Padraig Harrington looks set to strike the first blow for Europe at Valhalla and consign his dismal 2006 Ryder Cup performance to the dustbin of history.

The Dubliner has been hand-picked by skipper Nick Faldo to stand up as Europe's Major man when he partners giant Swede Robert Karlsson in the opening foursomes against Californian stars Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim today.

And he will prove that he has been transformed as a player since he lifted the Open last year by drawing on the inspirational memories of his back-to-back Major wins.

Bursting with enthusiasm to get going, Harrington said: "It's a big match. I'm looking forward to it and it will certainly be exciting. The first tee shot hasn't been decided yet. We have got to do a little bit of thinking on that.

"But Robert has been playing great all year and he is certainly somebody I looked to play with this year and he looked to play with me.

"Obviously it's a very strong combination of Phil and Anthony Kim, so we will have to bring our A games tomorrow. They have gone for their best team, their two best players. So we will have to go out there and beat them.

"The opening session is always important and even have to go out and give 100 percent. While you can't make too much of a deal out of the first session, momentum is always nice to have on your side."

Karlsson was delighted to get his wish to partner Harrington, adding: "It's great to be playing with a double Major winner from this year. He is a great player and a great putter and I think we play pretty similar games. I think it will work out well. We took the money off Sergio and Lee in foursomes today."

By opting for Europe's three time Major winner in the opening game instead of top pair Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia, Faldo has obviously got massive faith in the Dubliner's ability.

Asked why he had decided to put Garcia and Westwood in the last match and send Harrington out first,  Faldo said: "Well, it's pretty tough to beat a three-time Major champion out of a seat. I do have a lot of respect for these guys. That's what we all wanted."

US skipper Paul Azinger revealed that he had his foursomes pairings worked out the minute he named his wildcards, adding: "I was pretty happy during the week that everybody was playing well and I didn't have to make any adjustment."

Harrington is glowing with a aura of invincibility and while he's a marked man this week his old sparring partner Paul McGinley reckons he won't be fazed by America's bid to gun him down.

McGinley said: "Padraig knows he is a marked man, but it will not worry him. In fact, it's hard to think of anything that does worry him.

"The reason he's moved to another level as a golfer is his incredible temperament. Padraig sucks up pressure and remains unbelievably calm.

"It will be the same in the Ryder Cup. Whatever the Americans throw at Padraig will just bounce off without making any sort of dent in the armour."

Harrington's foursomes record is checkered with just two wins from seven starts. Yet while he won just half a point from his five starts at The K Club, he has the fighting spirit to turn his form around this time.

Dismissing Harrington's recent struggles in the FedEx Cup play-offs, McGinley added: "It makes sense for the Americans to target Padraig because he is the hottest player on the planet, and has been for the past 14 months.

"But he's acquired an aura - not a swagger - and he radiates an impression of total confidence in what he's trying to achieve. It  can be quite intimidating.

"I know he says he is suffering a bit of a reaction from his two  Major wins this summer, and of course it must have been mentally draining.

"But I've every confidence in him getting it back. His mind is so strong, and it just seems to me that he needs the adrenaline of the big occasion to really fire him up.

"He will also feel that he is due a decent Ryder Cup, especially after he had to settle for just a half a point at the K Club two years ago.

"He will tell you he won't mind losing five times this week as long as Europe win, and deep down he will mean it.

"But I don't think there is any chance of Padraig not contributing to another European victory. He is literally different class these days."

Graeme McDowell was one of four Europeans left on the sidelines with Oliver Wilson, Soren Hansen and Miguel Angel Jimenenz.

Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey will face Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan in the second match with Justin Rose and Ian Poulter taking on Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell.

Then Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood will bring up the rear against Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk.

Pleased with his choices, Faldo said: "You can see the strengths. Henrik and Paul Casey, two guys who bomb it a mile. Rose and Poulter - I was very impressed with those two guys. I spoke to them yesterday and their eyes came alive.

"Bringing up the rear, a former partnership and again consistency of Lee and the passion of Sergio. It think you agree, that's a pretty strong four pairings. A pretty strong four guys."

13.05 Phi Mickelson & Anthony Kim v Padraig Harrington & Robert Karlsson
13.20 Justin Leonard & Hunter Mahan v Henrik Stenson & Paul Casey
13.35 Stewart Cink & Chad Campbell v Justin Rose & Ian Poulter
13.50 Kenny Perry & Jim Furyk v Lee Westwood & Sergio Garcia.