Skipper Nick Faldo has sent a light-hearted Ryder Cup warning to Padraig Harrington - Get your finger out.

Open champion Harrington needs a few big results over the next six weeks if he is to qualify for his fifth Ryder Cup on merit.

And Faldo hinted at Royal Birkdale that he does not want to have to use up one of his captain's picks on the Dubliner with the likes of the injured Luke Donald, England's Nick Dougherty and veteran Colin Montgomerie also struggling.

Faldo said: "I just want to say that the Ryder Cup is very important to me. And I want to send a message to Brian Whitcomb, the president of the PGA of America that our team is so strong right now that the Open champion is not in it."

Winking at Harrington, who was sitting just a few feet away during the Association of Golf Writers' Annual Dinner, Faldo added: "That is a very subtle message: Get your finger out."

World No 14 Harrington joined Irish legends Christy O'Connor Snr, Joe Carr and Harry Bradshaw on the list of winners when he was presented with the Golf Writers' Trophy for his stellar 2007 season.

But less than a year after he added the Open title to his Irish Open success, Harrington is now in danger of missing the Ryder Cup.

Ranked ninth on the European World Points List and 17th on the European Points List, he needs a few big results to work his way into the team.

As things stand, he has the Open, the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship to earn the points he needs.

And Faldo is keen to add some experience to his side with five rookies occupying the ten automatic places on the side with six weeks to go before the team is finalised.

Faldo added: "We have some very interesting young rookies and if the team was selected now I could have half a dozen on the team - half the team.

"My first Ryder Cup was 1977 when Peter Oosterhuis took me under his wing. Then I took Lee Westwood under my wing in 1997 at Valderrama as our new, young rookie.

"Now Lee is one of the senior players and we have some very interesting young rookies coming into the team that will need a guiding hand.

"The Ryder Cup is going to be something special with so many pressures on the guys and I wish them well."

Faldo had warm words for Graeme McDowell, who secured his place with victory in the Scottish Open last weekend.

He said: "It was great that Graeme McDowell won last week, basically giving himself a lock on the team. He is in great form for us."