US Open champion Graeme McDowell “finished in an ambulance” at St Andrews but he believes that Padraig Harrington needs to give his game the kiss of life to make the Ryder Cup team.
McDowell was four under for the day with three to play but three-putted the 16th for a bogey, four-putted the 17th for a double bogey and then closed with a birdie for a 70 to finish tied for 23rd on three under par.
He groaned: “I played beautiful today but I finished in an ambulance. I didn’t quite get the job finished.
“It was a frustrating week. I didn’t have it on the greens at all. I just putted diabolically to be honest with you.”
On cloud nine following his win at Pebble Beach, McDowell confessed that he was probably on “cloud five” as fatigue set in at St Andrews.
But it was an even tougher week for Harrington, who missed the cut by four shots.
Ireland’s three-time major winner spent the weekend trying to resuscitate his game on the range with two doctors - swing doctor Bob Torrance and mental coach Dr Bob Rotella.
He may need to win the Irish Open, the Bridgestone Invitational or the US PGA to avoid needing a Ryder Cup pick.
And McDowell reckons the Dubliner might struggle to get one if his form doesn’t improve.
He said: “Is he a shoe in for a wildcard? I think it just depends how he’s playing at the time. On current form, maybe not.
“If he starts playing a bit better he’s the kind of guy we need on the team. He’s the kind of guy you’re going to be scared of if you tee it up against him and he’s going to grind you down in match play.
“He’s a great match player and if he’s playing well enough, he’s definitely a great pick. But there are a lot of players needing a pick like Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson.
“I’m sure Monty was wishing maybe he had an extra pick at the minute. But a lot can happen over the next six weeks.”
Darren Clarke needs a miracle to make the Ryder Cup team and might now need an invitation for next month’s US PGA.
He needed a top 30 finish to move into the top 100 in the world and ensure his place at Whistling Straits.
But the world No 104 blew his chance with a third round 77 and closed with a 71 to finish 44th on level par.
Set to partner Rory McIlroy in tomorrrow’s Lough Erne Challenge against Harrington and Shane Lowry, Clarke groaned: “I’m a little bit annoyed. I wanted to be in the top 30 and sneak up a few places.
“I played very nicely today, I just had a St Andrews day where I’ve got the wrong corner of bounces and the wrong corner this that and other.”
Looking on the bright side, Clarke knows that he has had one his best fortnights for nearly two years, winning the JP McManus Invitational and then taking second place in the Scottish Open to earn a last gasp place at St Andrews.
He confessed: “Yeah, it’s been okay. I missed the cut in France and on Friday afternoon in Paris when I was sitting with a few too many drinks in front of me, this would have seemed alright.”
Glasson’s Colm Moriarty drained a 20-footer at the 18th for a super 70 to finish tied 37th on one-under par on his major championship debut.
He’ll be back on the Challenge Tour later this week but hopes he can use his St Andrews momentum to break through and earn his tour card.
He said: “The fact I played okay here and felt quite comfortable is probably more important to me than where I finished.
“It makes me feel I’m not out of place when I get out here. I’m not afraid of being out here.
“It’s not as if I played really badly and ended up questioning myself. Coming here and doing okay is a big boost to the confidence.”