From Brian Keogh at Carnoustie

Padraig Harrington has shot down Nick Faldo's claims that Mr Nice Guy can't win a major.

Six-time major winner Faldo believes that Europe's millionaire playboys lack the killer instinct to win the big titles.

But Harrington jumped to their defence at Carnoustie where he is rated fourth favourite with the bookies to land the Open after Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.

With no intention of becoming Mr Nasty at Car-nasty, he said: "We have all different ways of going about our things. I don't believe that any of the players, just because they're nice guys, can't win a Major.

"With the young Europeans, their only focus is on winning. The financial rewards of playing golf are so high that it's all about competing and playing your golf now. I'm sure there's many nice guys that have won Majors."

Famously aloof Faldo can't understand how Europe's top players can sit down for dinner together and maintain the kind of competitive edge that made his clashes with Seve, Nick Price and Greg Norman so absorbing.

Faldo said: "The modern guys all have lunch together and then go off to play for a million dollars. I can’t imagine sitting down with Seve and Norman or Pricey and having lunch before we go out. It seems very different now."

Faldo also pointed out that Tiger Woods never gives any of his swing secrets away to his rivals.

And while Harrington wouldn't help an 'enemy' he has no problems sharing his knowledge with his friends and then beating their brains out on the course.

He said: "One of my first ever lessons by my old Irish teaching pro, Watty Sullivan, was never to tell anybody anything, they'll go out and beat you tomorrow with the same information. But I don't live by that.

"If I've got a friend and he's struggling, I'll tell him. If I have a guy that's not a friend, I won't tell him. But I would be all for telling a friend, yes, and I would have a number of friends that I would help along.

"I think Faldo probably had a number of friends, but Seve wouldn't have been obviously one of them. I'm sure this image of the Ryder Cup, of the European team being all the best of buddies, we are the best of buddies for the week of the Ryder Cup, but we're competitors the rest of the time.

"I think that's a false image. We have no trouble sitting down and playing table tennis, trying to beat each other, or whatever is going on, but I think we're still competitive."

Harrington believes the new world order in golf has left golf with more top players and fewer huge rivalries between the superstars.

But he believes that a few European major victories will spark some fierce competition by players to hang on to their places in the pecking order.

He explained: "Maybe the problem in Europe is nobody has really set themselves enough out there. It's easy to see the rivalries that were back in the '80s, whether it was Seve and Faldo or then you had Langer and Sandy Lyle and Woosie. And Ollie followed up.

"Each of those five players, were trying to prove themselves. At the moment maybe the Europeans haven't gotten up to the level of winning majors. But if one wins one, the others will be trying to hold their place in the pecking order."

A European hasn't won a major since Paul Lawrie lifted the Open at Carnoustie eight years ago.

And while Harrington is feeling good about his chances, being a 22-1 fourth favourite behind the big guns won't make the course any easier.

He said: "I think the bookies are being a bit clever on that. It's nice to be considered in that position but doesn't help me win the golf tournament.

"It doesn't give me an extra shot start on the first tee. I'll go out there and play my golf and not worry necessarily if you turned around and told me I was 100 to 1 this week, I wouldn't be trying any less than if I'm 22 to one.

"Fourth favorite, hopefully they're right. I'd like to have that chance of that high up. That would be nice. But having not won a Major before, it's always going to be difficult. I'm capable of doing it. But doing it is another question.”