Padraig Harrington has at least three good reasons to justify his decision to play in the Celtic Manor Wales Open from June 3-6.
Having missed the cut at Augusta, where he experimented in the build up by playing just one warm-up event before the Masters, the Dubliner will return to his major-winning, two-before-a-major formula by heading from Newport to Memphis for before he sets foot on Pebble Beach for the US Open.
Killing three birds with one stone, Harrington will also be showing loyalty to the European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, who wants as many potential team members as possible to familiarise themselves with the course that will host the biennial team event from October 1-3.
“I quite like the course at Celtic Manor, it’s an interesting course and it’s a golf course I think I can do well on,” Harrington said, despite missing the cut on his previous appearance in Wales two years ago “I didn’t have a good run the last time I played it but I wouldn’t mind having another crack at that one.”
Harrington didn’t earn a cent in prize money is reputed to have been paid a £400,000 fee to turn up in 2008. Is it possible that he feels morally obliged to give Terry Matthews a little more bang for his buck? Perhaps not.
The principal reason for Harrington’s decision to make the short hop across the Irish Sea is that he may still be waiting for his first major tournament victory since the 2008 US PGA should he fail to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in two weeks’ time.
Harrington joins former Ryder Cup team-mate Luke Donald in changing his schedule to take in the tournament and Montgomerie believes it will give potential team members an advantage when it comes to facing the Americans in October.
“I want to make every effort to keep Colin happy,” added Harrington. “Obviously I’m trying to make sure I qualify for the team.
“I want to be part of that team and being part of that team means throughout the year you’ve got to make your effort and gel with your team-mates.”
Harrington will be joined in Wales by 2008 Ryder Cup team mates Graeme McDowell and Oliver Wilson.