Harrington a red-hot cash machine

Padraig Harrington sent Ian Poulter scuttling to the cash machine to pay off his debts after hitting red-hot form at Celtic Manor.

Poulter confessed that he and Irish Open champion Ross Fisher were “cleaned out” by Harrington and Luke Donald to the tune of nearly €450 when the Dubliner hit two eagles and a handful of birdies in a practice fourball clash.

Believing Harrington will justify his wildcard become a real danger man this week, Poulter groaned: “Paddy played exceptionally well this morning, which is great for the team but bad for my pocket.

“He drove it straight and long and put it in position for 18 holes today and that’s great. I’ve got nothing left thanks to Luke and Padraig. They cleaned me out, cleaned Ross and myself out.

“Paddy had two eagles today and he horseshoed out from 40 feet to make it three eagles. They made an awful lot of birdies and eagles out there. Good fun - for them.”

Harrington was the most controversial of Colin Montgomerie’s three wildcards but Poulter reckons the criticism will get the Dubliner fired up this week.

The flamboyant English ace was in Harrington’s shoes two years ago he was handed a controversial wildcard by Nick Faldo.

He was so motivated to prove his critics wrong that he ended up as the team’s top points scorer.

Now he’s convinced that Harrington will do the same, explaining: “Hopefully it has revved him up. It’s certainly done the trick for sure.

“I know what it did to me last time around and if that does the same for Padraig this time around, then he’s going to be a serious dangerman.”

Harrington’s brilliant form has delighted European skipper Colin Montgomerie who is convinced that the triple major winning Dubliner is going to do the business for him when the action starts on Friday.

Asked abut the flak he has taken for handing Harrington a wildcard, Monty said: “I feel the criticism was very unjustified to be honest. 

“I know what Pádraig Harrington can do, and that’s why he was picked.  He’s like a rookie out there today. 

“He’s playing the best golf of my team out there, and I feel the criticism early on before the Ryder Cup is very unjustified.
   
“He’s a world player; he’s won three major championships, and the stature of the guy is second to none within our team.

“I’m very happy that he shot 64 the way he did with seven birdies and an eagle the last round in Paris, moved up from 40th to eighth, in fact, one shot off third. 

“That was great for him, and as he said in the papers this morning, it was important that he felt he had a card and pencil in his hand the week before the Ryder Cup and did well.

“I met him when he came in on Sunday evening.  He flew back to Dublin and then flew back again with his wife, and I met him Sunday and he walked into the Celtic Manor as if he was a rookie, fantastic, and he was really up about the whole thing, and has been since.

“There’s reasons why Pádraig Harrington was picked, and judge me  judge me about that selection on October the 4th and not on September the 28th.”