Despite his erratic form over the past two years and his less than stellar recent record, it was no great surprise to see Pádraig Harrington named as one of Colin Montgomerie’s three Ryder Cup wildcards.
The Scot is impressed by many things but major winners come top of the list for a man who never managed to get over the line in a grand slam event in an otherwise stellar career.
“No American wants to play Padraig Harrington. I can assure you,” Montgomerie said at Gleneagles on Sunday.
Edoardo Molinari’s brilliant victory in the final qualifying event, the Johnnie Walker Championship, made him an automatic choice for the captain, who also named foursomes specialist Luke Donald as one of his picks to the detriment of Paul Casey and Justin Rose.
Experience is key in the Ryder Cup. So is putting. And Harrington fits the bill on both counts as far as Montgomerie is concerned.
The skipper warned us in May that he might need to add experience to the nine automatic qualifiers:
It will be very interesting to see who actually comes through and makes the team on merit and that allows me, as Corey said, for the makeup of my team to see who can fit in with that; whether I have a very experienced team and I can go with some rookies, or I have a very inexperienced team and have to some experience. All depends how the qualifying system works.
The ball is now in Harrington’s court following his jaded performances at The K Club and Valhalla, where he managed just two halved matches from nine starts.
Like Ian Poulter, who was a controversial wildcard in 2008, he will be under pressure to produce the goods.
His back is against the wall, but as Montgomerie said on Friday last: “Pádraig, when his back’s to the wall, has done awfully well in the past.”
Over to you Pádraig.