Padraig Harrington will warm up for the Ryder Cup by playing the Vivendi Cup in Paris rather than the 100th Irish PGA Championship at Seapoint.
The events will be played from September 23-26 and while Ireland’s three-time major winner could have racked up his seventh domestic title just an hour’s drive from his home, he’s opted for stiffer competition, more world ranking points and a hell of a lot more money in France where there is a purse of €1.25m compared to just €30,000 in Co Louth.
Termonfeckin never could compete with Paris.
Down to 20th in the latest world rankings following his sixth missed cut of the season in Boston last weekend - he was world No 5 at the end of last year and a career best No 3 following his US PGA win more than two years ago - he will have an opportunity to improve that position in Paris.
It will also give him a chance to spend some time with Ryder Cup team mates Edoardo Molinari and Peter Hanson as well as vice-captains Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley, who have also entered.
Winning a tournament would also solve some headaches for the Dubliner, who is 18th in the Race to Dubai standings and yet to earn his place in the $7m WGC - HSBC Champions in Shanghai from November 4-7.
Harrington had hoped to compete in this week’s third leg of the FedEx Cup play-offs in Chicago this week. But his elimination from the series means that he cannot now qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta, which takes place the same week as the Vivendi Trophy.
Left with a gap in his schedule, the 39-year old has decided to do what suits him best and at the same time, appease those who believe he has not been loyal to the European Tour.
Harrington has played in just two regular European Tour events outside the four majors and the three World Golf Championships that have been played so far this season - the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the 3 Irish Open in Killarney.
He could have qualified automatically for the Ryder Cup side by competing in the Czech Open or the final qualifying event at Gleneagles. But he refused to change his schedule and required one of Colin Montgomerie’s three wild cards to secure his sixth Ryder Cup appearance from October 1-3.
The Vivendi Cup has a similar pro-am format to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Harrington has decided to team up with his brother Fergal, who is a seven-handicapper.
Harrington said: “I am really looking forward to playing in the Vivendi Cup. Having heard many great things about the Golf de Joyenval, I am delighted to be playing there for the first time.
“I enjoy the Pro Am format very much and I will be playing with my brother which should make for a very enjoyable week.”