Padraig Harrington is relieved that Colin Montgomerie has given his struggling Ryder Cup stars the OK to skip the final qualifying event at Gleneagles.
The Scot said at the start of the qualifying campaign that he wanted all his potential team members to play in the Johnnie Walker Championship in two weeks’ time.
But Montgomerie has now accepted that the potential wildcard candidates such as Harrington, Paul Casey and Justin Rose will be competing in first of the FedEx Cup play-offs instead.
Believing the FedExCup series was key to America’s Ryder Cup success at Valhalla two years ago, Montgomerie said: “The FedEx Cup series has helped them, so if it’s helping the Americans play well there’s no reason why it shouldn’t help us as well.
“I wish them success, so it won’t affect them either way if they don’t happen to be playing at Gleneagles.”
Harrington was reluctant to change his schedule and skip The Barclays in New Jersey to make sure of his Ryder Cup place in Scotland.
But while he still intends to play his way into the side this week, he’s happy that Montgomerie has let him and others off the hook.
Harrington said: “I think that’s a positive statement from the captain. We have to keep to our schedules but I even considered going to the Czech Republic next week.
“I just said to myself, yes I want to make the team but there is no point in me burning myself out.
“You have to stick to your schedule and for all of us who are in that situation, our minds are now clear that if we play the golf we are not going to do ourselves any harm.
“It certainly clears up a lot of things even though I was only focussing on this week and working on the principal that I am intending to play my way into the team.
“I wondered if I could skip across to the Czech Republic and come back but I am aware at the end of the day that there is no point in qualifying for the Ryder Cup and not being able to raise your game. If you play too much, that sometimes happens.”
Harrington, Rose and Casey are all outside the nine qualifying spots while Luke Donald, another player set to play in New Jersey rather than Scotland, could be bumped out of the side this week.
All four could still play their way into the side in the US PGA at Whistling Straits this Sunday but with only three wildcards to hand out, Montgomerie will be hoping that at least one of them makes it.