Ross Fisher burst into life alongside Padraig HarringtonColin Montgomerie is just wild about controversial wildcard Padraig Harrington.

The Irish ace took rookie Ross Fisher under his wing and delivered two massive wins to ease the pressure that had been heaped on his shoulders.

But Monty jumped to the Dubliner’s defence and compared him to legends Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer as a Ryder Cup senior statesman.

Justifying Harrington’s controversial pick, Monty said: “Padraig was under pressure, no question.  He lost his first match and he’s been given a hard time by being selected here. 

“But there’s a reason why I selected Pádraig Harrington for this team.  He spoke brilliantly last night in the team room.  He’s been brilliant off the course, and he’s been brilliant on it.”

Harrington lost his opening fourball alongside Luke Donald but roared back to his best with big-hitting Fisher in Saturday’s foursomes as they crushed top Yanks Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson 3 and 2.

The pair remained together as a fourball and while Harrington struggled, he read Fisher’s putts and helped the Wentworth man slam home six birdies in a 2 and 1 win over Johnson and Jim Furyk.

Delighted with his inspired pairing, Monty said: “I just felt Pádraig would play better, and his partner, whoever it might be, would play better if Padraig was the leader of that particular group. 

“I think Ross played fantastically well.  And there is a reason why Ross played fantastically well, because he had someone of Padraig’s stature with him.

“I played well with Faldo.  I played well with Langer.  There was a reason for that - it was because I was with them. 

“And I think that’s why that pairing was put together. Well, I know it was, because I did it (laughter). And it worked out brilliantly.”

Fisher gave putting master Harrington the lion’s share of the credit for their double triumph.

He said: “The help from Paddy today and yesterday was huge.  When you’ve got a three-time major champion reading your putts, you’ve got a fair chance. 

“All I had to do was start it online and every time I seemed to do that, they seemed to drop.  So it was a tremendous help. And to get two points with Paddy was, well, it was great.”