball in the hole. He has moved from 1,305th in the world three years ago to a current ranking of 35th. He will be the only “rookie” on the team, of which there are eight survivors from the 2010 winners.
Harrington’s non-selection as a “wildcard” – and judging by Olazábal’s comments it would seem he was some way down the line – ends a continuous streak of participation by the Dubliner in the Ryder Cup that goes back to his debut in 1999.